Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?
The setting came first. Anglesey is a picturesque island off North Wales with ancient Neolithic tombs and mysterious stone circles, their meanings lost to unrecorded history. I stood on a cliff jutting out into the sea, mesmerized by the fluffy white clouds reflecting off sun-dappled waves as far as I could see. (The photo I took that day became the background of the Lord Shallow cover.) That seascape resonated for me. It’s like staring out into infinity, where time goes on forever and love transcends all. I wanted to write a book that captured that.
Lord Shallow is set in 1816, but my heroine grew up surrounded by those relics, and she possesses a deep and abiding connection to her culture and history.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
To all of London, Sebastian Traherne is a pretentious fop who prizes his tailor over his dukedom. In reality, he’s an obsessively rational fellow protecting a secret marriage—his. That may be a dealbreaker for some romance fans, but it’s key to Sebastian’s character. He’s complicated—but honorable—which makes a romance between him and my heroine, Gwynna, seemingly impossible.
Descended from Wales’ most legendary war hero, Gwynna arrives at Sebastian’s crumbling castle one gloomy night, determined to ferret out the secret of her paternity. She has long been marginalized by the man who raised her. As she and Sebastian find their way to one another, she finds her voice and claims her legacy—and in the process challenges every principle he holds dear.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Take chances. Be brave in your writing, and honest above all. Genuine emotion must come through on the page, and it can’t be faked. What I probably wouldn’t tell my younger self is how much work it is to find a character’s emotional truth. There are no shortcuts.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
I often combine humor and angst. Comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin—laughter can turn dark, and vice versa. When my characters grow too serious, I give them something light. And if, in lighter moments, they forget the stakes, I twist the knife.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
Many like the emotional depth of my stories and the humor. But I take those comments with a grain of salt, since people are more likely to post praise than criticism.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
How about this: “I felt like I was plodding through thick, wet mud.” That, from one reader, made me laugh because honestly, it was a good metaphor! I don’t take criticism too seriously because if someone doesn’t like my work, it just means we’re not a good fit. They need to move on, and all I can do is write the book of my heart.
What has been your best accomplishment?
My kids, no question. But I won’t take credit for that. It’s their doing.
Do you Google yourself?
Goodness, no! That way lies disaster.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Oh, three or four. Will I get back to them? Not sure. There must have been a reason why I decided not to finish them. Perhaps they will speak to me at a place down the road.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
That I’m constantly evolving as a writer. And thanks for staying with me!