I recently had the opportunity to chat with Debra Brown, author of a new historical fiction novel, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. Debra was kind enough to share her time with me and answered the following for us!
Debra thank you so much for sparing me your time and for answering all my questions! The following questions are to give our readers a chance to get to know you better.
If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
The Bible. Besides teaching us about God and being full of good advice, it is a deep study. For example, many historical points were once considered to be false, but over the years, have been proven true through archeological research. I’d love to visit the sites written about thousands of years ago, especially Solomon’s Temple and palace, if they still existed.
If you had all the money in the world and could only travel to one place, where would it be and why?
Now I’m going to sound like a hypocrite. But since I have been to Hawaii and soaked up the antiquities there, my next choice would be to the British Isles. I would want to have a good long visit and see everything there is to see and to feel the awe of the past.
What is your favorite food/type of cuisine?
I love pasta with spicy sausage, though I don’t eat it often because of the difficulty of keeping my weight down. And I really go for whipped, creamy cakes with cherries or other berry fillings. Safeway has an out of this world Rum Cake. Oh, dear, you had to bring this up, didn’t you? I’m trying to lose twenty pounds right now! Lol.
If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Oh, there are soooo many! To select one, I would want to do research about what kind of person they are or were. And I’d want to know how long I could spend with them. I think that if I was in control of the situation and could say that I would want lots of time and could go back in time, I would go traveling with the apostle Paul. He was obviously a good guy and traveled far and wide, much of it on foot, so he was able to see the real life in those ancient times. I would learn much about survival in the traveling situation of that time, and I could come home and write volumes.
Now that we have some insight about you, tell us more about your book!
It’s obvious in your writing that you did a lot of historical research on the Victorian Age. What about this particular historical period intrigued you enough to want to set your novel in it?
I love the ladies and gentlemen lifestyle. Though the rules and expectations were way overblown, in my opinion, a modest version of it would make for a lovely life. Gentlemen, for example, did not turn their backs to a lady without excusing themselves. On the other hand, if you lived in certain neighborhoods and hung your laundry out to dry, you might be shunned for the rest of your life. That was so “not done”. I also find it interesting that we today think of the Victorians as prudish, but they felt progressive. In early Regency times, waltzing was called fornication on the dance floor. But Victorians waltzed late into the night without shame. So the Victorian era was just a step in the direction of “progress”.
The multiple storylines that you create for all your characters really intertwine well with each other. Did you find it difficult to hold back some of the revelations in each of their stories?
Yes, it took some very careful writing. There is a huge secret revealed in the last pages that I would hope readers could believe, upon reflection. The hints had to be there without spilling the beans. Certain emotions could not be revealed without giving it away. The rules and customs of Victorian society thankfully assisted me in keeping the secret. I am so happy to hear from readers that they never guessed and were very surprised. I hope that they could sit back and put it all together in their minds afterward, saying, Ah, yes, it makes sense!
Which authors have influenced your writing?
Mostly Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
Although I start with an outline and stick to it, I love the outpouring of new things that develop as I go from point A to point B. It is truly as if the characters make things happen that you did not plan, and these things fit into the story and make it more lively.
Are you currently working on any other writing projects? Can you tell us a little bit about them?
I am now writing a Regency story about some twentyish twins, a gentleman and lady, and their eccentric mother. It is very different from Companion, swirling with emotion. The mother keeps mostly to a dusty, octagonal attic room, where she obsesses over a trunk with a brass plate that reads “For the Skylark.” She is quite distant from her twins and has rules that they are to strictly follow. The young man, Dante, begins to want to break the rule about staying away from the gate (meaning never leave the property) and the girl is terrified of what might happen if he does so. She wants him to stay home and leave well enough alone. The question develops, what is behind the mother’s behavior? Both my books are sweet romances with mystery and humor.
-Thanks so very much!
Make sure you check back in tomorrow for my review of The Companion of Lady Holmeshire and a chance to win a copy for yourself! For more information on Debra and her novel check out her website here.