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Sunday, January 18, 2009


Alison Stuart Interviews – Kit Lovell, hero of THE KING’S MAN

AS: It’s 1654, England has been under the rule of Oliver Cromwell for the last three years, and things are looking pretty grim for the supporters of the late Charles Stuart and his son, currently in exile in France. I have with me one of the King’s most loyal supporters, Christopher Lovell.
KL: Please call me Kit, everyone does.
AS: I believe things have been tough for your family since the defeat of the royalist cause, Kit?
KL: They certainly have, Alison. My father and I took the royalist side in the wars of 1642-1648. Father died in the defence of our home and I went into exile. Most of the estate has been sold off and my step mother and my sister live in the ruins of the family home. I send them what money I can make off gambling and …other means, whenever I can but I’m afraid I’ve not been very much help to my family.
AS: I thought you had a brother?
KL: I don’t wish to talk about Daniel. He was lost at the battle of Worcester in September 1651. Stupid young fool thought he would follow in my footsteps. Not particularly worthy footsteps to follow in! My step mother blames me of course…
AS: So what have you been up to since the battle of Worcester?
KL: Oh, I spent an uncomfortable few months as a prisoner but managed to escape. Since then I’ve drifted between Paris and London, trying to make whatever money I can to keep body and soul together and a decent pair of boots on my feet.
AS: I hear you have something of a reputation with the ladies?
KL: Now don’t believe everything you hear, Alison. It’s true I have managed to land a wealthy widow as a mistress who keeps me in the manner to which I am accustomed and obligingly gives me the time I need for my other occupation.
AS: Which is?
KL: Cards and, oh yes, planning the overthrow of Cromwell’s regime and the restoration of the King.
AS: Any success?
KL: Well, I’m very good at cards but every plot to overthrow Cromwell is foiled by that master of spies, John Thurloe. Cromwell picked a wily man as his Secretary of State. Trouble is it’s hard to know who’s in Thurloe’s pay and who can be trusted these days! Even the most loyal of the King’s men may have good cause to turn coat. Let’s talk about women…that’s my favourite subject…
AS: You told us about your mistress, do you have any other women in your life?
KL: I take it you are referring to that infuriating music teacher, Thamsine Granville? I rue the day I ever saved her life!
AS: What happened?
KL: The stupid girl had just lobbed a piece of rock at the Cromwell’s coach. If she’d been caught…well I shudder to think what would have become of her.
AS: Why would she have done such a thing?
KL: Thamsine is like me, the flotsam of war. Her family also paid a price for supporting the King. In her case she found herself thrown out of her home and living off the streets of London. If I hadn’t saved her that day she would have been forced into prostitution just to keep herself alive. Now I’m stuck with her.
AS: What do you mean?
KL: Look, my life is… complicated. I’ve got a job to do and she’s a distraction I don’t need distractions. I’ve got the girl a job at an inn, what more does she want?
AS: You, perhaps?
KL: I don’t want romantic attachments, Alison. Anyone who gets involved with me is just going to get hurt. I use people for my own ends and she may find she’s no different.
AS: What do you mean you “use people”?
KL: Is that the time? I really must get going. The plotters are meeting at the Ship Inn and I’m expected. Perhaps I will see you there?
Read Kit and Thamsine’s story in THE KING’S MAN by Alison Stuart
For more information on the period, how the story came to be written and to read an excerpt go to


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

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Australia - The Movie (A review)

I wanted so much to like Australia - The Movie. Not just because I am a huge fan of Hugh Jackman but there is also so much to love about Australia - the Place!

I was so disappointed. After three long, long hours, I was left feeling like someone who has been given a large box of chocolates, has scoffed the lot and feels both slightly ill and unsatisfied.

Firstly how can you define this movie? Is it epic, is it romance, is it drama, is it a western, a war movie, is it fantasy? It is all of those things and none of them. You are left with a mish mash of all the genres with a heavy handed overview of political correctness. The treatment of the politics of the Stolen Generation is dealt with so much better in THE RABBIT PROOF FENCE.

The characters, with the exception of the Aboriginal actors (particularly young Brandon Walters who plays Nulla) were completely two dimensional. The baddies were bad and wore black hats just so you knew who they were and the goodies were good. The acting was stilted and wooden and the dialogue...oh my god! I stopped counting the number of times poor Hugh Jackman said "Crikey" and when he had to say "Shut your damper hole", I nearly fell under the seat! Who says that...ever???

The plot divided into two completely separate stories - lacking a clear story arc for either. One hour into the movie and they have arrived in Darwin, then follows filler during which everyone lives happily ever after and then on to the war and the bombing of Darwin. Now, if the story commenced in 1939 then three years have passed since the drive to Darwin and yet Nulla has remained exactly the same age! Continuity problem? Just one of many and I won't even go into the historical inaccuracies.

The winner is the wonderful Australian outback which is beautifully filmed. I think it was mostly filmed near Bowen in far north Queensland. I love the Australian outback and I hope that this film inspires people to come and visit but don't expect to find this Wild West frontier. 90% of Australians are urbanised and are unlikely to say "Crikey" even when provoked!