What can you tell us about your latest book in the series RULES FOR A PROPER GOVERNESS?
Writing Rules was a terrific experience. I never knew what Bertie and the kids were going to say. In sum: Bertie (Roberta) Fraser is a pickpocket sent to rob barrister Sinclair McBride because he got a friend of her beau’s arrested for murder. Bertie happens to steal the watch given to Sinclair by his now-deceased wife. To Bertie’s surprise, Sinclair pursues her, all the way to the slums of London, determined not to lose the watch.
Bertie gives it back, fascinated by this man, and sets out to learn all about him, including following him about London. Coming upon his spoiled, demon children who have gotten themselves into danger, she saves them and takes them home. Because the kids go through a governess a week, the servants in the house seize on Bertie (who can make Andrew and Catriona mind), and beg her to stay. Sinclair comes home to find his house amazingly serene, and the pickpocket installed in the nursery.
Sinclair hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her and convinces her to stay. Much fun ensues. It’s a sweet, sad and happy (and hot), emotional story with a heroine who is a bit different from the usual ladies I write.
If you were casting Sinclair and Bertie from Rules For A Proper Governess, who would be your ideal choices?
I’d say Sean Bean just because I love the guy and would want him in my movie. Though I think he’d be best at playing Hart Mackenzie (from Duke’s Perfect Wife).
I’m not up on the latest stars these days, so I’ll leave it to readers to suggest the actors. Sinclair is a hot Scot with blond hair and gray eyes; Bertie is a vivacious Cockney with dark hair and blue eyes.
With all the Mackenzie men paired up and married off, are you approaching the new books featuring the McBrides any differently?
The McBrides are different men from the Mackenzies, but still hot in their own way. They’re middle-class gentlemen, and all three were soldiers at some point in their lives. The older two, Sinclair and Elliot, left the army to go into professions, while Steven remains a career officer.
The McBrides had happy childhoods and then faced hardship in the world, whereas the Mackenzies faced hardship within their childhood home and in their personal lives. That makes for different outlooks and characterizations.
Plus I get to show the Mackenzies making their way through their lives and bringing new Mackenzies into the world!
Family has always been important to the series. Was this something you tried to emphasize between the characters?
When I started this series, I did not think of it as a string of loosely related romances. I thought of it as a continuing family saga, with every piece of it fitting into every other piece. I do this with Shifters Unbound as well.
So the characters will interact with each other in every book, whether it’s their romance or not. The relationship between the Mackenzie brothers, which is not all hearts and rainbows(!), is an ongoing development. Even though Hart and Fellows both got their stories, there’s still some tension there, which will be worked out as we go. Ian still deals with issues, though he’s much better, and life is easier for him now that he has Beth and his kids.
I like to think of all these people as going on with their lives, growing and getting happier, not stopping when we close the books.
What’s the trickiest thing about writing Historical Romance?
Not putting in too many modern-isms! I try to look up words as I go, to see when they were first in use. It’s surprising, actually, how many of what we think are modern terms were in use in the nineteenth century (even the eighteenth century). Other than that, I’m very comfortable writing historicals. I grew up reading historical novels, both YA and adult, and it felt natural to me to write them. I couldn’t contemplate writing anything contemporary for the longest time—the past is a much more interesting place!
Have you had to do a lot of research for your historicals?
Goodness yes. I’ve researched not only clothing, houses, and transportation but: Scottish history; Old Bailey trial procedure; whiskey making, horse racing, photography in the 1800s (small pocket cameras were available by the 1880s); Victorian BDSM; 1800s insane asylums (and how people were committed to them); early psychology/psychiatry; Asperger’s Syndrome; art forgery; oil painting techniques and supplies in the nineteenth century (I learned how to oil paint, so I could understand composition and how to mix colors); late nineteenth century firearms; Queen Victoria and her ladies in waiting; history of the Punjab and the British presence in India; Sikhism; Punjabi cuisine (seriously enjoyed that research!) early ballooning; fake mediums; history of the kilt; the layouts of London, Paris, Monaco, Marseilles in the nineteenth century; the geography of the Scottish Highlands; and much, much more. 🙂
Which one of your heroes would from the Highland Pleasure series would you…
Sneak a kiss on the terrace with
Mac Mackenzie! Or Daniel when he’s grown up
Have a scandalous but short lived affair with
Hart or Cameron, or Steven or Elliot McBride (I’m not picky)
Elliot, Ian, Sinclair, or Lloyd Fellows (again, not picky)
How did you find the addition of young children to the story? Did this make you change the way you approached the romance in the story?
Kids add an element of surprise and fun, but I feel they need to be important to the story to be included. They can’t just stand around and be adorable. Fatherhood adds a facet to a man’s character, which is a great thing to explore, not only in Sinclair in the current book, but in all the Mackenzie men. Bertie in Rules for a Proper Governess loves the kids and has a good rapport with them—both she and the children are kind of outsiders in Sinclair’s world. Because the Mackenzies are married and busy having children, kids occur in all the stories now. They add yet another layer to the family saga.
What can we expect in the future for Jennifer Ashley?
Many things! I went through my writing schedule for the rest of 2014 and through 2015 (a huge spreadsheet). I am continuing to publish through Berkley and also on my own. I am writing: A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (an Ian and Beth story, though all the Mackenzies/McBrides will be there); The Stolen Mackenzie Bride (I’m going back to 1746 and telling the story of Malcom Mackenzie when he was a young man and stole himself an English bride). Those will be out in Fall 2015.
Before that, in Spring 2015, will be more Shifters Unbound, with Mate Bond, introducing a new Shiftertown and some new Shifters (but with plenty of interaction with the Austin and Las Vegas towns).
Plus I’m writing a couple Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries; another Stormwalker book; and one or two other things!
Readers can check my website http://www.jenniferashley.com for everything coming up for Jennifer Ashley and my pseudonym Allyson James; and http://www.gardnermysteries.com for my Regency mystery series. Book 9 of the mysteries is out October 20, 2014; and book 10 follows in 2015. I’m very busy!!
To Kiss A Thief…
Scottish barrister Sinclair McBride can face the most sinister criminals in London – but the widower’s two unruly children are a different matter.Little Caitlin and Andrew go through a governess a week, sending the ladies fleeing in tears.
Roberta “Bertie” Frasier enters Sinclair’s life by stealing his watch – and then stealing a kiss. Intrigued by the handsome highlander, Bertie winds up saving his children from a dangerous situation and returns them to their father. Impressed with how they listen to her, Sinclair asks the lively beauty to be their governess, never guessing that the unconventional lady will teach him a lesson or two in love.
|Book 1||Book 2||Book 3||Book 4|
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
The Duke’s Perfect Wife: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
The Seduction of Elliot McBride: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel MacKenzie: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
Scandal and the Duchess: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
Rules for a Proper Governess: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads | Our Review
Ms. Ashley is giving away a copy of Rules for a Proper Governess (in print or e-, winner’s choice). Or if the winner already has it, they can pick anything from her backlist (they can browse http://www.jenniferashley.com)
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