Wednesday, February 10, 2021

A Detestable Name Guest Post and Giveaway


A Detestable Name
by Arabella Brown
Genre: Chaste Regency Romance

Pitchforked into the title by his brother’s death, the new Lord Newsam arrives at the grim family home in Yorkshire to face daunting challenges. His peevish, self-absorbed mother despises him. The servants are insubordinate. He hardly knows his sisters, for whom he’s expected to find husbands. The estate is ill-run and unprofitable, and the bailiff obstructive. And in the midst of all this, he must find a wife for himself – but the only woman he wants won’t have him. 
To widowed, impoverished Mary Thorpe, the very name of Newsam is detestable: his brother drove her husband to suicide and made her a social outcast. But Lord Newsam insists on rescuing her from penury. The shocking realisation that she is falling in love with him in spite of herself makes her situation even more complicated. How can she let him ruin his own family’s reputation by marrying her? There seems to be no solution – until every objection is swept away by a ball nobody wants to attend and a startling discovery on their return.

Guest Post

Premum non nocere: first of all, do no harm. It’s the oath every doctor takes.

I think authors of historicals ought to take one, too: first of all, don’t mislead.

The ability to manipulate words is dangerous. When it comes to setting stories in different eras, it ought to be controlled because often the reader knows much less than the author about the period. Her impressions come from the book in her hand. I research meticulously for my historicals because I feel I have that responsibility and because I don’t want to let my readers down.

When “A Detestable Name” first appeared, a very kind lady – an editor with thorough knowledge of the Regency era – contacted me to say she liked the writing but that she didn’t feel she could recommend the book without some alterations.

Well, I panicked. I posted a warning telling everybody not to buy the book until  the revised version was ready in a couple of weeks – as soon as I knew what mistakes this lady had found.

I didn’t have to hold my breath long. She was quick, but had found only two! Everything else, it turned out, boiled down to her wish to see a lot more detail, so much that if I had agreed, I felt it would not only have slowed down the action, it would have made the book the size of War and Peace.

An Important Book wasn’t really in my sights. I’m afraid I let down this lovely lady – all her comments were for my own good, remember, and though she normally charges, she gave me her advice for free! – and it was an impressive compliment that she was so willing to take the time to suggest improvements – but I was aiming for a pleasant, entertaining read, something to curl up with on a long winter evening. So all I did was correct the two errors.

(Oh, all right. Before you start screaming, I’ll tell you what the two mistakes were. One was that I forgot that a young lady travelling needed to take her maid along – and then I had to get her home again, which meant moving a private conversation to a different setting. The other – and my wonderful lady picked it up because she knows costuming – was not allowing enough time to sew an elaborate dress. Nothing to sink the book – but I’d have traduced my principles if I hadn’t dealt with them, wouldn’t I?)

Although she now lives in the U.K., Arabella Brown grew up in a small U.S. town. She spent most of her youth in the local Carnegie Public Library (thank you, Mr. Carnegie!), where she learned that intensive reading does more to broaden your horizons than school does. She still reads voraciously and her house is lined with thousands of books. Despite her emphasis on meticulous research, it’s the plot and the characters she particularly loves to create. She enjoys Jane Austen’s and Georgette Heyer’s novels and wishes there were more of them.
Under another name, Ms Brown has published a number of novels set in periods ranging from the 12th century to the 1960’s. This is her first Regency.

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