I am an author with a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. My lawyer husband and I live in a pretty, historical town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with our spoiled Persian cat, Africa, plus the assorted wildlife we feed: chickens wander in from next door and give us lovely eggs, ducks swim in our pool, parrots and possums line up for bananas and seed. I write historical romance, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels.
A BARON IN HER BED – THE SPIES OF MAYFAIR, BOOK ONE
Horatia’s plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance. When Guy is set upon in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while traveling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore, is behind the attacks on his life. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia’s father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia’s time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy’s demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiancé, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.
Horatia patted The General’s nose and fed him an apple. By the time the last of it had disappeared, the clip of a horse’s hooves came from the drive. She peeped out of the barn door and saw the baron, tall in the saddle, riding towards the house.
Horatia stepped out and beckoned him. He caught sight of her and rode towards the stables then dismounted and led the horse inside.
“Sorry, my lord,” Horatia said, adopting Simon’s gruff voice. “We have no footman here. No under-groom neither. I’ll stable your horse.”
“Simon, good fellow,” he said warmly. “I came to thank you again. I am indebted to you.”
“No need for that, my lord,” she said. “Everything’s right and tight here as it happens.” She turned her back to lead his horse into one of the stalls. Seizing a brush, she bent and swept it over the horse’s flanks.
He came to rest an arm on the stall door. “I am relieved. If you had lost your job, I was going to ask you to work for me.”
She straightened to brush the horse’s back, confident of the poor light. “Mighty good of you, my lord. But not at all necessary.”
“Eh bien, merci encore.” He turned towards the door.
Relieved it had gone so well, Horatia stepped out from behind the horse. She looked up to see if he had gone and found him watching her with his arms folded.
The elation left her, and she took a deep, shaky breath.
“Did you really think you could go on fooling me?” A note of outrage lay beneath the humorous tone in his voice. “How many people around here have red hair like yours?”
“My hair’s not red,” she said, incensed. “It’s chestnut.”
“I wondered how far you would carry this ruse, Miss Cavendish.”
She backed into an empty stall as he strode towards her.
He followed her inside. Reaching over, he whipped off her hat, and her hair came loose and tumbled around her face. “So, what do you have to say in your defense?”
“Nothing, my lord.” Horatia lifted her chin, her heart pounding loud in her ears. She chewed her lip. She would have to brazen this out.
Annoyed blue eyes stared into hers. “I do not like to be toyed with. I thought there was something wrong with me.”
“Watching you bend over in those breeches. Zut! From the first, I felt a strong attraction to you. And then, when I saw you dressed as a woman, I understood.”
“You knew it was me at the dance?” She scowled. “And you deliberately teased me?”
“Don’t you think you deserved it?” He seized her shoulders and gave them a shake. “You tricked me. Why?”
She swallowed. “No trickery, my lord. I was dressed this way when I found you, if you recall. I needed to keep up the pretense.”
He shrugged. “But why do you dress like that?”
She couldn’t explain her restlessness to him and tossed her head. “I prefer to ride astride.”
He raised a brow. “You like a strong beast moving beneath you?”
She bristled at the insult. “I like to ride alone.” He made it sound as if she gained some sort of indecent enjoyment from the exercise. Her face heated. To ride astride was unfeminine, she knew, but that fact had never bothered her before.
“But to do so places you in peril.”
Horatia drew herself up. “I can handle myself as well as a man.”
“You believe that, do you?” His gaze flicked over her. What was he thinking? She quivered under his scrutiny.
About me: What do I like to read?
I like nothing better than to curl up with a good mystery with a touch of romance. Or a great romance with a mystery sub-plot. The romance quotient isn’t so important, but some romance in the story makes the book special for me. I’m a dyed-in-the-wood romantic who loves a happy ending. None of those stories that drift off without a firm commitment for me! I enjoy the Bronte’s, Jane Austen and I’m a great fan of Georgette Heyer. I don’t think my tastes have changed much over time. I love a good thriller; I’m reading Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French now. No romance so far, but I love their books! I’m partial to historical crime/mysteries too, like Ashley Gardner’s Captain Lacey series and C.S. Harris’ Regency novels. Other writers I enjoy are Tasha Alexander, Joanna Bourne, Courtney Milan, and Tracy Grant. I love a good hot read too, like Anna Campbell’s Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed! Couldn’t put that down!
My taste in music is quite eclectic. I like a little opera, although I’m not a buff, Classical music, but I’m picky. Jamie Cullen, Rufus Wainwright, Michael Bublé are all great entertainers. I’m into anything with a good beat, it’s enlivening, even a touch of rap. Pink, Lady Gaga, and Adele, who is fabulous, loved Skyfall!
What prepared me to become a writer?
