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Archive for May 6th, 2009

thediamondsofwelbournemanor

Justine and the Noble Viscount by Diane Gaston Guardian to the unconventional and newly orphaned Fitzmannings is not a role that brooding Gerald Brenner relishes. But Justine, the illegitimate daughter who strives to hide her shame, calls powerfully to something deep within him….

Annalise and the Scandalous Rake by Deb Marlowe House party guest Ned Milford can see the inner passion and beauty that Annalise Fitzmanning hides. But how close should they become when his reason for being at Welbourne Manor would prompt a society scandal, not a society marriage!

Charlotte and the Wicked Lord by Amanda McCabe Charlotte may be the youngest Fitzmanning girl, but she knows her own mind—and she wants Lord Andrew Bassington! Drew requires an eminently proper bride, something free-spirited Charlotte has never been. So how can she make him see the beautiful woman she has become…?

Hi everyone!  Deb Marlowe here.  Diane Gaston, Amanda McCabe and I are thrilled to be with you today to discuss our anthology, The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor. We had a great time creating this chaotic and rambunctious family in Regency England.  Readers might be surprised to find a blended family during this time period, but we were inspired by real life examples, such as Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, her sister Lady Bessborough, and their exuberant, mixed broods.  I think we were all excited to have the chance not only to write connected stories, but also to explore the rewards and the challenges that come with a large family.

The Fitzmanning girls have their share of both.  Our three heroines have the camaraderie and support that come with a house full of siblings and half-siblings, but they also have to deal with the repercussions of their parents’ scandalous past—not to mention the antics of their rowdy brothers.

I found it very easy to relate to Annalise, my heroine in Annalise and the Scandalous Rake.  Like her, I grew up in the midst of an extended family.  With two sisters, plus 5 cousins who all lived minutes away, I have many happy memories of family gatherings, celebrations, and the experience of being daily in and out of each other’s houses—and constantly in each other’s business!  Also like Annalise, there were times when I just needed to be alone.  Only our means of withdrawal are different.  Annalise retreats to her sunny studio to pour her emotions onto her canvases.  I hid away with a good book—or spent hours dreaming up my own stories.

Diane Gaston: It is funny you should mention rowdy brothers, Deb. I came from a family of all girls. I was the youngest of three daughters and I’d always wished for an older brother. Brenner, the hero in Justine and the Noble Viscount, would have been the perfect older brother, I think, so steady and dependable, a brother to lean on. My sisters and I didn’t need a brother to get us out of scrapes, though. We were quiet, well-behaved little girls, not at all like the Fitzmannings. In fact, Brenner probably would have thought us good examples for his half-sisters. I must have been a rowdy girl just dying to bust out, because I yearned for more excitement, more adventure, more romance. Books fed those yearnings when I was a kid.

Amanda McCabe:  LOL!  I was the opposite.  I had no sisters, only one brother, and he’s several years younger than me.  Plus my only cousins would much rather have played with their “Star Wars” action figures than read Anne of Green Gables with me.  It all ended up okay—my brother and I always got along well, and never had vicious fights over lipstick like my best friend and her sisters, but I always kinda wanted a sister.  I guess I get to live out those dreams in stories with families like the Fitzmannings (and they never borrow my clothes without asking, either!)

I really identified with my heroine in Charlotte and the Wicked Lord (even though Charlotte is the youngest of her family, and I’m the oldest).  We both felt like misfits in our teenaged world, preferring to hide away with a writing project, or go walking in the woods with the dogs.  I loved spending time with her and her family, and plan to revisit them very soon!  It should be more interesting than 5 page Christmas letters from relatives I haven’t seen in 15 years…

So what does your family look like?  Do you deal with daily chaos?  Or are you an island in an ocean of calm?  How often do you hide away with a good book?  Share your stories and one random commenter will win a copy of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor!

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