When did you begin writing?
I began writing in college. I’ve always loved to write, even as a kid, but it wasn’t until college that I started writing short stories and I had my first attempt at writing a novel. After I finished college, I began writing historical novels, and all these years later I’m still at it.
What is this book about?
When It Rained at Hembry Castle is a love story set in Victorian England. The novel is about Edward Ellis, a rising author, and Daphne Meriwether, the American niece of the 9th Earl of Staton. Daphne is new to England and she must learn how to live in the Downton Abbey-like world her father’s family lives in.
What inspired you to write it?
I’ve been a fan of Charles Dickens’ since college, and about 20 years ago I came up with the idea of writing a novel set in Victorian England with a character who would be loosely based on Dickens’ early life. I loved the idea but kept it on the back burner while I was teaching and writing other novels. Finally, in 2014 I had finished my other projects and I was able to start working on this Victorian era novel. During that time I had become a big fan of Downton Abbey, and it so happens that Dickens’ grandparents were in service. Somehow, my active imagination managed to find a way to intertwine this character who was loosely based on Dickens with a Downton Abbey-like story, complete with upstairs/downstairs stories.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
I believe in that old adage about how writers have aspects of themselves in all their characters. Of the characters in When It Rained at Hembry Castle, it would be a tough call choosing my favorite between Edward and Daphne. Edward has a lot of me in him, especially since he’s a writer working hard to be successful. Daphne also has a lot of me in her because she’s the only American in the story. I think she represents how I might feel if I were suddenly living in the strict, rule-driven world of the English aristocracy.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
When It Rained at Hembry Castle can be bought at any of the major retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble. The book is available as an e-book, which is on sale for 99 cents until April 30, and in paperback.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Keep writing! It took me 17 years from the time I began writing historical fiction until I had a bestseller with my Loving Husband Trilogy. When I first began writing and I was trying to get short stories published, it took me four years to get my first publication. If I had given up 3 ½ years into the process, I never would have become a published writer. Take the time to grow into the writer you want to be.
What is up next for you?
Fans of my Loving Husband Trilogy will be happy to know that I’m writing the prequel to the story, called Down Salem Way. When I wrote the first book in the trilogy, Her Dear & Loving Husband, I did a lot of research about the Salem Witch Trials and I’m enjoying the fact that I get to revisit my research because the prequel is set in Salem during the witch hunts as well.
Is there anything you would like to add?
When It Rained at Hembry Castle is a great read for anyone who loves Downton Abbey, but it’s also for fans of Victorian era fiction, or even Charles Dickens. I’ve been lucky because the novel has been well received so far. I think fans of my Loving Husband Trilogy will appreciate the romance between Edward and Daphne. While there are no supernatural elements in When It Rained at Hembry Castle, there is definitely true love.