Reading the kind of books, I want to write. I’ve always had my nose in a book. When I seriously considered taking up what was just a hobby I’d had since a child, I attended university to improve my skills. A BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing later, I took a deep breath and wrote my first novella. Dog Head Code is a young adult mystery. I followed it up quickly with an England-set mystery/crime novel, Murder in Devon, published with Black Opal Books. My next was a Regency romance, Rules of Conduct. All published now, but it took me a while to gain the interest of a publisher. My first break came with a Regency novella, Stirring Passions, which has many of the elements of A Baron in Her Bed. Spies, mystery, romance!
While writing in those early years, I developed my voice and learned what genres suited my style and stirred my muse. What gave me the fire in the belly to sit hour after hour, day after day at the computer. I’m still writing in those genres, but my education didn’t end all those years ago. I’m constantly studying my craft, searching for ways to enliven my prose. Writing, like language, changes over time, and a writer has to change with it.
Where am I in my writing career?
I’m enjoying working with a good publisher, Knox Robinson Publishing in the UK. They publish my historical romances, and my first book with them, The Reluctant Marquess is a Regency bestseller. I also write contemporary romantic suspense for Black Opal Books. With Murderous Intent is to be released with them on the 16th March, set in Ireland and Outback Australia. I enjoy moving from historical romance to contemporary romantic suspense it helps keep me fresh.
Me as a Writer
I think my style has been developed through reading. I do tend to write to a certain rhythm though. My stories develop organically. I’m not so keen on having books plotted and edited to death. I think they are in danger of all sound the same, and the stories lose their spark.
I’ve been published since 2008. I’m a traditionally published author. Although my first novella was with an e-publisher.
I’m delighted with A Baron in Her Bed’s cover; it’s one of my best. The book is a historical spy novel, but also a sensual mainstream romance. The historical bedroom in which the hero lies, hints to the era and along with the title makes it easy to see what the book is about. I love the soft colors too.
I spend far too much time at the computer and have to tear myself away to get some exercise before bits of me spread alarmingly. I go to the gym regularly, swim when I can and walk.
It’s like asking a parent about their favorite child. I love all my characters, even some of the villains. I’m very fond of Guy, Baron Fortescue, in A Baron in Her Bed. He was born in France, but his English father instilled a love of England in him and prepared him to one day return to England. Guy arrives eager to fit into English society and claim his title and estate, Rosecroft Hall. He realizes he must marry to provide an heir, but doesn’t expect the woman he chooses will be a love match. Guy doesn’t count on falling in love with Horatia Cavendish, an unsuitable, and at times, uncontrollable young poetess. His wish to become a country gentleman after a difficult life during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic war seems out of reach, as more than one attempt is made on his life.
Miss Horatia Cavendish wishes to join the London Literary set with her spinster aunt. Her overprotective father, Colonel Cavendish, doesn’t trust his sister to take care of Horatia and refuses to allow her to leave their small country village. Bored and frustrated, Horatia rides her father’s fine stallion, The General around the countryside dressed as a groom. It is on one of her jaunts that she comes across Guy, unconscious on the road, and saves him from a snowstorm. An energetic miss, Horatia tries to resist a man who will marry into the ton, but it becomes increasingly difficult. Perhaps there’s a way they both can achieve their goals by working together. Even if their goals change along the way!
If I could meet a favorite character, it would be Joanna Bourne’s Adrian Hawker from her novel, Black Hawk. He’s a wily brave spy, and darned sexy! Heart pounding mystery and romance, engaging prose, what more can I say!
What is something I’d like the reader to know about my writing?
My mother was an artist, and I inherited from her my love of color and design. Some authors plot, some hear dialogue in their heads, some have characters forming in their minds before they begin. Some write a synopsis first. I begin with a vague story idea, but as a visual writer, I prefer to build the virtual world my characters are to inhabit. I create a spreadsheet with images of the architecture, fashions and décor, the estates, family members, interiors of rooms etc. I add notes on ages, coloring, bits about personalities, relationships of characters to each other and historical detail, plus my idea of what my hero and heroine look like. I roughly plot and begin to write my story while my characters continue to surprise me with desires and secrets I hadn’t envisaged.
I have eighteen published works and several free short stories which are available on my website.
A BARON IN HER BED – THE SPIES OF MAYFAIR, is released in the US on 6th March 2013. It’s the first of my Regency spy series. I’m excited about this series, and enjoy writing it. There’s a fair amount of historical research required and I spend a good deal of time buried in history books checking facts. Readers are quite knowledgeable about the Regency period, and it’s my wish that they enjoy my book without anachronisms taking them of the story. This book is fiction, but I do sometimes draw on some characteristics of people I know, and sometimes a bit of myself. I’m impulsive like Horatia. I have tended to leap in where angels fear to tread, although I’m wiser now. Fortunately, in fiction I can arrange a happy ending for all concerned. My characters tread a rocky road to get there though.
Buy Links and Information:
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Baron-Her-Bed-Maggi-Andersen/9781908483348
Knox Robinson Publishing: http://www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com
My Website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com
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