Many years have passed since the dramatic events of Pride and Prejudice. In The Cousins of Pemberley series we follow a new generation of heroines – cousins with lives as different and interesting as those enjoyed by their mothers.
Catherine Collins, a very ordinary young woman – plain, quiet, often over-looked but possessing a reputation for having great common-sense. Or so her distant cousin Elizabeth Darcy believes and so recommends her as governess for little Matilda Courtney. Catherine travels to Northumberland, full of good intentions to do her best and be a credit to the family. But appearances and reputations can be deceptive – Robert and Martin Courtney will soon learn exactly what type of girl Elizabeth has sent them.of Pemberley series.
When and where do you prefer to write?
I write at any time during the day in what I grandly call my office, which is really the small bedroom! I usually try and stop around 6pm. Then when I start to put computer to sleep around midnight, I might write for another half an hour before bed! I write directly onto screen but have notepads in most rooms for scribbling down ideas and plot lines.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Not particularly. Having spent a lifetime working in busy offices, I can shut out background noise quite easily. Usually have music playing.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I don’t think I would co-write very well. But if I was attempting anything modern with a character under 25, I would ask my great-niece, Bronte Spurge, to help because her dialogue for that age is far better than mine.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Oh, good, I think.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Oh, the list is endless. Well obviously Jane Austen. I adore her letters to her sister; she sounds as if she had a wicked sense of humour. Elly Griffiths, to ask if she regrets making Ruth and Nelson as old as they were when she started the series! Dorothy Sayers to say thank you for Nine Tailors and for teaching me to have a dictionary by my side when I read! And probably Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome for firing my imagination in the first place!
Where can I find you when you are reading?
Easier to say where you can’t! I don’t read in the bathroom or on the stairs. Otherwise, there are books being read all over the house and, when weather permits, in the garden. Also book in car in case I have to stay parked for some time for some reason.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Garden during day. Rehearsing for drama group twice a week in evenings.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
I wrote my first book Ballet for Laura, published by Collins, when I was very young. I remember feeling physically sick when the copies arrived because it was the first time I had seen the cover and it was so right for the book I could hardly believe it.
Jump forward many years to the first copies of The Cousins of Pemberley – Cassandra, arriving. Pride, pleasure and an overwhelming desire to go back and rewrite it!
How do you come up with a title for your book?
That really wasn’t difficult. The series is about the next generation – the daughters of everyone connected with Pemberley. Cassandra was the first – a curtsey to Jane Austen’s sister, Catherine, the heroine of this one is a distant cousin to Elizabeth Darcy and Miriam, out in August, is a niece. The fourth title will be Jane, one of Elizabeth’s daughters.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
I am shown what the publishers think is right and we come to a very satisfactory conclusion! Spellbound could not be more helpful in their desire to get it right from both our points of view.
Thank you, Linda O’Byrne and Zooloo’s Book Tours
About the author
Fiction has always been my go-to world, a place of entertainment, excitement and imagination – I am told that I wrote my first story when I was four about a lady who had twenty children! Sadly it has been lost for posterity.
I have been writing all my life in the time I could spare from having a “proper job”, mostly for children under the name of Linda Blake, stories of ballet dancers, pony riding and talking animals! Not all in the same book!
But my love of romance, a great tendency to say “What if..?” and the endearing characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have now resulted in a series of books that will take the reader forward to the next generation of heroines.
I am retired, live in Kent and am a keen member of my local drama group. Directing and acting take up a lot of my time – I have been given the onerous task of writing the Christmas pantomimes – but I still need to cope with a large garden, doing daily battle with the heron who thinks my pond is his own breakfast buffet and keeping in touch with friends and family scattered all over the world.