AUSSIE MONTH with Amy Rose Bennett
Describe yourself in one word:
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! My persistence has paid off though as in 2014, I achieved my dream and officially became a published author.
Tell us about Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, your debut novel:
Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal is a Regency Noir style novel set in Scotland. It tells the story of Elizabeth, the Countess of Beauchamp, who is compelled to flee her syphilitic husband when he suddenly decides it’s high time to beget an heir. Intent on making a new life for herself—and in desperate need of an income—she poses as the widowed governess, Mrs. Beth Eliott. However, trouble of a different kind befalls her when she finds she is wildly attracted to her enigmatic and very handsome employer, Lord Rothsburgh, the laird of the isolated Scottish castle, Eilean Tor. Given that Elizabeth is sorely tempted to become an adulteress, it’s safe to say this story isn’t a traditional Regency romance!
What inspired this novel?
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. 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.
What are you reading right now?
Mistress to the Crown by Isolde Martyn.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
I’ve already been lucky enough to visit Europe but if I could do so again, I would love to explore Italy’s Amalfi Coast and spend a few days on the Isle of Capri. Then time (and budget) permitting, I’d head on over to France and visit the Loire Valley.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
Gosh, it’s hard to pick just one ‘best thing’! I love our freedom and the easy going nature and great sense of humour of Aussies. And I love living in such a wildly beautiful country.
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
Romantic fiction has evolved considerably as a genre over the last few decades. While all romances have a guaranteed happily-ever-after (or happy-for-now) ending, they are not formulaic by any means. The stories—regardless of the subgenre—and their characters are varied and rich. And Aussie romance authors are incredibly talented and smart!
What have you got in store for your readers in 2015?
The loosely linked sequel to Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, The Duchess Of D’Arby’s Dare will be completed. And I’m hoping my Jacobite Rebellion tale, Capturing the Master of Strathburn—it has come second in RWAus’ Emerald Award in both 2013 and 2014—will be published. Then all I need to do is decide what to write next! I have three historical trilogies planned…
What were your big achievements of 2014?
Becoming a published author would have to be number one. Three of my stories—two novellas, An Improper Proposition and Long Gone Girl, and my full length novel Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal—were all published in 2014. And achieving three finalist placings in writing contests for unpublished manuscripts also felt really wonderful; the first kiss scene for The Duchess of D’Arby’s Dare placed third in RWAus’ 2014 First Kiss Contest. Duchess also achieved finalist placing in the 2014 Chicago North ‘Fire and Ice’ RWA Chapter Contest. And finalling in the Emerald again (as I mentioned above)!
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…