Today I have the lovely Anne Stenhouse talking about her novel:
Anne Stenhouse writes Regency era historical romance which is dialogue rich and humorous. She spent many years writing drama and loves to carry the skills learned from theatre work into her novels. Married to her own hero and dancing partner for over thirty years, Anne has acquired an interest in old buildings and opera. From the buildings, she crafted her hero, Charles Lindsay. He’s based on the gentlemen architects whose skills built Edinburgh’s New Town and many wonderful country houses still extant. From her own life-long interest in dance, she created young ladies like her heroine, Bella Wormsley. From the opera, she understands that no plot is ever too far-fetched.
Anne lives in Edinburgh but travels widely. Recent forays have included Vietnam and Cambodia where the architecture in both is jaw-droppingly fantastic.
Anne continues to live in Edinburgh and enjoys being able to walk out to the streets which her heroine would have trodden.
(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?
Or who? I just loved historical romance as a teenager and read piles of it. I discovered Georgette Heyer as a young adult and dived in head-first. Wonderful stories full of glamour and sparkling wit which are as readable today as they ever were.
(2)Alpha or beta hero –profession/title/rank?– brief description!
Charles Lindsay is an architect, but also a Scottish laird. Not a person of the top ranks like the Royal dukes or even the aristocrats, but a person of family and clan responsibility. Does that make him beta? I thought he was pretty attractive: good looking, intelligent, touch of arrogance in need of taming…
(3) Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!
Bella Wormsley, Lady Isabella, is the daughter of an earl and the granddaughter of a duke. She’s top drawer, but she’s half Scottish and so like Charles has a strong sense of the value of others. Her hair, beautifully realised by Charlie Volnek’s cover, is that mass of red corkscrew curls seen around in Scottish society. She’s a lady of huge energy, talented as an artist and headstrong. A clash is inevitable.
(4) Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?
Bella’s aunt and uncle, Hatty and Mack Menzies and her cousins form a colourful backdrop when they give Bella shelter from scandal. There is also a villain, Graham Direlton, whose ambition drives a lot of the plot.
(5) Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.
Bella’s Betrothal opens in an inn bedroom in Dalkeith and moves to Edinburgh, 1826.
(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?
I enjoy thinking myself back into the restrictions and social norms and niceties of that period. I try to use the differences to make a colourful canvas. Many of them are limiting, but many of them allow such interesting What ifs? I enjoy that moment in time where English, the language, was modernising. One gets to Jane Austen and thinks, “I understand this.” I am horrified by the social rules and use them to infuse reality as background. I think it’s really important to remind women in particular how recently we did not vote as of right, or own property, or go against the family wishes for fear of ending in Bedlam.
(7) Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?
I dislike my villains because I have crafted them from personality traits I dislike. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time with some of the lesser characters because they’re not the positive people in the leading roles.
(8) Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?
I do avoid those things. The novels have a lot of sensuality, I hope, but I don’t go in for graphic description or extended bedroom romps. I like to write by the tenet that “the pictures are better on the radio”. I think readers are intelligent and enjoy the fantasies they can weave from the hints you drop in your words. I abhor violence. Of course there is violence around wherever people live together, but I don’t regard it as entertainment. So, murders may be committed, but the details are sparse. Any other fearties like me are quite safe with my prose, I think.
(9) How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?
Bella’s Betrothal is Regency style Scottish historical romance with touches of intrigue and much laughter.
Back cover blurb:
BELLA’S BETROTHAL by Anne Stenhouse, published MuseItUp, Canada.
While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.
Bella settles into the household of her Aunt HattyMenzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.
Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.
Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?
Anne blogs at Novels Now which is here: Anne