Monday, 24 August 2009

Enid Blyton meets the Spanish Aristocrat

The Mystery of the Disappearing Author Copies has finally been solved, thanks to lovely medical romance writer Lynne Marshall, the wonders of email (and lashings of ginger beer.) Lynne got in touch at the weekend to say that a slightly bashed up boxful of copies of Spanish Aristocrat Forced Bride had been delivered to her house in California. (California, USA…Cheshire, UK…. I suppose I can just about see a certain semantic similarity, though looking out of my window into the dripping green English excuse for a summer it’s obvious that’s as far as it goes.)

Anyway, I'm hugely grateful to Lynne for solving the mystery. Now we just have to work out how to get them from there to here, but while we wrestle with that issue I’m going to get on with saying a little bit about the book and come up with a question or two so I can give away some copies when I finally get my hands on them. Here in the UK the new series of The Tudors began on Friday and so lovely Henry Cavill (face of Tristan) has been on my TV screen and my mind a lot of late. Let’s remind ourselves what he looks like, shall we?

Oh yummy. (Did I mention that I actually came face to face with him last summer when I went to visit Abby Green in Dublin? Oh I did?? Only 252 times???) In writing and in childbirth, the distance of time has a funny way of erasing the pain so that when you look back you only remember the excitement. However a quick glance back into the archive here (and here) shows that in this case my mind isn’t deceiving me. I loved Tristan and I actually, honestly, genuinely loved writing this book.

I think I’ve already mentioned somewhere that the idea for Tristan and Lily's story came to me while I was putting on mascara. It was during the period of stress-related insanity we now fondly call the writing of Taken for Revenge, Bedded for Pleasure, and I could see instantly that the conflict in this new story would be so simple and straightforward that I almost wept with relief. Given the mascara situation would have been very foolish indeed, so I reached for a pen and wrote the synopsis on the back of an envelope, wondering as I did so whether it might just be a teeny weeny bit depressing, even by my standards.

However, I’m nothing if not shallow and the lure of a handsome playboy tortured by a difficult past was too strong to resist. Tristan Losada Montalvo de Romero is staggeringly wealthy, fearsomely intelligent and breath-catchingly gorgeous, but happy he certainly isn’t—a fact which he attempts to blot out in the classic, time-honoured alpha-male way—ie by sleeping with as many beautiful women as humanly possible. When he meets Lily Alexander at a party at his best friend Tom Montague’s ancestral home he is interested only in temporarily blotting out the nightmarish reality of his complicated life and adding her to his list of one-night conquests.

Lily has reached a crossroads in a life that feels empty and purposeless. Along with her best friend Scarlet she was spotted by a modeling scout in her home town of Brighton at the age of 17 and from there drifted into a career she never actively sought, in which she has always felt ill at ease. Secretly she longs for a life that is far removed from the sterile, shallow world she finds herself in. She wants the warmth and security she lacked as a child... she wants marriage and motherhood; feelings which are intensified by Scarlet's blossoming relationship with Tom Montague.

And so it is that, a few weeks after her magical night with Tristan, the news that she's pregnant doesn't feel like a disaster. A shock, definitely, but also a source of secret, surprising joy. It's what she's always wanted, so she can’t think of it as being a mistake. However, telling Tristan about it is a whole different matter. That's the bit where it all starts to go a bit off road.

I incorporated into Lily all my own youthful and very politically incorrect yearnings to get married and have babies. When I was a teenager the phrase ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’ failed to stir ambitions of global travel and corporate success in my chest, but conjured images of a house with a fireplace and a big old brass bed, shelves full of books and a pram beneath the apple tree. (Oddly enough, a towering pile of ironing and liberal quantities of Rice Krispies scattered across the floor were absent from this vision.) I suppose Lily’s story is a slightly cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for, but I like to think that it also proves that if you love wholly and selflessly; if you have faith and keep on believing, you can find happiness in one form or another. Lily almost loses everything, but she hangs on to her dream… and in doing so discovers that it wasn’t quite what she thought it was.
Anyway, back in reality we're now in the final week of the summer holidays (news which came as a shock to me when He broke it to me at the weekend. I was firmly of the impression that we had another week...) so chaos reigns around here and I must go and sort it out before it becomes a job for the professionals. Back soon with more background info on the book. Tomorrow-- the setting and locations.


Anonymous said...

mmmm, dreamy dreamy, I LOVED this book. Can't wait for everyone else to read it too. Have made sure all copies are front and forward in Easons in Dublin. And I do recall that Henry Cavill seemed to do a bit of a double take when he saw you in Dublin too...definitely a little spark there. Me? Didn't even register.
x Abby

Sharon said...

Why are you logged in as "anonymous", Abby - when you've written your name at the end?!

