January has been a month of great authors here at The Book Connection. And today is no exception. Joining us is historical romance author Hazel Statham. She is touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the second time and we'll be talking about her latest release, My Dearest Friend.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Hazel. It's great to have you with us.
Thank you so much for inviting me.
Before we begin talking about My Dearest Friend, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How long have you been writing? What is the first story you can remember putting down on paper? Are you a full-time novelist? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have written on and off since I was fifteen and wrote my first novel, 'Goldacre' at sixteen. I wrote three books in two years but, sadly, they disappeared when we moved house. I wish I had them now so that I could compare them to what I currently write. Now that I am 'officially' retired, I can write as and when the mood takes me, go I guess you can call me a full-time novelist.
I live in the UK and when I am not writing, I love spending time with my family, especially my six-year-old grandson who is a pure delight. In quieter moments I like to read and it is a family joke that you can leave me anywhere as long as I have a book.
Have you always written historical romance? What draws you to this genre?
I have always been fascinated by history, especially the romance and elegance of the Regency and Georgian eras, and it is this that encourages me to attempt to recreate them in my work.
What is the greatest challenge of writing an historical novel?
If I am stating fact, I try to ensure that I get it right. I believe that you should make the story fit the fact, not the fact fit the story.
Let's move on to My Dearest Friend. Tell us about this story.
Here is a brief blurb:
Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is a man of intense emotions who loves deeply and protects fiercely. Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, he readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal.
Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travellers.
That special love is put severely to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane’s former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons.
Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them under?
My Dearest Friend is set in London in the early 1800's. What about this setting appeals to you?
It is the time of the Peninsular War which has always been of great interest to me and the war is integral to the plot. It is the war that is responsible for Stefan's death and Harry's injuries and the reason why Jane and Robert undertake their journey into Portugal.
In the first chapter, we meet Robert Blake, Duke of Lear. He is playing cards with a young man and is beating the pants off of him. Why did you choose to start the story off this way?
Ah, although the reader doesn't yet know it, this is a very important part of the story. To say more would give the plot away.
In the first chapter we also meet Jane Chandler. What can you tell us about her?
Jane is desperate to retrieve her wounded brother from Portugal. She is so determined to set out on the journey that, in an effort to reach him before it’s too late, she is prepared to embark on the mission alone. This selfless decision makes Robert aware of her caring and devoted nature and leaves a lasting impression on him.
When the two meet, Robert has been in mourning the loss of his brother who died in the war. How does this impact his relationship with Jane?
At first, he believes his decision to accompany Jane on her hazardous mission is merely his desire to prevent another youth from suffering the same fate as his brother and doesn't recognise his attraction to her. It's only later that he realises his twofold desire.
Robert and Jane embark upon a journey together and their feelings for each other deepen. Why will readers care what happens to them? Why will they want Robert and Jane to be together?
In Jane, Robert finds his soul mate, a woman who succeeds where so many have failed in capturing his heart. She encourages him to unburden his grief and offers understanding and, for the fist time since his brother's death, he is able to respond. In her, he sees his redemption and his love.
For Jane, he is her protector and rock, a man of strength and courage who shows unparalleled kindness. They are a perfect foil for each other and deserve a blissful future but when treachery comes into their lives and secrets cannot be told, that future is far less than certain.
Please tell us where readers can purchase a copy of My Dearest Friend.
What is up next for you? Are there future projects you would like to share with our readers?
I have another Regency, ‘His Shadowed Heart’, due for release with Wings ePress on June 1st, 2008 and a further two, ‘Consequence’ and ‘Lizzie’s Rake’ with Highland Press in 2008 (I do not have the exact dates as yet).
Is there anything you would like to add?
I love to hear from my readers and promise to answer all my mail. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for spending some time with us today Hazel. I wish you continued success.
Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure talking to you.
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