Saturday 28 September 2013

Interview with Giselle Marks - Author of The Fencing Master's Daughter

Today I am excited to have the pleasure of interviewing Giselle Marks, author of The Fencing Master's Daughter, about her new release title. You can find my review of The Fencing Master's Daughter HERE. I enjoyed this story a great deal and am thrilled to have the opportunity to interrogate... I mean, interview... Giselle about her novel.

From the Blurb:

Edward, Earl of Chalcombe, walking home, is attacked by footpads. He attempts to defend himself but is bludgeoned to the ground. Death seems inevitable when a fat ugly man carrying a stick and a beautiful slender young lady appeared.

The young lady stumbles and picks up his dropped foil, dispatching one footpad and injuring another. The fat man belabours a third with his stick. The footpads flee, leaving their deceased comrade behind. The rescuers bundle Edward home.

The young lady, Madelaine summons the Bow Street runners. Refusing reward she provides no address. But Edward fascinated by both Madelaine’s beauty and swordsmanship intends to pursue the acquaintance. Edward seeks his rescuers and the culprits who wish to terminate his life. Offering the elusive Madelaine marriage but she repeatedly declines. Her father accepts an invitation to visit his estate with her over Christmas as he takes a liking to Edward.

As Edward pursues Madelaine, the attempts on his life continue. The sinister French spy, Major Furet, discovered as the arch nemesis in both Edward and Madelaine’s stories. The mystery intertwines as their romance progresses and Madelaine eventually reveals the secret making her refuse to marry him.

What was your inspiration for The Fencing Master’s Daughter?

I started with the Title. Titles in the Regency Genre are often very similar and it stuck in my mind that I had never read one about the daughter of a fencing master.  The title came like that; then I thought about whom the fencing master was and what his daughter would be like.  So Madelaine was shaped and began to live.  Although she is beautiful, she is older than most Regency heroines and has been through the mill. 

Then I thought about what kind of man she’d like.  He would have to be a very strong man for her to respect him, but he’d need to be absolutely loyal and over his heels in love with her before he’d manage to persuade her to take the risk to love him in return. Edward Charrington, Earl of Chalcombe is all those things. Once I had decided she was an accomplished swordswoman then the first scene fell into place.  I wrote no full novel plan; the story just grew and was remarkably easy to write.

The historical authenticity in this novel is very detailed. What sort of research did you do to write The Fencing Master’s Daughter?

I’ve always loved the period, so knew some of the details, from reading history, historical biographies and many Regency romances, some excellent, some appalling.  It especially irritates me when Regency Romance writers think they can float through a novel without any historical facts at all, or worse getting them repeatedly wrong. Many seem to think they can be written in totally contemporary English but those fail to make you believe you have gone back in time. So although I was not going to go into full Regency language because it is slow to read, I wanted my language to have a feel of the period.

So did I research?  Oh yes I checked practically everything and then double checked the facts I thought were obvious, which were sometimes wrong.  I had some useful help from friends in Almacks who are a site on Yahoo for Georgette Heyer fans. Especially I had help and wonderful encouragement from author Sarah Waldock who was The Fencing Master’s Daughter’s first reader, cover artist and useful resource for period facts.  Costume, cuisine, events in the period covered, and any other facts were checked.  If I got anything wrong I apologize but I really tried to get it right. You can find Sarah Waldock at her website, Renaissance and Regency Rummage Repository, and on Facebook.

Madelaine is a very strong romance heroine. I was so pleasantly surprised when she rescues Edward. Did you have any concerns about writing such a powerful female character?

I admit to not liking wet heroines who cry, faint and generally wait for everybody to do everything for them.  I thought it a nice twist to have the heroine do the rescuing. I like intelligent women and Madelaine despite being a beauty has suffered.  What doesn’t destroy you tends to make you tougher. So if she seems a little less ladylike than some historic heroines then that is because she has lived a very strange life.  She has striven to do the best she can with her natural skills in the limited life she has.  She does not repine that she is not affluent, only that she’d like to look after her father as he gets older.  She is actually tougher than I first imagined her.  She is mentally tough as well as agile and a skilled swordswoman.

There are a lot of developed characters in The Fencing Master’s Daughter, my favourite is definitely Henri the cook. Did you have a favourite when writing it?

