Today’s guest is perfect for the month of October, because while Nicola Beaumont’s recent release, The Resurrection of Lady Somerset, is listed as an historical romance novel, it also has the twists and turns of a mystery thriller. And after reading a brief synopsis, I want to run right out and buy it.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Nicola. I’m glad you could join us today.
Thanks. It’s great to be here.
Before we begin talking about your novel, let’s hear a bit about you. How long have you been writing? What genre do you concentrate on? Is there anyone or anything that influences your writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My favourite genre is Regency romance, but I also write contemporary inspirational romance and non-fiction. I try not to let anyone influence my writing (outside of listening to constructive criticism)—I want it to be completely unique—but as a Christian, I’m sure my Christianity influences the things I write, if not how I write them.
You are also an editor. Do you feel this role allows you to self-edit your work better or are you still too close to your stories to be objective?
You know the old saying about the person who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer? The same can be said about self-editing. No one can be objective enough to be their own editor. Being an editor may help me to have a cleaner draft sooner, perhaps, but I also work with other editors who edit and proof my manuscripts for me.
In addition to your writing career, you are a wife and homeschooling mother. How do you find that perfect balance between your career and your family life?
There is no balance; I’m always right on the precipice of falling into total chaos! Seriously, I just have to organize my time, and allow for lots of interruptions. I’m not sure how it works, but it does.
Let’s talk about The Resurrection of Lady Somerset. Tell us about this story. What inspired you to write it?
My inspiration for this novel came in a strange manner. I had written a few other manuscripts before it, and each time they were evaluated, I received the same criticism: My sentence structure was too proper. I didn’t quite understand why that was a problem, but I realized that evidently it was something that needed to be fixed. Because I didn’t want to relax on grammar, I tried to think of a way to turn my weakness into a strength—and what better way than to write a book in a time period where the characters had a very “proper” way of speaking? That’s how I got turned on to Regencies.
The book itself is the story of Lark and Jonathon. She is mute, and has been thought dead for many years. The book opens with Jonathon becoming the new Lord Somerset because his father has died. During the reading of the will, Jonathon discovers that in order to keep the family fortune and reputation in tact, he must marry Lark—and protect her because her life may be in danger.
Where is Somerset Manor located? What era does this story take place in?
This takes place in Regency England which is the period between 1811 and 1820, when the Prince Regent was acting monarch. Somerset is located in the southwest of England.
Jonathon’s first meeting with Lark Blackwell does not turn out well. In the excerpt from your website--which reveals Jonathon and Lark’s first meeting--Jonathon vividly describes Lark. Why is Jonathon so harsh with Lark when he is admittedly attracted to her?
That is precisely why—because he’s attracted to her, but doesn’t want to be. For years, he has had to deal with swirling rumours about his family because his father had basically become a recluse in the years before the man’s death, so Jonathon is very conscious about being “proper.” When he discovers he is being forced to marry, he’s upset. When he further discovers that Lark has been in hiding and listening to the conversation, he doesn’t hold much respect for her—even though he’s still attracted to her. So he experiences this push-me-pull-you response to her, both wanting her and not wanting to want her.
As you mentioned, there is a terrible mystery surrounding Lark. People assumed her dead, but Lord Somerset had hidden her away in Somerset Manor until his death. It isn’t until Jonathon inherits the estate and becomes the new Lord Somerset that he discovers he is expected to marry Lark. What can you tell us about Lord Somerset--Jonathon’s father?
I can’t tell you too much; I don’t want to give away the story. But I can tell you he was not as loony as people thought.
What is it about Jonathon and Lark that readers can relate to? Why will readers want their relationship to work?
Both are extremely flawed and shaped by their past experiences—as are we all. I think readers will want their relationship to work because Lark and Jonathon both deserve to be happy. Being responsible for the family reputation, even while his father was still living, has been a burden on Jonathon that has kept him distant from relationships. Lark is a victim of circumstance who has been forced to lead the life of a recluse since childhood, without knowing why or if she would ever be allowed to leave Somerset Manor.
With the death of Jonathon’s father, new, exciting, and dangerous possibilities arise for them both.
Jonathon considers marrying Lark to prevent his squandering brother from inheriting Somerset Manor. What can you tell us about Jonathon’s brother? Do the two brothers have anything in common?
Jonathon and Cyril are as different as chalk and cheese—at least that’s what Jonathon thinks, but Cyril has a loyal streak that matches the one in Jonathon. It’s just that Cyril is a free spirit who doesn’t really care about reputation—or responsibility, for that matter. But, I love Cyril. He’s a witty rogue whom I think will one day find his match in a lady.
So, where can readers get their hands on a copy of The Resurrection of Lady Somerset?
The book is available in both electronic and print formats, and can be ordered online at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ or Amazon. It can also be ordered at any brick-and-mortar bookstore.
What is up next for you? Are there future projects you would like to share with our readers?
I’ve got several projects in the works, but one exciting announcement is that I had the privilege of having two books released on the same day. The day The Resurrection of Lady Somerset was released, I also had an inspirational novella released. The Lighthouse is the contemporary story of two best friends who fall in love with each other—but the timing is all wrong, and Malachi must race to save Rachel from a man whom Malachi knows is bad news. It’s also available in electronic and print formats from http://www.thewildrosepress.com/—and I have just been notified it has received a “Reviewer’s Top Pick” from Night Owl Romance.