Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Latest Loveday Publication
Writing the Loveday series has been a dream beyond my wildest expectations. For eleven years and eleven novels I have lived and breathed this family’s passions, adventures, romances and conflicts. I have loved every minute of it. The series certainly tested my creativity and ingenuity to avoid similarities in so many characters or repetition of plots and settings. The chronological order of the novels covered over twenty years of wars, sea-battles, romantic escapes, rivalries, political intrigue, social upheaval and close encounters on both sides of the law and the inevitable consequences. During my research and writing I have experienced a roller-coaster ride through the exciting times of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Within every novel characters, although driven by their motivation and passions, have to develop and are changed by their experiences. The eleven novels have allowed me to cover the historical and social dramas of events in Cornwall and London as well as those in France, America and the newly founded colony in Sydney cove.
My greatest challenge to date was the development of Rowena Loveday who was born in the first book of the series. In THE LOVEDAY VENDETTA she is seventeen. Throughout her childhood she had been defiant and wilful and undoubtedly spoilt by her doting father. She was mischievous and often resentful of her wealthy cousins that provoked her into jealous rages and causing trouble amongst her siblings. Whilst this made great drama in her younger years, by the time she is a young woman and about to take her place as the heroine in the latest novel, she was not the most sympathetic of characters. To her credit was that her childhood had been difficult and she had had to face more traumas than her cousins. I loved her spirit that refused to be cowed or defeated, but as an adult for her to win the empathy of the readers, I had to get into her psyche as she battled to win respect and overcome the prejudices of her past and the misunderstandings that had surrounded the dramas she had created.
I did this by allowing the reader to understand her suffering and her desire to win the respect of her family and prove herself equal in blood and honour to her family.
Here is an extract when she pours out her heart and need for acceptance in a letter to her dead father. This was a device I used sparingly but I hope you agree that it enabled the reader to understand this complex woman.
May Day Eve 1805
Why did you leave me? Was my love not enough? Or was I to blame? Was I too like Mama and you could not look at me and not see her betrayal? These questions scream in my head and you were the only one who could answer them. What could I have done to stop you taking your life? I should have been a better daughter. I thought everything would remain the same forever, that you had not a care in the world. Or was that the drink making you deny how close we were to ruin. Were those, older and wiser than myself, who should have seen what was happening too wrapped up in their own lives to disregard the obsession that destroyed you? I, who loved you, thought you infallible. But they should have seen your pain. They betrayed you and I cannot forgive them.
At your death my world crumbled. What did new dresses and a fine house mean then? They were nothing without you. Oh, Papa, I need you so much. Everyone is against me. They do not look at me and see Rowena they see Meriel. I am cursed with my mother’s looks but it is not her blood than burns through my veins. It is yours, which drives me to prove that I am a Loveday – that my wildness is the heritage of men who would be conquerors, who rule their lives as they ruled the sea as buccaneers. I am proud to be a Loveday. Why will others not see beneath the image of my mother to the heart of Rowena?
I am condemned for sins that were not mine. Not that I could blame you, Papa. If I had not been conceived you would not have been forced to wed a tavern wench. Did you also blame my birth for ruining your life, Papa? Is that why you found more pleasure away from our home than within it?
I was so angry when you died, Papa. I hated everyone. What had they done to save you? I wanted them to pay for their arrogance. I was an embarrassment to them. A reminder of all they wanted to forget.
They sent me away to school so that they did not have to trouble themselves over me. Only you would have understood, Papa. Only you truly loved me. Why did you forsake me, Papa? Why did even you not love me enough to throw off the shackles of convention so that we could start a new life elsewhere?
When will this pain of missing you end? How can I show you that I am a worthy child of your blood?
Your devoted daughter
The handwriting with its extravagant flourishes and twirls ran together where Rowena’s tears had fallen on the paper. This was the only way she could release her pain. The only way she could try and find an answer. The only way she could pretend that her father was still close to her and could be proud that she could redeem the honour of their name.
She closed her eyes willing answers to come to her. The paper crinkled in her hand as tension ripped through her. The silence tore at her heart. No answers whispered in her ear. She was again forsaken. Then following the ritual she always performed at these times she touched the corner of the paper to the candle flame and watched it
devour the words wrenched from her heart. At the last moment before her fingers were burned she dropped the paper into a bronze bowl and stared at it until the flames died down and only ashes remained. She ground these to a fine dust with a wooden pestle, and then opening the window allowed them to drift on the breeze. With them went her simple prayer that they would travel through the ether to the afterlife, the words conveyed to her father. It was important that he would understand and not judge her.
No one else would witness the depths of her turmoil. Her pride would not allow her torment to be known. The words were the essence of her soul, her conscience, her way to make sense of all she had lost and to prove that she was not her mother’s spawn, she was her father’s daughter.
THE LOVEDAY VENDETTA is published in paperback by Headline on 9th December
I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the snow while remaining safe and warm.