The name of Gail Mallin will need no introduction to Regency fans. Here she talks about her books, her break from writing, and her new book.
"Thanks for inviting me to the blog! I am really excited to have a novel out again after a long period away from writing, but I must confess that "The Eccentric Miss Delaney" isn't reallya new story. Way back in 1990 my editor at Mills & Boon, a lovely lady called Elizabeth Johnson, came up with an idea to celebrateValentine's Day with a four in one title to be called "Regency Quartet". This was the first time a multi-volume had been done for the Mills & Boon Historical line and I was one of the authors Elizabeth approached.
Lots of ideas were tossed around on how to link the four novellas together, but the schedule was tight and in the end it was decided that each story should stand alone. Each of the four heroines featured would find love in a different way and I was asked to write about a girl who was looking for security. I came up with idea of the daughter of a charming, well-bred wastrel, who, when her father proposes to drag her off to Vienna to help him run a gambling hell, decides enough is enough.
Miss Athena Delaney is twenty-four years old and, determined to manage her own life from now on, seeks refuge in the small seaside resortof Parkgate. Athena's beauty attracts numerous suitors, but she is more interested in restoring the run-down tavern owned by a relative of her formergoverness, a redoutable dame who has accompanied Athena to Parkgate to act as her chaperon. Athena's success as an inn-keeper brings a measure of financial security and a reputation for eccentricity, a reputationLord Nick Verlaine thinks deserved when he finds her dusting the inn'scoffee-room. Thinking her a chambermaid he ventures to steal a kissand is astonished when the furious Athena boxes his ears and berates himfor his impudence. Nick finds Athena's unattainability a challengeand he accepts a wager that he can make the eccentric Miss Delaney fallin love with him...
The "Eccentric Miss Delaney" is a frothy romance, but getting the facts right is important to me and I do a lot of research for every novel. I also like to choose more unusual settings for my stories if I can and Parkgate seemed perfect since it was close enough to where I lived at the time for me to visit often and gather all the information I needed.
Although the sea has receded since Regency times and the promenade now overlooks a grass-filled marshland, I enjoyed imagining the town in its heyday with its sea-bathing machines and balls at the AssemblyRooms. It was great fun trying to bring that long-lost world back to lifeand if the original reviews are to be believed readers loved the story -can I do a little boasting here and tell you that mine was voted thebest of the four novellas in a survey Mills & Boon conducted after publication? Sorry, couldn't resist mentioning that, but it is a story I'm proud of and I'm absolutely thrilled that it's been given the opportunity to reach a new generation of readers."
The Eccentric Miss Delaney is available from BBC books by clicking here