I’m so pleased to welcome debut Regency author Erica Monroe to the blog! Erica is giving away one digital copy of her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, to someone who leaves a comment telling her she or he wants the book
Thank you so much to Ella for letting me appear on her blog today! It’s an honor, as Ella was particularly encouraging to me through the process of writing my debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation.
There are certain elements in writing that I love as a writer and a reader. One is repetition—not particularly in repeated ideas, but in repeated elements. My classical literature background shows in my love for symbols. I still remember a year after reading Meredith Duran’s Bound to You this yellow handkerchief in a window that Lydia sees, and how it’s this bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape. When I started to write A Dangerous Invitation, I knew that I wanted repetition through objects. Certain things would become really important to my hero and heroine, because they’d mean so much more to them sentimentally.
My heroine, Kate Morgan, has been cast away from her former life as a rich merchant’s daughter. After the death of her father, the bankruptcy of his shipping company was revealed—leaving Kate stranded in London and penniless. She becomes a fence for stolen goods, using her knowledge of antiques from years cataloguing her father’s collections. Kate becomes something entirely different than what she was as a debutante—now she can bar brawl with the best of them, and she takes a lot of pride in being able to take care of herself in the wild, wicked world of the rookeries. When Kate escaped from her townhouse, she carried with her a portrait of her father, a few dresses, what ready money she could stuff into her pockets, her father’s greatcoat, and his pistol.
That flintlock pistol, made by Forsyth, becomes the most important thing Kate owns. Scottish flintlock maker James Alexander Forsyth invented a rudimentary percussion system that moved the flintlock into the 19th century. I looked at a lot of flintlock pictures to try and find one that would match the exact gun design I wanted, but none really did, so Kate’s gun is an amalgamation of about seven different flintlock decorating styles. Kate is barely able to afford the rent on her one-room, closet-sized deep in the heart of Ratcliffe, and she has very things to her name. When everything else seems to be going badly, she looks at the flintlock and remembers her father teaching her how to shoot and she feels safe. I based the flintlock on an 1820’s model, based in wood with roses inlaid. It is a single-barreled gun, and because it’s about 10 years old, it isn’t the most up to date but it holds that real value to Kate.
This is how I picture the wood would look like on Kate’s pistol.
Not a Forsyth model, this is actually from an 18th century hunting rifle.
Image credit: Wikipedia Commons
1826 greatcoat that belonged to Kate’s father, Richard Morgan
Image copyright: Wikipedia Commons
Secondly, the repeated element I’ve got in A Dangerous Invitation is the greatcoat Kate wears that belonged to her father. It’s gigantic and black, made for a man much larger and taller than she is. Kate is tall for a woman, but she’s very willowy. To Kate, this coat is another reminder of where she came from—one of the few reminders she has left. When my hero Daniel O’Reilly first sees her with that coat on, he’s struck by how different she looks than the polished society girl he once knew. The buttons of the coat bear the logo of the shipping company that he worked for, and her father owned. At times, he thinks of stripping the coat from her, and freeing them both of the trappings of the past.
Prior to the novel’s start, Daniel gives Kate a Claddagh ring. But while jewelers in Galway made the rings with heart, crown, and hands that we know so well, they didn’t start calling it a Claddagh ring until closer toward the 20th century. In my 1830’s novel, I describe the ring’s shape and call it the O’Reilly ring, because it’s a family heirloom. Passed down through three generations to the first born son’s intended, the ring represents to Kate everything she should have had with Daniel. They didn’t have engagement rings during the late regency, so when Daniel gives it to her, it’s as a promise of his love. He wants her to have something she can look at and think of him, and know that she’s special. This ring places a course throughout the novel.
Gold Claddagh ring like what I describe
Image copyright: Wikipedia
All of these things serve to remind Daniel and Kate of the way things were in the past. As this is a second chance romance, I liked those little flashes that allow them to return to their memories. Eventually, they must determine how much they really value these little objects over the new life they could build together.
Do you have any particular favorite objects you keep for sentimental reasons?
One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of three years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.
Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.
As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.
Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance. Her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, Book 1 of the Rookery Rogues series, released in December 2013. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter. Erica can also be found blogging every other Saturday at Teatime Romance. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.
Paperback edition coming later in the month.