So just a little trivia for you about how I created Lord Randall. Inspiration can strike any time, anywhere and Randall "grew" from a variety of sources –I imagine him looking like a young Peter O'Toole and in temperament he is serious, uncomfortable around women (think of Gregory Peck's Hornblower).
I was also inspired by a song that sums up his character perfectly – "I Won't Send Roses" from the musical Mack & Mabel, based on the true story of Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, who became one of the biggest film stars of the early 20th century. Mack is a grumpy authoritarian character and he tries to warn Mabel not to fall in love with him. The link is here to Robert Preston singing if you want to hear it.
Randall is a tough, no nonsense career soldier who commands an artillery unit made up of villains and criminals. He has, quite literally in some cases, whipped them into shape and turned them into a crack fighting force. As Annie Burrows puts it, a Dirty Dozen in breeches! Such a unit needs a strong leader and Randall has no time for anything but his job. That is, until he meets Mary, a fiercely independent schoolteacher who is opposed to everything Randall stands for.
The action takes place in the weeks leading up to the battle, but we also follow Randall onto the battlefield itself, while Mary must remain in Brussels waiting for news.
Annie Burrows' book, A MISTRESS FOR MAJOR BARTLETT is published in June, and Louise Allen's A ROSE FOR MAJOR FLINT is published in July.