…so, there I was, typing away at the latest work-in-progress and I flick over to my emails to find one from the Romantic Novelists' Association, telling me that Beneath the Major's Scars has been short-listed for the 2013 Rona Rose Award!
Yippee!!! After winning the Rona Rose last year I am so thrilled to think that it wasn't a lucky fluke, that the readers really do like my books.
Even more thrilling - Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley will announce the winner on 26 February during a glittering reception in London – you can find more details about the event and all the Romantic Novelists' Association's awards here but here's the full short-list for the RoNA Rose Award:-
Sarah Mallory, Beneath the Major's Scars, Harlequin Historical
Heidi Rice, The Good, the Bad and the Wild, Harlequin Mills & Boon Riva
Carol Townend, Betrothed to the Barbarian, Harlequin Historical
Scarlet Wilson, West Wing to Maternity Wing, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical
Scarlet Wilson, Her Christmas Eve Diamond, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical
I am familiar with all these authors (proud to say I am friends with some of them!) and love their books, so it is such an honour to be up there with them, and for a book that is one of my all time favourites.
The idea for Beneath the Major's Scars began I was on holiday on Exmoor one September and I started to day-dream about a scarred and damaged war hero who might choose to live in an isolated house surrounded by these beautiful and dramatic moors. It wasn't a great leap then to think of the young woman who was going to rescue my hero, Dominic, from his self-imposed exile and show him that life was still worth living. I decided my heroine would come from even further south, from Cornwall in fact and she would have scars of her own that would need to heal.
I also wanted to introduce a brother for Dominic – an identical twin who would show Zelah just how devastatingly handsome Dominic had been before a French sabre cut through his face. Of course, Zelah knows beauty is only skin-deep and she is attracted to the man she sees behind the scars.
Dominic is a brooding, dark hero, perfectly at home in the rugged landscape of Exmoor. His brother, Jasper, became the hero of my next book, Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager, and I wanted him to be everything Dominic was not, so Jasper is suave and sophisticated, a fun-loving young lord who is more used to fighting off women than chasing them – until he meets his match in Susannah Prentess!
These two books are very different in nature, but that was the point, to show that identical twins can be very different people. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Thanks for dropping by – I am off now to decide just what I am going to wear for the glitzy reception in London 26th February………….