Posts Tagged ‘terri nixon’

Terri Nixon & Samie Sands choose their ultimate Valentine’s Day book boyfriend

Day 4 of our quest for the ultimate Valentine’s Day book boyfriend! Today historical romance author Terri Nixon and book blogger Sammie from The Lockdown choose theirs. Can you think of someone better? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook

Terri:

Thanks to Anna for inviting me to talk about my book-boyfriend. So many books, so many men… so little resistance! Being a long-time Diana Gabaldon fan, it’s a given that Jamie Fraser, from the Outlander series, will rank very high on my list. However, for me it all took a bit of a swerve a few books in, and now it’s all about Roger Mac. I’ve always been a sucker for green eyes and dark hair, and, let’s face it, Roger is basically a green-eyed, dark-haired, Jamie! I don’t think he’s been cast in the TV series yet, but in my head he very definitely has a Henry Cavill look about him. Throw in a beautiful singing voice, a guitar and a bodhran, and it’s a big dollop of “yes please!” from this end!

Samie:

I would pick Kellan Kyle from the Thoughtless series for my book boyfriend. Not only is he a sexy, mysterious musician, he’s a romantic, caring soul who gives absolutely everything when he falls in love. What more could a girl want?!

A delightful prequel to Terri Nixon’s Maid of Oaklands Manor

  Today, Terri Nixon shares with us a very special and exclusive, never before seen prequel ,to Maid of Oaklands Manor.

 

March 1912.                                     

‘Getting off at Breckenhall?’ the woman asked me, her voice cutting easily through the rising din of excitable children. The train carriage was packed, with the youngsters climbing all over each other and their luggage, and this woman clearly had no intention of taming their behaviour. Why would she, when she was able to ignore them with such practiced ease?

I nodded. It probably looked rude, but my grainy eyes just wanted to close, and open again to find myself back home in Plymouth. Instead all I could see were bobbing heads, and the rapidly flashing tops of trees through the window. It was starting to make me feel sick.

‘Going into service?’ the woman persisted.

I nodded again, and managed, ‘Oaklands.’

Immediately the woman’s mouth tightened. ‘Hmm. Them up at the manor … well, they’re ones to watch, if you ask me.’

I hadn’t intended to do any such thing, but now she had my reluctant attention. Ma had worked at Oaklands for years, and been very happy doing so; she’d never once suggested the Creswells were anything but a normal, if extraordinarily wealthy, family. Cheshire royalty.

‘What do you mean, ones to watch?’ I could have kicked myself, but it was too late to take the question back now.

The woman sniffed, and shifted her position in her seat so that her back was turned to the only other adult in the carriage. I leaned forward, forgetting my queasiness and tiredness for a moment, and her eyes narrowed. ‘Lord Henry Creswell. Him that died in Africa?’

‘Yes?’

The woman paused with her mouth slightly open, then shook her head. ‘No. It’s not for me to say.’

‘I’m sure you’re going to, nevertheless.’ The words had popped out before I had chance to bite them back, and I saw her plump face darken. She abruptly remembered she had the care of six children, who were currently entertaining themselves by pinching one another to see who could elicit the loudest shout, and she turned to admonish them. They paid as much attention to her as she had so far been doing to them, and I looked away, suppressing a smile.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said after a moment, ‘I’m just a bit tired. It’s been a long journey.’

The woman thawed slightly, and nodded. She abandoned her charges to their own devices once more, and settled back in her own seat.  ‘I understand, pet. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be right as rain. Oh, but watch out for their kitchen maid, Ruth. She’s no better than she ought to be.’

‘Thank you, I’ll remember that.’ It seemed the right thing to say.

‘What’s your job to be? Lady’s maid?’

I shook my head. ‘Nothing so grand, I’m afraid. I’m replacing a girl called Mercy, as scullery maid.’

‘Well, she’s always had her nose in the air when it should be in the grate,’ the woman opined. ‘Scullery maid was never good enough for her.’

‘So, that’s the Creswells, the kitchen maid and the scullery maid,’ I mused. ‘Is there anyone there I might like, do you think?’

The woman eyed me sharply, and didn’t answer. This time I made no apology, although I did feel a glimmer of guilt for the way I’d spoken. My tiredness returned with a crash. All I wanted was to get off the train, and leave this woman and her squabbling brood; she was clearly nothing more than the local gossip, and knew far less than she pretended to.

The train rattled into Breckenhall station and I took my leave with a polite smile –  which wasn’t returned – and a huge sense of relief, as I stepped onto the platform and the noise faded into the background. But as I turned my feet towards the road leading out of town, and towards Oaklands Manor, I saw that sudden tightening of the woman’s face again, and heard her words of warning, and I wondered …

Terri Nixon’s Maid of Oaklands Manor is available from Piatkus now!

 

 

Maid of Oaklands Manor celebrates its one year anniversary!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the publication of Maid of Oaklands Manor by Terri Nixon, the Piatkus Entice competition winner for 2012, we are delighted to feature a week of some lovely contributions by this very special author.

