A BARON FOR BECKY
She was a fallen woman when she met them. How can they help her fall on her feet?
Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde – the indulged mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.
Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?
The devil-may-care face Hugh shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn’t want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.
When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.
The maid must have added a fresh log to the fire just before they arrived. The top was still uncharred, but flames licked up from the bed of hot embers. A twig that jutted from one side suddenly flared, turned black, and shrivelled. The bottom of the log began to glow red.
The duchess spoke again, startling Becky out of her flame-induced trance.
“What do you want for your daughter, Mrs Darling?”
“A better life,” Becky said, suddenly fierce. “A chance to be respectable. A life that does not depend on the whims of a man.”
“The first two may be achievable,” the duchess said, dryly. “The third is unlikely in the extreme. And you expect my son to help you to this goal, I take it.”
Becky was suddenly tired of polite circling. “I was saving so that I could leave this life; start again in another place under another name. But my last protector cheated me and stole from me.
“I do what I must, Your Grace. Should I have killed myself when I was disgraced? I had no skills anyone wanted to buy. I could play the piano, a little; sew, but others were faster and better; paint, but indifferently; parse a Latin sentence, but not well. Should I have starved in the gutter where they threw me?
“Well, I wasn’t given that choice. Those who took me from the gutter knew precisely what I had that others would pay for. As soon as I could, I began selling it for myself, and I Will. Not. Be. Ashamed.”
Her vehemence did not ruffle the duchess’s calm. “We all do what we must, my dear. I am not judging you. Men have the power in this world, and we women of the gentry are raised to depend on them for our survival. But you must know that Aldridge cannot offer marriage to a woman with your history.”
Jude Knight writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
Jude Knight is the pen name of Judy Knighton. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude is returning to her first love, fiction. Her novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, was released in December 2014, and is in the top ten on several Amazon bestseller lists in the US and UK. Her first novel Farewell to Kindness, was released on 1 April, and is first in a series: The Golden Redepennings.
Jude’s social media
Jude’s Other Books (on Amazon)
Candle’s Christmas Chair (free novella)
Farewell to Kindness (Book One, the Golden Redepennings)
Jude graciously agreed to an Interview today 🙂
Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.
I outline. I have a skeleton plot clearly in my head before I start, and character sketches for all characters – detailed character interviews for my main characters. When I start, I write a few paragraphs per chapter, describing what is going to happen.
Then the characters take over, and new subplots appear, and people I thought were going to be important fade to insignificance, and new people wander into the story and take over.
I’ve learned to go with the flow. In my most recent books, I still have a skeleton plot, and a more detailed outline two or three chapters ahead of where I’m working. But not all the way to the end, because although I’ve so far finished more or less where I intended, anything could happen along the way.
How do you decide on setting?
My stories are plot and character driven, so I choose the setting to suit the needs of the story. That said, a setting will get stuck in my head, and I don’t always know why. Setting was important to Farewell to Kindness – more than a third of the book took place in a country village during the festival of Whitsunweek, which reflects my own fondness for country living and for the rhythms of the year.
It’s sequel, A Raging Madness, will largely centre around a journey on a canal from Chester to London. A plot need drives the decision, but canal boats and the culture of those who lived on them will become port of the story.
What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
I write historical romance. It’s a broad area, and I can’t define my version of it more narrowly than that. Candle Christmas Chair is fairly traditional (though its heroine isn’t)—a sweet courtship story. Farewell to Kindness is a mix of romance, thriller, and mystery. A Baron for Becky has two heroes and one heroine, and doesn’t follow the rules at all. And at least some of the books to come will not stay even within the broadest of genre boundaries. I’m not good with boundaries.
Why do I write historical romance? I love history. I particularly love history that allows me and my readers to reflect on our own times, and the late Georgian is perfect for that. And, since stories are artificial constructs and where they start and finish is entirely optional, I chose to tell stories about heroes and heroines who find one another and work through their barriers and challenges towards the hope of happiness.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I love those moments when the plot elves are co-operating, the words fly into the computer as fast as the fingers can type, I’m not conscious of time passing or anything in my immediate environment, and I surface after minutes of total immersion to find that hours have passed. I love them especially when I read what I’ve written while ‘in the flow’, and it satisfies my soul. Those moments don’t come every day, but the hope of them keeps me going.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
I hate those times when every word has to be torn kicking and screaming from a reluctant, bleeding brain; when an hour’s writing produces 100 stolid limping words. They have to be endured, but I don’t have to like it.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I’d do both. I enjoy editing. I think I’m a better editor than I am a writer. I tend to edit as I go, returning over the previous day’s work each morning, and also going back several chapters when a later chapter requires a plot point or a hint or a change in an earlier one.
If the story isn’t heading in the direction it needs to, I’ll stop and do a more substantive edit part way through. I’ve been known to completely reshape a story when halfway through.
And I certainly also do a complete edit once I’ve finished. On Farewell to Kindness, which is long and has many plot lines, major and minor, the editing was the most important part, allowing me to find out who I’d lost on the way through. At the time, I commented that I write like I knit: I keep dropping stitches and forgetting the pattern.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever done in the name of research?
I’ve researched some odd things and had some peculiar conversations. Soap. Invalid chairs. The best place for someone to have an injury that would cause him to bleed out and die. The scale of bribery at Newgate Prison. I’ve been known to stand in front of the mirror to examine the way the mouth and face move with different emotions, so I could describe them accurately. I’ve cooked archaic recipes to see how they work, and talked to experts in archaic skills and crafts for the same reason. But really, none of that is strange, is it?
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
I like e-books for the convenience of carrying them, but I prefer research books to be in print so I can easily flip from one place to another.
Please tell us your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?
I’ve met many good people on social media, including the Bluestocking Belles who have become my friends and partners. I like that social media allows us to talk to readers all over the world: a grand 24 hour, 365-day a year book tour. It is a great blessing, and it can be a huge time waster. My least favourite part of social media is the hours it can munch if I’m not disciplined.
What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?
I read widely. A lot of historical romance. Some history. SF. Mystery. Mainstream. I don’t read much paranormal or many thrillers. I enjoy alternative history stories. I read biographies and history non-fiction. Also popular science books.
When I’m writing, I tend to read only books that are relevant to my current topic. I get very focused.
Jude would like to offer one lucky person who comments an ecopy edition of A Baron For Becky.