Welcome, Margaret Mallory!
Margaret Mallory has had a very busy and rewarding year so far:
Margaret Mallory has had a very busy and rewarding year so far:her newest release, Knight of Passion, received 4 1/2 stars and a "Top Pick" from Romantic Times. She's also a 2010 RITA finalist for the middle book in the All The King's Men trilogy, Knight of Pleasure (which is also a Booksellers' Best Award finalist.) We've very pleased to chat with her today about her newest release.
Margaret is also going to be giving away a copy of the book that kicks off this trilogy, Knight of Desire, to one lucky reader (KoD is was a Best 1st Book Finalist in both the 2010 Readers' Crown™ & Golden Quill Contests, so if you haven't yet read it, now is your chance!).
HOW CAN THIS PASSIONATE KNIGHT…
Renowned beauty Lady Linnet is torn between two desires: revenge on those who destroyed her family or marriage to her childhood sweetheart Sir James Rayburn. One fateful night, she makes a misguided choice: she sacrifices Jamie’s love for a chance at vengeance.
TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST?
Jamie Rayburn returns to England in search of a virtuous wife—only to find the lovely Linnet as bewitching as ever. Their reckless affair ignites anew, even hotter than before, although Jamie vows to never again trust her with his heart. Then just as Linnet begins to make amends, she’s tempted by one last opportunity to settle old scores. But a final retribution could cost her Jamie’s love – this time forever.
KNIGHT OF PASSION is set in 1425, Late Medieval. Is there a particular reason you chose that year?
I set it a few years after the death of the great King Henry V, who left a nine-month-old child as heir to the throne. For the historical backdrop, this gave me riots in London and a royal power struggle between the child-king’s uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, and his great-uncle, the remarkable Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester.
Also, Henry V’s young widow, the former princess of France, began an affair with her lowly Clerk of the Wardrobe around this time. What a boon for a historical romance writer! Her lover was a Welshman named Owen Tudor. You guessed it—years later their grandson usurped the throne to become Henry VII and begin the Tudor dynasty.
I use all of these historical figures as secondary characters in Knight of Passion.
How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?
The first story that happened to come into my head involved castles, knights, and a noblewoman forced into an arranged marriage. Clearly, I had a Medieval on my hands… That story became Knight of Desire, the first book in this trilogy.
What I especially love about writing in the medieval period—besides all the adventure and political intrigue—is that it lends itself so well to stories with themes of honor and loyalty. And then there are the knights, of course....
What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?
That’s easy. I hate the common practice, at least among the nobility, of marrying teenage girls off to middle-aged or old men. A big yuck for me. Also, noblewomen in this period generally married a bit young for modern sensibilities. I could write a YA book about a fourteen-year-old girl, but I can’t write an adult love story about one.
What I’ve done to deal with this is make the heroine’s second marriage be her big romance. My heroines are still young, but they are closer to twenty-one than to fourteen. In this period, it was fairly common for a woman who didn’t die in childbirth to go through more than one husband. As I recall, Henry VII’s mother had at least four husbands during her lifetime.
Anything you flat-out altered or “fudged”? If so, why?
Not in this book, but in Knight of Desire I adjusted the Welsh names. Many Welsh names are hard to read to begin with. On top of that, the Welsh weren’t using last names the way that we do during this time period. I decided that giving fathers and sons different last names would be enormously confusing to the modern reader.
I have characters in that book who are ancestors of the Tudors. To save confusion and make the historical connection clear, I just used Tudor as their last name.
Any gaffs or mea culpas you want to fess up to before readers get their hands on the book? I know I always seem to find one after the book has gone to press. *sigh*
None that have come to me yet!
Tell us a little about your hero. Something fun, like his favorite childhood pet, or his first kiss.
I’ll show you Jamie when he was 15 and more light-hearted. This is from the prior book, Knight of Pleasure, just after his Uncle Stephen has interrupted Jamie’s seduction by an older woman.
[Stephen] looked at his nephew, trying to see him as the young man he was now, without also seeing the boy who used to toddle after him. Deep blue eyes, dark hair. Too handsome for his own good.
“Many women will want you,” he said at last. “That does not mean you must bed them all.”
Stephen rubbed his temples. “Nay, not all of them.”
God in Heaven, he was a fool to think Jamie had been unaware. …
“Aye, there have been a lot of women lately,” he admitted, exhaling a long breath. “And I can tell you, there is no lasting satisfaction in meaningless affairs with frivolous women. ’Tis much better to look for what your parents have.”
“Then why do you not seek it for yourself?”
Jamie’s face was so serious Stephen had to fight not to smile. God, he loved this boy.
“For the right woman,” he said, meeting his nephew’s eyes, “I would give up all the others without regret.” He thought it might even be true.
“So, while a man waits for the perfect woman, he is free to waste time on frivolous ones,” Jamie said with a grin. “Then I say, do not hurry, Perfect Woman. Take your time!”
Jamie ducked as Stephen’s boot sailed over his head.
What sparked this book? Was it a character?
I enjoyed Jamie and Linnet so much as young, secondary characters in Knight of Pleasure that I had to decided to write them each a book. But when I tried to outline separate stories for them, it just wasn’t working. Finally, Linnet TOLD me she belonged with Jamie. Everything fell together once I accepted that. J
Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?
I did a lot of research. One particularly interesting thing I learned was that Gloucester’s wife, who was still his mistress at the time of this book, joined a witches’ cabal and used sorcery against Henry VI. Once I knew this, I had to make her a character in the book. ;)
What are you planning to work on next?
I’m off to the Highlands! I’m writing a 4-book Scottish series that takes place on the Isle of Skye in 1513. After hearing of a disastrous Scottish loss to Henry VIII’s forces, four young Highlanders return from France to help their clan through the perilous times ahead. The four are willing to give their lives for their clan, but taking wives to further their clan’s interests is another matter altogether….
I miss my characters from ALL THE KING’S MEN, but I’m having a good time with my handsome Highlanders. ;)
Thanks so much for letting me visit! I’d love to respond to comments or questions. If any of you want to watch my KNIGHT OF PASSION book video or hear me read an excerpt, you can find them on my website: www.MargaretMallory.com.