Here, Terri Nixon takes us on her journey to publication . .  .

Getting to know “Just Lizzy.”

Lizzy Parker:  “… a heroine to fall in love with.”  (Saskia Sarginson.)

When I began writing Maid of Oaklands Manor (winner in the Historical category of the Piatkus Entice Romantic Fiction award, 2012) I had nothing more in mind than finally fictionalising some of the things my late maternal grandmother had told me about her time in domestic service. I’d never attempted any kind of historical work before, but I was looking forward to it, so I wrote copious notes, talked to my mother, got all prepared, and then settled down to write a kind of memoir on Grandma’s behalf.

Then Lizzy arrived. Out of nowhere, she landed on the page – in the first person, something I had never done before outside the short story format – and all I could do was watch with a kind of dazed bewilderment as she took complete charge. To be fair, she behaved herself quite nicely at the start; she got on with her work, learned a lot, made the usual mix of friends and ones-to-watch that any one of us makes when we start a new job, experienced a life that was alternately fulfilling and frustrating … and then she met Jack Carlisle.

Oh dear.  Jack.

Where do we start with him? Friendly?  Yes.  Intelligent? Undoubtedly.  Attractive? Lizzy certainly thought so, and she wasn’t the only one.  The subject of speculation below-stairs, and conflict above; an instant connection that crossed first social boundaries, and then legal ones;  an undercurrent of mystery. But that connection was undeniable, and it was all just a little bit thrilling, from the safe haven of Lizzy’s happy life and new, fast-emerging emotions.

Then, to Lizzy’s horror, Jack’s actions propelled her into a shocking new existence, and my grandmother’s gentle upstairs/downstairs story took a flying leap out of the window.

I couldn’t have loved it more!  The story picked up its pace, evolved into something entirely different, but when it came to editing I left the original, gentle opening chapters – a risky choice, but people seem to like it, and enjoy the  surprise all the more when things take that dark turn.

Thanks to Piatkus Entice, this story was published in July 2013, and has set my feet firmly on the road on which I intend to stay. And, despite my eye-rolling, and determination to write the story I’d originally planned, I adored getting to know Lizzy – so much so that she features in the sequel too, although it’s not part of her own post-Oaklands story. Seems she’s one of those girls who quietly creeps into your consciousness, and doesn’t make too much of a fuss – until she has to.

***

Maid of Oaklands Manor  by Terri Nixon was shortlisted in the 2013 Festival of Romance awards, in the Best Historical Read category.

A Rose in Flanders Fields is due out on July 7 2014.

www.terri-nixon.co.uk

‘I almost missed it . . .’ by Entice author Terri Nixon

Wednesday 14th November 2012.  I almost missed it . . .

Obviously not the entire day (which would have been extremely careless even by my standards!) but the most important part of it. I was at work, and in a quiet minute I was tidying up my e-mails and decided it was time to empty my junk mail folder. I idly skimmed the mails, block-selecting as I went, and just as my mouse hovered over the ‘delete’ button my eye was caught by a message from Kate Allan: “please contact me urgently regarding the Piatkus Entice Writing Contest.”

That’s how it all started. From being told I had won a publishing contract with Saturday’s Child, to the day the book (re-named Maid of Oaklands Manor) was released, barely a day went by when something exciting wasn’t happening; from written interviews to choosing the cover, from proof-reading to re-writing and adding entire scenes. Every e-mail that dropped into my inbox from Piatkus gave me an undeniable little thrill regardless of its significance. Still does.

The support and enthusiasm of the editing team was infectious from the outset, and helped me get past my own rather stunned sense of unreality to the point where I could be really proud of my achievement. Having been in contact with Kate in her capacity as Festival of Romance organiser, I queried her literary agency (Kate Nash) with the book and have since signed with her as my agent. Under the gentle encouragement of Caroline Kirkpatrick I relaxed, and let myself explore my main characters, and as I did so I discovered the passion in them, and several layers of more complicated emotion that have made the book both stronger and deeper. And longer! I was able to re-instate several scenes I had left out in the attempt to keep the word count at 100,000, taking it back up to around 113,000. I’ve always been good at keeping to deadlines, which has turned out to be a useful skill!

Throughout the proof-reading and copy-editing process I was given excellent advice and guidance, and I very quickly learned that, while I might initially have baulked at changing certain elements, a moment’s thought and a “just try it and see” attitude revealed that the publishing house really does know what it’s talking about. At the same time, in matters such as the artwork, the team at Piatkus were very open to my own ideas and together we worked towards the perfect cover.

The marketing aspect is something I’m unfamiliar with, but I’m learning fast! I have found people are not only willing to review the book, and to post on their blogs about it, but actually eager to do so. I have re-discovered my Twitter obsession, set up a separate Facebook account for my author profile, and re-built my website. I’ve even learned to smile politely every time a non-writer laughingly asks if I want to be the next J K Rowling. And I mean EVERY time.

That’s quite a feat.