Series: The Golden Redepennings, Book 2
By Jude Knight
Jude is giving away ecopy of each of the other Redepenning stories to a random commenter: Candle’s Christmas Chair and Gingerbread Bride (novellas) and Farewell to Kindness. Plus a chance to enter for made-to-order story. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter.
Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Jude Knight. Welcome Jude! I'm so excited to have you here today.
Jude: Hi, Crystal. Thank you for hosting me today. I'm delighted to be here to tell you and your readers a little about myself and A Raging Madness, my next release.
Crystal: Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Jude: Sure. I'm a New Zealander who writes historical fiction (romances and mysteries) set mostly in Regency England, though I get around a bit in both space and time.
I live on a two acre plot of land in a small country town with my personal romantic hero and two cats. We have dozens of fruit trees, and I've been bottling apples and quinces while on a fortnight's holiday.
My day job is turning insurance policies, government forms, and how-to manuals into clear, easy-to-read documents that ordinary people can understand. But my passion is telling stories, and I spend most of the rest of my waking hours with my head in the nineteenth century, talking to my heroes and heroines.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Jude: I think this is my favourite. It is a long time coming, but keep reading. They’ll get there.
Ella had left her bonnet in the chaise, and the sea wind played with tendrils of her hair, teasing it out of its pins. “All these things that are happening—they will stop once the people get to know us, won’t they?” She asked.
Alex gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Perhaps they are stopping. The last few have been more of a nuisance than a real danger.”
“Alex! Those slates could have killed you. And if all of the adders had bitten…” She shuddered.
“The slates may have been an accident or a personal grudge. Fox seems to think I am having an affair with his wife.” Should he have said that? He didn’t want to give her cause to doubt his fidelity.
But Ella merely laughed and returned the squeeze. “How stupid. Don’t worry, Alex. You are not the sort to bother the maids.”
“I’m not the sort to have affairs with married women,” he pointed out. “Even if I didn’t love you, Ella. Given I love you with every fibre of my being, I have no interest in other women.”
He had taken two more steps before he realised that she had stopped and turned back to her.
Ella faced him, her face white and her eyes blazing. “You love me?”
“Of course, I love you. You know I love you.” He had told her so often. Hadn’t he? Not in words, perhaps, but he had shown her.
“You care for me. But love? You never said. You never said the words.” She hadn’t moved, but she let him take her hands. She met his gaze, examining his face with eyes slightly shuttered.
Alex swallowed against a suddenly dry throat. “I love you,” he repeated.
Ella said nothing for a moment that stretched. His chest was tight and his head was spinning as he waited, holding his breath, for her response.
“You mean it.” The wonder in Ella’s voice kept the hurt and the fear from being overwhelming, but still, he almost refused the leap; almost turned away with a joke and a change of subject.
No. She loved him. He was almost certain of it. He sucked in a deep, gasping breath of air. “You never said the words,” he reminded her, challenged her. And stopped breathing again.
Ella smiled. A slow beatific dawning, spreading across her face until she hid it against his chest, pressing as close into him as possible, her arms wrapped around his chest.
“I love you, Alexander Redepenning. I have loved you since I was a girl of fourteen. I have never stopped loving you, and I never will.”
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for your latest release?
Jude: Like all my books, A Raging Madness started with several ideas coming together. One night as I was drifting off to sleep, I visualised a scene with a heroine climbing down the wall of a house to escape her relatives. On another occasion, I imagined a hero carrying a leg full of shrapnel and looking for a new career after being forced by his injury to leave the army.
It sat there for a while, till I began to imagine the stories that would eventually become The Golden Redepenning series, and drawing family trees. I knew that four of my heroes would be the sons of Brigadier General Lord Henry Redepenning, and when I got to the third son, Alexander, all of a sudden my wounded soldier had a name.
I needed an invalid for the first book in the series and had originally intended to make it a school friend of the hero, Stephen Redepenning, the Earl of Chirbury. But the series already had a wounded hero, so why introduce a new one? So Alex turned up in Farewell to Kindness, and proved to be suspicious of women, protective of his family, and frustrated about his injury.
Most of the rest of the building of the story consisted of doing the hard yards: hours of interviewing the characters, thinking about their motivations and their back stories, wondering about the major influences on them and the experiences that scarred or strengthened them. But I had a few more moments of pure serendipity.
The canal boat journey, for example. I needed them to escape, but Ella was suffering opium withdrawal (the in-laws had been keeping her drugged), and Alex was crippled with devastating pain. I was watching a television show in which two British actors were cruising England's canals. What a marvelous way to travel! Gentle on the injuries, and almost invisible. Who would think to look for runaways on the slowest mode of transport ever invented?
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Jude: I'm writing two novels more or less simultaneously, moving from one to another as I hit roadblocks and need to go do some more research. The Realm of Silence is the sequel to A Raging Madness, and Concealed in Shadow is the sequel to Revealed in Mist, the historical mystery I published last December.
I also include a short story in each newsletter I send to subscribers, so I usually have one of those on the go as well.
And I've finished the research and planning for the novellas for the two Christmas anthologies I'm in this year. Both are due to beta readers at the end of May, so I'll need to get working.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Jude: Only that I try to write 500 words every day, no matter what, and preferably at least 1000 words. I write first drafts on my iPad, using a Bluetooth keyboard, and I edit on the PC.
