Author Feature is on Australian author Alison Stuart. And she's got giveaways!
To find out more about Alison Stuart and her books visit her website.
I have been a lawyer, a senior executive, an army officer. I was born in Africa. I’ve lived in Singapore. My family are all grown and its just me, the resident hero and 2 incredibly needy cats. These days I (mostly) do what I’ve always wanted to do, write the stories I like to read: Historicals with romance, and ghosts, and murders... I still work a couple of days a week but I have started putting “Writer” on my immigration cards so that has to mean something!
What inspired you to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. At school my best friend and I used to sit in the willow tree over lunch with our notebooks scribbling away. Of course it took a skiing accident and a dislocated shoulder to finally force my hand (literally). What else does one do while everyone else is out on the snow having fun... you stay indoors with the notebook computer and a whole world starts to unfold. That first draft became my first book, BY THE SWORD. I haven’t looked back since.
How did you choose your genre?
My father loved history and he instilled that love in me from a very early age. I read every historical fiction book I could find in the library, but it was probably the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff that most inspired me.
What made you tell this story and why did you write this book?
Some years ago my husband and I visited the battlefield of Waterloo (as we are both ex military with an interest in military history - battlefields loom large on our tour agendas!) and I felt the first tug to write a story set in this period with a penniless career Army officer who suddenly finds himself elevated to the aristocracy. I stomped on the idea but it surfaced again when we found ourselves in London on Waterloo day and paid a visit to Wellesley House. Of course that was the place to be. Between the re-enactors, the country dancing and the story of the Battle of Waterloo told with vegetables (yes, the French were onions…), I was converted to Regency.
How did you come up with the title?
A working manuscript needs a name. I don’t feel it’s mine unless it has a title and this book started out as “The Gardener” (the original occupation for the hero). Believe it or not but he started out as a landscape designer. He got a little more heroic as time went by.
To be honest I can’t recall how the title came to be LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR but it suits the book and my editor was disinclined to change it.
What is your favourite scene?
I loved every scene involving Bennet, Sebastian’s devotedly loyal, cockney batman, particularly the scenes where he crosses Pierce the former Lord Somerton’s “man”. They were such fun to write.
I think for sheer heart wrenchedness (if that’s a word)... I went through a few tissues writing it... I love the scene in the graveyard where Sebastian reveals his past to Isabel.
Tell us a little about your book?
Those of you familiar with my books will know that the Regency period is not the place I normally go to find inspiration for my stories, but as I said, I wanted to explore the “twist of fate” that lands the son of a poor country parson into the heart of the aristocracy. Sebastian is one of my favourite heroes, a truly honourable man, with a strong protective instinct for the people he loves but, as my heroes do, he has a past. As does the heroine, Isabel, who has endured a loveless marriage and as an intelligent and independent woman seeks freedom from a dependent life. There is a murder to be solved and a few interesting characters to meet along the way.
Here’s the official summary...
From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.
Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.
But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?