Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Post w/ Jane Lark-- historical characters...

Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee .He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

Can love redeem a life of sin?

Picking characters out of history

I love researching history just as much as I love writing stories in a historical setting, but the thing which captures me most is memoirs and letters. Don’t get me wrong as a historical romance writer you do need to read text books too, but what really drops my imagination into the era is reading the words written by the people who lived then.

So when I discovered the memoirs of a real Regency courtesan, my imagination ran wild, and my debut novel Illicit Love came into life.

Harriette Wilson was notorious, she’d had affairs with the Prince Regent, the Duke of Wellington, and Hart, The Duke of Devonshire, the deaf son of Georgiana, the Duchess whose story was recently told in the Keira Knightley film. But once Harriette had lost her looks and popularity, she needed a new income, so she published her memoirs in 1825, in a series of kiss and tell stories. Although in fact she published very little of the truth, as she blackmailed all her former conquests to maintain her silence; but despite this crowds gathered on the publication date to obtain a copy.

But there was one true story in her memoirs which really captured my romance writer’s soul. I love a love story, and during her years as a courtesan there was one man Harriette fell head over heels for, Lord Ponsonby; the brother of the equally infamous Lady Caroline Lamb, who had a very volatile and public affair with Lord Byron, the poet.

Harriette’s words change when she speaks of Lord Ponsonby and you can tell he mellowed her completely, and she felt all the things anyone might today when they fall in love. She speaks of not being able to sleep, and her stomach feeling queasy; of going to a park and walking about for hours simply with the slight hope of seeing him. They have an affair for about three years, but when she met him Lord Ponsonby was already married, and after three years his wife insists he gives his mistress up. When their affair ends, Harriette, the woman known for a cold and calculating heart, waits outside his house night after night, in the hope she might catch sight of him.

Harriette’s love story ended sadly, but it gave me the idea for a courtesan to meet a man and fall in love, and for him to fall just has hard as Lord Ponsonby had for Harriette, but I wanted to give her the happy ending Harriette must have craved.
                                ~Jane Lark

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional love stories. She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write a book.  Now Jane is writing both Regency and New Adult novels and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development, and uses her knowledge of people to bring her characters to life. ‘Basically I love history and I’m a sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction, and my understanding of people helps me write the really intense relationships I enjoy developing. I like writing characters who will capture your attention from the moment you open my book.’

Have you read Jane Lark?
What did you think?
Feel free to leave her questions or comments!

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