Author Spotlight – Amy Rose Bennett
Describe yourself in one word:
Gosh, that’s a tricky question. For now, I might just say ‘romantic’!
What is your background with regard to writing?
I haven’t any formal qualifications in writing, although I will (shyly) admit I was a pretty good English student in high school, with a burning ambition to become a published author one day. During childhood and well into my adult years, I tinkered with writing; in fact, I still have a box full of old exercise books with my early attempts at creating characters, plotting and half-finished stories!
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
As I mentioned before, I’ve always wanted to be a published author, but it wasn’t until July 2012, when I took six months off from my day job as a Speech Pathologist, that I finally knuckled down and completed my first manuscript—a Jacobite Rebellion tale entitled Capturing the Master of Strathburn. I finished it in November 2012 and entered it in Romance Writers Australia’s Emerald Award for 2013. When it went into the second round—and I literally fell off my chair when I got the email—I realized that maybe I might just be able to fulfil my dream; especially when my story achieved second place in the contest that year! (Capturing the Master of Strathburn also just came second in the long novel section of the Emerald award for 2014 too!)
Tell us a little more about Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal:
Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal is a Regency Noir style novel set in Scotland. I have always loved Gothic-style historical novels such as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, so I decided to write a story that in some respects, is a back-to-front version of this well-loved classic. My heroine, Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp, is married (vs. Mr. Rochester, the married hero, in Jane Eyre). Elizabeth isn’t a real governess i.e. she only poses as one. Elizabeth’s husband Hugh possesses the dark affliction—in my story the disease is syphilis, rather than the madness that plagues Mr. Rochester’s wife. Elizabeth (aka the governess Mrs. Beth Eliott) is an excellent pianoforte player; Jane Eyre was not. Although it is not the done thing to have an adulterous heroine in a romance, as a writer, I really enjoyed the challenge of creating a sympathetic character—someone whom the reader would barrack for, despite her flaws, and would cheer her on to finding her happily-ever-after with the hero, Lord Rothsburgh. While there are certainly some dark themes within the book, there’s also a passionate romance at the heart of the story. I’m hoping that in the end, readers will agree that love should conquer all and that Elizabeth deserves a happy ending.
Fearful for her life, the central character Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp, flees to a remote part of Scotland away from her husband and begins a new life as a widowed governess unexpectedly garnering the attention another man, Marquess of Rothsburgh, upon her arrival. What character trait is going to endear Elizabeth to readers?
I think her good heart. Despite the subterfuge she resorts to, to keep herself safe from her husband, I’m hoping readers will see she is quite a moral and honest person deep down.
As an unpublished manuscript, Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal was a finalist entry in Romance Writers Australia’s ‘Ripping Start’ Contest, and a second round entry in the Emerald Award – Long Novel Section, won first place in the historical section of two Romance Writers America Chapter contests (2013), the Chicago-North ‘Fire and Ice Contest’ and the San Francisco Area ‘Heart to Heart Contest’. Firstly, congratulations! Secondly, how has this industry acclaim and support helped you with your writing?
Thanks so much for the congratulations! I have entered a few contests haven’t I? I found the feedback from contest judges—both good and not so good—invaluable in helping me to develop my writing skills. I haven’t been writing seriously for too long, so placing in and/or winning contests also gave me the confidence to submit my work to publishers. I certainly don’t think it hurts to have some contest kudos on your query letter! I’d encourage other unpublished authors to consider entering contests—you never know where it might take you!
What attracted you to writing regency/historical romance?
I really think it was a movie version of Jane Eyre that I saw when I was about 9 that made me fall in love with historical romance. After I read the book (I borrowed it from my primary school’s library and I’m sure I didn’t understand half of it at that age), I just knew I wanted to create emotionally gripping, historical-set stories. I’ve always loved history—especially English and Scottish history—fashion from days-gone-by, and English manor houses and castles. And I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen’s works, hence the love of the Regency period.
