Saturday, 1 October 2016

Author Inspiration: Anne Stenhouse

It's a while since I've had a guest here so I’m very pleased to welcome fellow Scottish writer, Anne Stenhouse, to the Reading and Writing blog today. I’ve enjoyed Anne’s three previous historical novels and look forward to this latest one which is on my (long) TBR list.

Courting the Countess

Lady Melissa Pateley is not having an easy time of it in 1819.

Her beloved husband Neville has died, and a fire at her London home has left her covered in scars. If it wasn’t for a band of loyal servants, she’s not sure how she would survive.

Things take a turn for the worse when one day, Colonel Harry Gunn and his fellow soldier Zed break into her home, bundle her into a coach and kidnap her. She is at a loss until she learns that Harry Gunn is the cousin of George Gunn, a man who has been stalking her for years, and that Harry’s Uncle John had warned him that as long as George is out there, Melissa is not safe. Uncle John insists that Harry finds Melissa and keeps her safe.

But that very night George shows up at Harry’s home with Harry’s sister Lottie, who thinks Melissa and George would make a good match. Perhaps Melissa would have been safer at home after all. Yet even with her scars, she is certain that the handsome Colonel Gunn is attracted to her. But of course, nothing is ever simple.

Startling revelations rip the family apart, causing everyone to question what they once held dear. As Colonel Gunn goes in search of George and the truth, he has to wonder – had the keeping of secrets not marred more lives than the secrets would have destroyed?

Courting the Countess is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Inspiration behind the story

Courting the Countess arose out of a competition entry. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and attend their annual conferences. Attendees are invited to enter a competition named in honour of the late Elizabeth Goudge – I feel sure a lot of your readers will remember the name well. 

When Christina Courtenay was Chair she invited the first 2,000 words of a story which gave a new slant on a fairy tale. I puzzled because of course some, like the Cinderella rags to riches trope, are very much used and I wanted to get away from the much used. I chose Beauty and the Beast – but have reversed the roles. The Countess is badly scarred by fire and the hero, Colonel Harry Gunn, is Greek God gorgeous, unscathed physically by war service. I threw an unwitting villain and a real villain into the mix.

I think it’s a darker book than my earlier ones, but some readers have enjoyed that divergence.

It sounds great, Anne – I really like that idea of reversing the original fairy tale roles and I enjoy books set in this period.

About Anne

I love writing dialogue-rich historical romance with lashings of humour and a swirl of thematic mystery. 

Never short of a word myself, my heroines defy and manipulate the conventions of their time with sparkling wit. Heroes with a touch of arrogance must be ripe for comeuppance and that's what my ladies are about.

Edinburgh provides a glorious Georgian and Regency setting for Bella (in Bella’s Betrothal) and London for Mariah (in Mariah’s Marriage). I'm lucky to live in one and regularly visit the other.

You can find out more about Anne and her other books on Facebook and on her blog at Novels Now


Helena Fairfax said...

I enjoyed finding out about your new novel here, Anne. I love the idea of the twist in the fairy tale. The hero and heroine sound great characters. Congratulations on release!

Jean Bull said...

Good Luck with Courting the Countess, Anne. I, too, like the idea of the reversal of Beauty and the Beast!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Rosemary, thank you so much for inviting me along to talk about Melissa and Harry and the inspiration for their story.
Helena, thanks for dropping in.
Jean, thank you. glad you like the idea. Anne

Wendy's Writing said...

Ooh. I love a good regency romance! I shall add this to my (also very long) TBR list as well. Thank you both.

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Wendy, thank you and I hope you enjoy. They do just touch a spot sometimes, don't they? Anne

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Good to have you here, Anne!

Hi Helena - thanks for your comment. It's a great idea, isn't it!

Thanks for commenting, Jean!

I'm sure you'll enjoy it, Wendy!

Julie Vince said...

Lovely to read this, Anne and Rosemary. Courting the Countess sounds wonderful, can't wait to read it!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hullo Julie, thanks for dropping by - I know how busy you are. Hope you enjoy Courting the Countess. Anne

Patsy said...

Sounds like an interesting story.

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Patsy, thank you. People are saying they're finding it a little darker than the earlier ones, but in a good way. Anne

Carolb said...

Enjoyed reading about the inspiration for the latest book, Anne. And thank you to Rosemary, too. :-)

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Carol, nice of you to drop by. Stories behind stories are interesting. Anne

Joanna said...

Thank you for this lovely interview, Roseamry and Anne. Your novel sounds wonderful, Anne, especially your idea of reversing the Beauty and the Beast fairy-tale. I would love to read it and wish you every success. xx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for commenting, Julie!

It does indeed, Patsy!

Thanks for commenting, Carol!

Thanks, Joanna - I'm looking forward to this one!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Joanna, thank you for your kind words. I hope you'll enjoy the book if you decide to go for it. Anne

Teresa Ashby said...

Courting the Countess sounds like a wonderful read and I love the idea of changing the Beauty and the Beast roles.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I do too, Teresa!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Teresa, thanks for dropping by. It's interesting what the mind throws up when you're challenged. Anne

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