I loved the politically-incorrect ambition of rural domesticity - those babies sleeping precariously beneath heavily laden apple boughs and cats perched on laundry baskets (no, I know you didn't say this, but that's what I could "see") and Isn't it funny how the spilt cereal, all scattered and crunchy underfoot, make the image instantly spring to life?
Very enjoyable blog.

Shazza x

India said...

A spark, you think Abby? I suspect that actually it might have been a flicker of alarm at the crazy lady with expression of naked lust on her face. But still, a moment to treasure all the same!

Sharon, Abby is always anonymous. I think it shows a reluctance to commit by giving her details to blogger. (Although you'll not find a similar hesitancy to give her phone number to strangers in bars etc...) Anyway, you're spookily spot on with the cat on the laundry basket. Did you also get a sense of the rabbit creating carnage in the vegetable patch? We haven't had a SINGLE STRAWBERRY all summer. (Shakes head in weary defeat) Nothing's ever quite as wholesome or simple as one imagines, is it?

Anonymous said...

I'm anonymous because I'm not a blogger...discrimination.
Anonymous Abby

Kate Walker said...

Read Tristan's story this weekend and loved it - I do love a tortured hero. And being able to put Mr Cavill's face to the character helped just a little - ok a lot.

The only trouble it that I can't watch The Tudors without self and the Babe Magnet collapsing into fits of giggles at the varying accents - our favoutite was the Yorkshire/Irish/Lancashire blend for one of the rebel leaders from Lincolnshire. Not to mention the rather hilly 'Lincolnshire' - and the same mountain that you can see from Powerscourt appearing in saind 'Lincolnshire' and again in 'France'

Not that this detracts from the aesthetic charms of Mr Cavill of course

And to go back to my original point -I loved Tristan.


Joanne Cleary said...

Have to say, I read the whole book yesterday on a day trip to london with my daughter. It was fabulous. Crying on the train ... not so much ;-)

lots of children and a happy family was all I wanted growing up too. Didn't quite manage the happy marriage part (!) but I have 3 children and 2 foster children but a half fulfilled dream is good too.

India said...

Think you could sign in if you wanted to Abby, but frankly there's no need. I like you being anonymous. Gives an air of mystery I think. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Kate-- (eeek, thanks for saying that about Tristan!!) I'm totally with you and the BM on the accents thing. Him indoors looked uncertainly across at me on Friday and said 'Where was this rebellion supposed to be?' And what about Henry himself?! Could it be that Holbein got it completely wrong, and he was actually a sculpted model-type with a pouty, sensual mouth, and those ulcerated sores were nothing more than heroic flesh-wounds attended by eager nurses? (Ah, I criticise, but I love it!)

Joanne, what a lovely mum taking your daughter to London for the day (guilt, guilt, guilt...) and glad you enjoyed the book. I am utterly in awe of you looking after 5 children-- you're amazing. And as for the happy marriage, there's still shedloads of time for that. You've been busy with the kids up to now, but your time will come-- you have to keep believing!! xx

Trenda Plunkett said...

India, dear, you have made me cry, and that's only after I've read a description of your characters and their story! I shall require a case of Kleenex when I read the entire thing! Any idea when the U.S. release will be?

Enjoy your final week of summer holidays!



Kate Walker said...

>>those ulcerated sores were nothing more than heroic flesh-wounds attended by eager nurses?

Well you do know, don't you that according to a famous history exam blunder Henry VIII suffered from 'a nast abbess on his ? Obviously The Tudors go with this version of History


Kate Walker said...

sorry - that was supposed to be a 'nasty abbess' but I'm sure you got the picture!


Kate Walker said...

Oh darn it! Note to self - read your post before you send -

OK - a nasty abbess on his knee. . .

Did I get it right at last??

Jane said...

I heart Henry Cavill.

India said...

I'm not sure when it's out in the US, Trenda-- I'll have to check up. (If you can nip over to California there's a box of copies hanging around going nowhere over there!!)

I knew exactly what you meant, Kate and it made me laugh out loud! Imagine the fun you could have had with that question in an exam. My A level history teacher always used to despair of what she called my 'Jean Plaidy essays', but if I'd had that kind of encouragement it would have been pure Judith Krantz. (And what a shame it was only on his knee. I was imagining the abbess in much more interesting scenarios!)

Ah Jane, you and me both, honey... (wistful sigh)

Trenda Plunkett said...

If only California weren't so far...:-)

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

India, can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Trenda, like you I hate waiting for them to arrive in North America but I guess we'll have to be patient.

Sometimes though, I can't wait so I order from the Mills and Boon site and they arrive in a timely manner.

Hugs to all my M&B gals....India, Daisy, Kate, lovely to see you all here at once! xxoo