About the Book:
When she wakes up a captive in Lord Blackhorne’s house Lady Isabella Kent quickly realises that she has been brought there by mistake. The arrogant stranger who organised her abduction meant to kidnap her cousin Philippa. However, as this unforeseen event provides her with the opportunity for escape she desperately needed, she decides to go along with the pretence.
Anthony has no idea that the woman in his possession is not the one he means to marry. To his surprise, he finds himself drawn to this spirited young lady. Far from being the meek damsel he imagined her to be, she sets his senses on fire. Maybe this alliance, initially intended as a revenge on his old enemy will prove to be a lot more rewarding than he had counted on…
All he needs now is to convince his reluctant bride-to-be that this marriage can offer her some satisfaction.
As the attraction for the man who should be her enemy grows stronger, Isabella realises only one thing will stop her from falling into his arms. Revealing her true identity.
But then there will be hell to pay…
1. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I think writing has always been at the back of my mind somewhere. I enjoyed creative writing at school, and I love reading. I think it is hard to read books without ever feeling the urge to try to write one yourself.
One day the notion popped into my head. “Why couldn’t I write something? Other people do… Why not me?” Having my children and spending time at home provided me with the perfect environment to start writing. I tried poetry, contemporary romance but the results were not conclusive. And then one day (whilst swimming in my pool) I realised where I was going wrong. I was not writing about what I loved! As soon as I started to write a story set in the midst of the Hundred Years War I knew I had found my path.
It’s like falling in love I think. When you meet the right person it clicks, even if you don’t know exactly what it is about them that draws you to them.
2. Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Not really. A quiet garden with a stunning view over nature is my preferred option but I can write anywhere, anytime. At night in my bed, while I am queuing at the market, on public transport… I always have a notebook and pen in my bag with me so I can jot down ideas or even whole scenes. Then I type it into my computer, padding it out as I go. Sometimes I find it hard to get going and cannot write more than a few lines at a time, sometimes the words come pouring out for hours on end, it really depends.
But once I start, I get into my bubble and I am no longer on a plane or in the kitchen but in a castle in the fifteenth century or galloping through the forest with brigands in hot pursuit. That is why I like writing so much, I think.
3. Where do your ideas come from?
All sorts of places. Listening to an historical documentary, looking out over a beautiful landscape, listening to a piece of music, seeing an animal. Anything can trigger an idea. Then generally I take a long walk to let it develop in my head. I suppose it’s a bit like picking a flower bud and then waiting for the petals to unfurl. Sometimes it takes longer than you would like but you have to be patient. It will open eventually.
A visit to a castle will invariably spark my imagination and I often leave the site with a story in mind. Then when I get to write it down I imagine myself wandering through the site as the people inhabiting it come to life.
4. Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
Every single one of my stories starts with the idea of an opening scene, a premise, a vague direction. I know it will be about a couple separated by an evil brother for example, and then as I go on, ideas sprout in every direction from that single source.
As my characters become real people in my mind, they start guiding me. Every one asks me how I don’t mix everything up and how I remember who does what in which story but it’s like with friends. You never forget who is married to whom or where you met them. It is the same with the characters I create. They are real people in my mind so writing about them is easy. I know how they would respond to provocation, what would make them laugh or cry, how they would react in a given situation. The book doesn’t really progress until that crucial moment when my characters suddenly (it somehow seems to happen overnight) become real people.
5. What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write historical romance. It is one of my favourite genres to read so it makes sense for me to write stories I would enjoy reading. I favour the Middle Ages, as I have always been fascinated by this period. I still vividly remember during history lessons in primary school when the image of the lady of the castle standing on the battlements with her henin and veil fluttering in the breeze captured my imagination. It seemed like something straight out of a fairy tale and yet it had been real once! How magical!
6. What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
That’s a good question! Some of my heroes and heroines have a very specific appearance in my mind, but with others it’s more of a general impression, as if I could only see them through a gauze veil.
For Anthony, the hero of Red Rose White Rose, I see someone with a dark complexion and masculine power tempered by a soft smile and kind eyes. Clive Standen, who I discovered in the role of Rollo in Vikings would be a good match.
For Isabella, it is less clear. I would need an actress with determination etched all over her face. Perhaps someone like Jessica Biel.
7. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I do read a lot, though I don’t think that’s surprising for an author. What chef doesn’t like to go to a good restaurant, what football player doesn’t watch professional matches on TV?
As a child growing up in France, naturally, I mainly read French writers. Marcel Pagnol is a firm favourite. His words are so evocative of the sunny landscape of his childhood that you are instantly transported to where he is taking you. I must have read La Gloire De Mon Père and Le Château De Ma Mère twenty times each. I also loved Henri Troyat and his family sagas set in Russia. He has a knack for describing an atmosphere in just a few chosen words.
In English Georgette Heyer is probably my go-to author. The dialogues alone are worth a read! I love Simon the Coldheart, the Talisman Ring and Devil’s Cub in particular. Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O’Brien, Kate Furnivall, Marina Fiorato and Karen Maitland consistently write books I enjoy reading.
But I love to go to bookshops to browse and discover new authors. In this way I have discovered a whole range of different styles that I enjoy; Jasper Fforde’s craziness appeals to me, as does Mark Gatiss’ humour… A Michael Crichton or Ben Elton book also never fails to draw me in.
The list is endless really.
8. What book/s are you reading at present?
I usually read two or three books at any given time. At the moment I am in the middle of reading Mythos by Stephen Fry, an excellent retelling of Greek myths and of course a historical romance, Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens.
.9 What is your favourite book and why?
If by favourite you mean which one I wish I had written then perhaps The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is such a rollercoaster of a book! Three stories rolled into one and never a dull moment.
If you mean which I would never tire of reading then one of the ones I mentioned earlier, or perhaps The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, the younger. What a heartbreaking love story!
10. What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Write about what you like because this is what will give you the most pleasure and motivation. For me that’s the whole point of the exercise. It’s like cooking. I always find that I get better results if I cook spontaneously, creating the recipe as I make the food. I enjoy eating these unique meals more than if I follow a recipe to the letter. Better a stew you invented yourself than a show stopping creation you stressed over.
I always seem to read the same advice for writers: read, read, and write, write and it’s true that this is essential. The more you write, the better you get. There is no better way to hone a skill than to do it over and over again. You adjust every time, and it gets easier.
Believe in your gut feeling. If you truly feel deep down that you have a story that will appeal to people, then you are probably right. Just be aware that it doesn’t mean it will appeal to everyone. That’s ok though, as it is more likely to be a reflection of each person’s tastes than your lack of skill (or so I like to think…)
11. What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
I am not big on social media because, if I have time, I end up writing. But you can find my books on Amazon and Goodreads. And I am on Facebook: www.facebook.com/virginie.marconato.