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Sunday, January 18, 2009


The Australian Romance Readers Convention (ARRC09) is coming up next month and I will be appearing on a panel with Stephanie Laurens, Anna Campbell, Sara Bennett and Kinley's pretty august company! I will be the quiet one on the end!

The topic of the Panel is "What's so great about rakes and assorted historical heroes?" It should be a lot of fun.

I don't write about rakes... not sure I could if I tried. My heroes are men with pasts, dark secrets that make them the way they are.

So in honour of ARRC and the panel, I am repeating an early blog I did which is a "Character Interview" with the hero of BY THE SWORD, Jonathan Thornton. I will post an interview with the hero of THE KING'S MAN in the next day or so.

I hope you enjoy them! (They were a lot of fun to write)

Interview with Sir Jonathan Thornton Bt. at Seven Ways Hall, Worcestershire.
JT: Are we on?
AS: Let me adjust that microphone…going live…
AS: Sir Jonathan Thornton, welcome. It’s 1660 and London is buzzing with the news that the King is to be restored to the throne. As a loyal supporter of the royalist cause how do you feel about that?
JT : Well, delighted, of course. It’s been a hard time for those of us who remained loyal to the King.
AS: In what way?
JT: Our estates have been subject to heavy fines and the continual threat of sequestration. As an outlaw, had I inherited Seven Ways on my grandfather’s death, the entire estate would have been forfeit.
AS: But didn’t your grandfather find a solution to that problem?
JT: He did. The old fox left it to my young cousin, Tom Ashley, but even the Ashley family’s parliamentary connections couldn’t entirely prevent the privations of the last few years. Of course, my marriage to his mother didn’t help much either.
AS: There were those of us who were surprised at your decision to settle down with Kate. You had, how can I put it, a wild youth?
JT: I can’t deny that I was the cause of my parent’s despair on more than one occasion. My mother , god rest her, never recovered from that troop of Parliamentary horse trampling her garden and ruining her orchard. Of course I look back now and regret that I never really made peace with my parents before they died.
AS: Any other regrets?
JT: Of course I have regrets. I’ve always had a tendency to act with my heart rather than my head and people I care about have got hurt in the process, badly hurt. Thank heavens for the wisdom of age and the love of a good woman to knock some sense into me.
AS: I presume you are talking about Kate?
JT: Of course.
AS: And how did you meet Kate?
JT: She was working in the garden at Seven Ways. I’ll never forget it. She wore an old, shabby gown and a battered straw hat. I thought I’d never seen a woman look quite so lovely. At the time I had a price on my head and no intention of falling in love. That’s what I mean about my heart ruling the head. Talk about a doomed relationship.
AS: But you managed to overcome the problems?
JT: We did, but our happiness came at a price. If you have a little time to spare, let me tell you the story….
Read Jonathan and Kate’s story in BY THE SWORD by Alison Stuart
For more information on the period, how the story came to be written and to read an excerpt go to