My favourite is Louis, Madelaine’s father.  When I started writing, I never meant him to be so sexy.  He had to be handsome for his daughter to be believable, but once I added a loving disposition, old Gallic charm and his loyalty to Henri, he became hard not to like.  He’s a much faster mover than the very British Earl Edward.

Although this is a romance, there is not much of a focus on sex. Was this an important decision for your story?

Many readers of Regency Romance would prefer if sex was left at the bedroom door.  I understand their preferences but will not do so in all my future Regency novels.  In The Fencing Master’s Daughter, the heroine Madelaine needs a lot of trust in Edward before she’d consider sex with him.  For all her past history and strange upbringing she is very much a lady and she intends to make him wait.  The other characters have no such scruples but are older.  I felt in this case, sex was unnecessary before they married.  I realise it might be a slightly uneven love affair.  Edward’s love for Madelaine may be greater than hers for him, but as they grow old together her love will encompass him and their children.

Is there going to be a sequel? If yes, can you tell us a little about it?

My second Regency Romance is already written.  It is not a sequel as such, because there is a new heroine and hero but the important characters in The Fencing Master’s Daughter are included in The Marquis’s Mistake.  I hope it will be released in December.  The hero is drop dead gorgeous, the second son of a Duke, he has recently returned to England after working for the Diplomatic corps in Europe.  He has recently lost his much loved but somewhat feckless elder brother and gained his title as a result.

Curly blonde hair, chocolate brown eyes and a beautiful body covered by Weston’s most immaculate tailoring. Many write off the handsome man as just a pretty face, but not his best friend Stephen who knows the beautiful exterior hides an incisive mind. But with the title comes his father’s insistence that he marry.  Unlike many Regency men Sebastian takes that vow very seriously. And despite the season’s beauties and the ladies of the demi-monde seeking his proposal or bed, he is not prepared to marry a stupid woman.  The Marquis’s Mistake is slightly raunchier than The Fencing Master’s Daughter.

What other future stories can we expect to see from you?

My third Regency Romance is currently entitled The Compromised Rake and will have at least one sex scene, because it is necessary to the story.  But that is very much in the early stages of writing.

I do not only write Romance. I have a fantasy/ sci-fi series with erotic content called The Zeninan Saga which is being prepared for publication by Nevermore Press.  They currently have the first four books in the series and I hope the first book Princess of Zenina will not take too long before it is ready for publication.  I have been writing it for a long time and it is an extensive series.  It is set in the future, mainly on the female dominated capital planet of a loosely organised Empire.  My heroine Princess Marina is the heir to the throne of Zenina that the majority of the population want.  A position she will do almost anything to avoid. Seeking neither the power nor the servitude that ruling would require.

The Saga travels with her through her adventures, along her fight against destiny and her wishes to make changes in her society.  Zenina has a male infertility problem and most men in Zenina are sex slaves. Marina is opposed to slavery and believes the official religion of Zenina “the fertility cult of Demina” is out dated and makes her race a butt of jokes from the rest of the universe.
There is a romance running through it, but it is not immediately obvious.  I am currently writing the 14th in the series.  I am also writing a fantasy erotica novella which I thought originally was only a short story, but further chapters are adding themselves.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions, Giselle. I can't wait to read The Marquis’s Mistake!

For those wanting to know a little more about The Marquis’s Mistake, Giselle has kindly shared its current blurb:

"Devastatingly handsome Sebastian, Marquis of Farndon awaits a lady, a present from his best friend Stephen for his thirtieth birthday.  Alicia Lambert fleeing from forced marriage is shown into his room by mistake.  Inebriated from celebrating his return to England, Sebastian disbelieves her protests and is reluctant to let her escape.  Later in London Alicia is relieved he does not recognise her and doubts as he must marry his feelings for her are real.  Sebastian however is worried about the interest of the blackguard Major Mallinder in his beloved and fears for her life and that of her aunt Maud."

Giselle Mark's novel The Fencing Master's Daughter was published by Front Porch Romance in September 2013. It is available at both Amazon and via the publisher.

You can also connect with Giselle and like The Fencing Master's Daughter on Facebook.

You can find my review of The Fencing Master's Daughter here.