I write on the commuter train, which takes an hour from my country town to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, for the day job. I write while waiting for the hairdresser or the doctor or the dentist. I write sitting up in bed if I have trouble sleeping. And when I am taking a shower or walking somewhere, I'm usually planning the next bit of dialogue or the next twist in the story.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Jude: Yes, I am a research geek and have never met a research rabbit hole I didn't want to dive down. I always do far more research than shows up in the books, and I often write about interesting stuff I've found out in my Footnotes on Friday posts on my blog.
I researched local seasonal traditions for both novels in The Golden Redepennning series: Whitsunday for Farewell to Kindness and Easter for A Raging Madness. I was fascinated to find that many country kitchens in historic England hung up bread on Good Friday and used it for wound care during the year. Now I'm not suggesting you do this at home, folks, since not all molds that grow on bread are penicillin. But some are, so pre-antibiotics, this folk remedy almost certainly worked better than doing nothing.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Jude: In historical romance, Caroline Warfield, Anne Gracie, Mary Balogh, Grace Burrowes, Jessica Cale, and Elizabeth Hoyt are do-not-miss authors for me. I own every Georgette Heyer, both historical and mystery, and reread them. In mystery, I wait impatiently for each new J D Robb book, and have read every P.D. James, Ellis Peters and Agatha Christie ever written. In SF, I love Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Catherine Asara, and Ursula Le Guin.
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Jude: I'm focusing on historical, because I have more than 40 plots roughly outlined, and that's going to take me a while. But I've love to do some sf mystery. Setting a murder mystery in a future world has some interesting challenges I'd love to meet. I've also got a bit of a yen to take the werewolf I accidentally invented for a made-to-order story (The Heart of a Wolf), and build a series around him. And maybe a time jump story?
Their marriage is a fiction. Their enemies are all too real.
Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.
Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.
In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.
Genre: Regency romance, historical romance, historical suspense, Regency noir, gothic
Heat rating: PG-13 µ ISBN: 9780473393670
Page count: 382 pages on Kindle
Publication date: 9 May 2017
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Fear pierced the fog, and drove Ella across the carriage way and into the shrubbery beyond. The soft rain of the past few days had left branches laden with moisture, and puddles and mud underfoot. Every part of her not covered by the woollen blanket was soon drenched, but the chill kept her awake, kept her from falling back into the false happiness of the dream.
Every stone and twig bruised her feet. Her soft slippers were not made for outside walking, and would be in shreds before she reached the village. At least it was not still raining.
The carriage way turned onto the village road. She kept to the side, ready to hide in the ditch if anyone came. Alone, in her shift, and still dazed from the drug? Being returned to the Braxtons would be the best she could expect from a casual passer-by, and the worst… She shuddered. She had travelled with the army, worked as her father’s assistant, been Gervase Melville’s wife. She knew the worst that could happen to a woman at the mercy of the merciless.
A soft whicker caught her attention. Falcon’s Storm. He was a lighter shape above the hedgerow, stretching his neck to reach his mistress.
“Storm, my sweet, my champion.” She stopped to fuss over him for a minute that stretched into a timeless pause, crooning nonsense about having no treats in her pocket for she lacked a pocket. He lipped at her shoulder and her hair, but showed no offence at being denied the expected lump of carrot or apple.
“I missed you, too,” she assured him. “If only you were old enough, dearest, you would carry me away, would you not?”
He was solidly built for a two-year old, but so was she, for a woman. She walked away with a deep sigh. He was the one thing in the world that was solidly, legally, beyond a doubt hers; her only legacy from the swine she had married, born of her mare, Hawk of May, and Gervase’s charger.
But if she took him, how would she feed him? And if they were hunting for a woman and a colt… No, she could not take him with her, and opening the gate to set him loose was also out of consideration. He would follow her, for sure.
She continued on her way, praying that the Braxtons would leave him to the care of old Jake, the groom, or sell him to someone who appreciated him for the future champion he was.
Storm followed her to the corner of his field, and called after her until she was out of sight. She was hobbling by then. Even though the cold numbed them, her feet shot pain at her from a thousand bruises and cuts.
Then the rain began again. She pulled an edge of the blanket over her head, which kept off the worst of it, but it still sluiced down her cheeks and brow, gathered on her eyebrows, dripped over her eyes, and streamed down either side of her nose.
She passed the first house in Henbury village, keeping to the shadows. Then a row of cottages. The smithy, silent in the dark night. Another row, this one with shops on the street face and living spaces above.
The inn was ahead, the only building showing lights. She paused in the shelter of the last of the cottages, hiding in the doorway while deciding what to do next. Despite the lateness of the hour, people still came and went from the public room; not many, but one would be enough to destroy her escape.
Above, lights showed in two rooms on the second floor. Surely Alex would not climb the stairs that high?
The best rooms were at the back. Alex… She had no idea of his circumstances now, but he was a lord’s son. Gervase had often complained to her about the privileges Alex expected as of right, because he was well born and wealthy. Jealous nonsense, of course. It was Gervase who wanted special treatment while all the other officers suffered with their men. But Alex was grandson to an earl; that was true enough.
She would follow her hunch and hope her confidence was not born of the laudanum.
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jude-Knight/e/B00RG3SG7I
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