Ella: Please join me in welcoming Victorian author Máire Claremont. (Applause). Is here to discuss writing Victorian and is giving away a copy of her debut novel, The Dark Lady to one lucky commenter. To be eligible all you have to do is include your email address.
Máire: Thank you for inviting me, my darling Ella!
Ella: You mean begging you. Anyway, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Máire: Well, I have always liked a good beg. As to me? Oh my. I am a gypsy soul having lived all over the United States, Dublin, Ireland, London and Western Scotland. I’m happiest travelling, researching, and visiting the places I adore writing about!
Ella: What drew you to write historicals and Victorian in particular?
Máire: I first discovered historicals accidentally. My mother bought me a Johanna Lindsay’s Mallory Christmas novel for a Christmas stocking stuffer. I don’t think she’d realized what she’d bought as she didn’t read and vaguely disapproved of romance. I fell in love and read all Lindsay’s books in a month and then had the good fortune to discover Julia Quinn. I immediately decided I had to write romance. I was seventeen. When I first read Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows, I fell for the Victorian period and knew I had to explore it. Ironically, my mother, who had that vague disapproval became my biggest fan.
Ella: You’re here today to promote your debut novel, The Dark Lady, but first tell us how it feels to finally be published?
Máire: It is absolutely SURREAL. Sometimes I can barely believe it is real. But it is SO exciting. When I first decided to write I had a very romantic view of it, having no idea how hard it was to become published. But I’ve never regretted writing. I adore it.
Ella: All historicals require a great deal of research. Was there anything particular that struck you?
Máire: Oh, absolutely. What really struck me was how harsh a time women and children had in the Victorian period. They had very little agency and no recourse. Men held all the power and the poor women were totally controlled in England by society’s strict rules. In Victorian times, this largely came from the rise of the middle class and the only way the middle class could gain reputation was to be more honorable than those with titles. This led to a time of incredible morality while all the while, underneath, horrible things were happening. Also, I was amazed by how accessible opium was. It was so easy to get. It was even given to children.
Ella: Thank you so much for coming on today. It’s been a pleasure.
Máire: Thank you so much for having me! And I hope you all go on Eva’s journey from darkness to a fabulous happily ever after with her hero, Ian. I adore them both!
Ella: Now what you’ve all been waiting for the blurb and an excerpt of The Dark Lady.
Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and ” first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jade soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse…. Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked….
2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his frst wife up in his attic. Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.