Is there a particular period of history that is of most interest to you?
I have no idea why, but I’m particularly obsessed with the history surrounding the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 in Scotland. I actually picked up Diana Gabaldon’s wonderful ‘Cross Stitch’ when it first came out (now ‘Outlander’) because it was set in the period I find so fascinating…Or maybe it’s just that I fancy hot, kilted Highlanders!
One thing you’d like readers to know about the romance genre…
I’d love all readers to know that there are so many incredibly talented romance authors and amazing romance stories out there. I’m always a little frustrated and disappointed by people (who don’t read romance), and the ‘literatti’ who are dismissive and disparaging of our genre, and consider it pap that is unworthy of recognition. To quote the wonderful book blogger Kat Mayo from Bookthingo in her recent article (17 April 2014) on The Drum, ‘Romance Fiction is Not Your Bitch’!
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Speech Pathology; I probably would have started a post-grad degree. And going to the gym a lot more!
Biggest accomplishment to date:
My Regency romance ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ getting published.
What’s next for you?
I need to finish The Duchess of D’Arby’s Dare (working title), the loosely linked sequel to Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal. The first kiss scene came third in Romance Writers Australia’s First Kiss contest this year! My hero and heroine are not happy that they haven’t had their happily-ever-after yet! Then I have a couple of trilogies in mind…I just need to decide which one to start on!
Confessions of an Author:
Favourite snack whilst writing?
I try not to snack too much, so drink (too much) coffee. I do snack on almonds sometimes.
Is there something we’d be shocked to know about you?
You may be surprised, rather than shocked…My wonderful husband is a pilot, but I hate flying!
What do you find easiest to write? And, the hardest?
I find writing in the male character’s point-of-view quite easy. The most challenging aspect of writing for me is weaving in back story. When I first started, I was certainly guilty of the info dump on occasion! Although I think I’m much better at this aspect of writing now.
Favourite travel experience?
Visiting Bath in England and traipsing around Jacobite Rebellion sites in Scotland like Culloden battlefield (now a war grave) and the beautiful Palace of Holyroodhouse (also the favourite royal residence of Mary, Queen of Scots)
Favourite fictional character:
That is so hard. My favourite ‘historical’ fictional heroine is probably Claire from ‘Outlander’. My favourite contemporary fictional character is Stephanie Plum.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Spend a few days on the Isle of Capri!
Milk or dark chocolate? Milk
Red, white, bubbly? I can’t choose between white and bubbly! But if I absolutely had to, bubbles.
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Beach
Give or receive? Give
About the Author:
Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favourite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after. As an unpublished author, Amy has been a finalist in contests in both Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America. In 2013 and 2014, she has achieved a place in the top three of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Award, and her debut Regency romance novel—‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’—was the winning entry in the historical section of two Romance Writers of America Chapter Contests in 2013—the Chicago North Fire and Ice Contest and the San Francisco Heart to Heart Contest. Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Devonshire Rex cat with attitude. She is a Speech Pathologist, but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.
Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal
Amy Rose Bennett
A runaway countess finds love when she least expects it…but she can’t hide from her past forever.
Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp, fears for her life. When she discovers her dissolute and long-estranged husband has syphilis—and he wants to beget an heir no matter the cost—she flees to a remote part of Scotland to begin a new life as the widowed governess, Mrs. Beth Eliott at Eilean Tor Castle.
When Mrs. Eliott unexpectedly arrives on his doorstep, the reclusive and recently widowed Marquess of Rothsburgh is both irritated and intrigued. No longer in need of a governess—his young daughter now resides with his sister’s family in Edinburgh—he proposes the beautiful widow fill a position of a different kind…
Torn between staying true to her marriage vows and her wanton attraction to the devilishly handsome marquess, Elizabeth struggles against the temptation to become his mistress. But living a lie is not easy when you have fallen in love. And secrets always have a way of coming out…