It’s only two days until the world’s first all-singing, all-dancing, all-digital Romance Festival!! We’re delighted to be taking part and if you love to read or write romance, this is an event not to be missed.
How will it work? Saturday 7th of June will be the Professional development day, with tips from industry professionals, Google hangouts with global bestselling indie authors, and a chance to get your manuscripts read by expert editors. Sunday 8th June is all about the readers! That’s the day when your favourite authors will be available for one-off Q&A sessions, and you’ll hear behind-the-scenes info from some of the biggest names in romance.
We have a great selection of Piatkus authors involved!
When I’m working on a novel there are some characters who take on a life of their own and refuse to go back in the bookcase when I’ve finished the story. Arabella Leyton, the wicked stepmother in The Apothecary’s Daughter, is one of them. She insisted on playing an important part in The Painter’s Apprentice and even poked her nose into a scene in The Spice Merchant’s Wife!
Arabella is a character readers love to hate and they often ask me what happened to her after her husband died of the plague in The Apothecary’s Daughter. So I decided it would be fun to write about her adventures after she escaped over the rooftops from the quarantined apothecary shop with her five children in tow.
Although Arabella is a selfish and ruthless social climber I wanted to show that there are two sides to every story. Life could be very hard for women in the seventeenth century. There were few choices: you married and went in by the front door of the house or you became a servant and went in by the back door. Without marriage even women from higher up the social scale often had little choice other than to live on the charity of their relatives.
In such circumstances, who can blame Arabella for using her beauty to manipulate men to fall in love with her, since this is her only weapon in a very uncertain world? Her behaviour at times is reprehensible but I confess to a secret admiration for her because she is brave and resourceful and says things and behaves in ways that I never could. Sometimes I wonder if she is a reflection of my dark side!
The Milliner’s Daughter is the story of how Arabella sets out to find a new husband to provide a better future for herself and her children. When she meets wealthy but dull Mr Goddard, she dares to believe that her worries are over. But what does she do when her charismatic childhood sweetheart arrives on her doorstep to sweep her off her feet?