Today our guest is Maggie Andersen who’s paying an afternoon call from Australia via the magic of the internet. Welcome Maggie! Tell us about your book.

The Reluctant Marquess is a Georgian romance. Lord Robert, the Marquess of St. Malin, and Charity Barlow have very different views of marriage. A marriage between a city rake and a country-bred daughter of an academic requires quite a period of adjustment. Charity believes marriage is about love. To Robert marriage is merely an arrangement to produce an heir. He then plans to pack Charity off to one of his country estates. Charity is not the malleable young woman Robert expects her to be. She fights for what she believes in and much conflict ensures.

What drew you to the theme of an arranged marriage?

Writing about married couples interests me. What happens after the wedding? It’s not always the expected happy ending, particularly, when they come from such different worlds. To complicate matters, Lord Robert appears to be carrying a hurt from his past. Charity is a practical woman and sees it as her role to help heal that hurt.

You’ve also written books set in the Victorian and Regency period. Which is your favorite?

The Regency is my favorite era. I read Georgette Heyer at a young age and loved her. She created such charming worlds, I wanted to keep dipping into them. When I’d read all her books dozens of times, I began to create my own.

Did you come across anything surprising in your research for the book?

My mother was an artist, and instilled in me a love of art at an early age. I’m interested in art history particularly. When researching for The Reluctant Marquess, I was interested to discover that during the reigns of the third and fourth Georges it was seen to be unfeminine for a woman to do anything with professional skill. The only career open to a Georgian woman was marriage. She would have considered a loveless marriage infinitely more respectable than the pursuit of a profession. If a suitor presented himself it was her duty to love him, or at any rate marry him. The kitchen and the nursery were her sole spheres of action. She was expected to treat her men-folk with respectful admiration and accept their judgments in a spirit of childlike faith and obey them with unquestioning submission.

Women who wished to be creative were forced to invent a kind of ‘mock art’. Modeling in clay was seen as unfeminine but modeling in wax or bread a feminine occupation. Filigree and mosaic work was copied in coloured paper, Dresden china of rice paper, flowers of lambswool.

Frustrated by the conflict in her marriage and how little of interest she could do as a marchioness, Charity rebels in a small way by carving in wood, a skill she learned from her grandfather, which was a distinctly masculine pursuit.

What’s your writing process?

I rough out the plot first, although that may change and go off in tangents. How the story ends stays fairly fixed in my mind. Names are important, I seldom change them. They help to shape the characters in some mystical way. I edit what I have written the following day which carries me on to the next scene.

What do you like to read/which writers have influenced you?

Georgette Heyer was a great influence as I’ve mentioned. Victoria Holt’s Victorian Gothic romances inspired me to write Victorian mysteries. Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca was just marvelous. I think my alpha heroes developed from reading these writers. My favorite contemporary historical romance writers are Eloisa James, Joanna Bourne and Deanna Raybourn.

What’s next for you?

I have two books coming out later this year. A Baron in Her Bed, (Book One, The Spies of Mayfair Series) set in the Regency era, is released in September. Book Two and Three will be released next year. The Folly at Falconbridge Hall, a late Victorian mystery romance, is released in December.

I have a copy of The Reluctant Marquess to giveaway (world-wide, print or e-book).

The Riskies will pick a winner on Monday evening, March 19, from participants. So let’s chat. If you were a Georgian heroine, which artistic pursuit would you choose?