About the Book
Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: June 12, 2018
Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future - all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth:her entire identity is a lie. Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?
About the Author
Lady Augusta Haversham firstly, though she might refuse the invitation as I am a social ‘nobody’! I would ask her if she is lonely and whether her pride is worth the price of exclusion from her family. I would also ask her if she has any regrets about her own behavior. Secondly, I would be very interested to talk to Antonio, Francesca’s birth father, about how he felt when he learned that he had a daughter and all the emotions it stirred up and if he was angry about the contract they made him sign. I think I might also like to go to tea with Mario and ask what he really thought of Giorgio’s revelation about a secret granddaughter and the search for her.
2. Did you travel to gather research for The Secret of Haversham House? If so, where did you go? If not, what did you do to gather your research for this story?
I travel to England frequently to visit family and I have lived in France twice and often pop over when I am in England. So my research has been conducted over a lifetime. I have been to Italy once but a daughter spent time there on a study abroad and shared her love of it. In terms of research of the language style, I read Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskill and watch lots of period dramas.
3. What did your writing process look like for The Secret of Haversham House?
This was my first book for adults and though I was careful not to write down to the middle grade readers obviously, the language for an adult regency book needed to be of a higher level. Also, the number of characters was much greater (necessitating some family group sheets and family trees to keep it all straight!) and the plot was more complex. I am not an extensive planner when I write (though many authors are). I know the end and perhaps the middle but then I let the story write itself. It can surprise me and is an exciting way to write. The characters are like this to some extent too. I write a bio of each character for reference at the beginning but they often change during the course of the novel and I have to go back and edit the bio. I also often write amidst lots of noise and activity. I am drawn into the writing so much that I am able to block the disturbance out, fortunately, which means I can be in the middle of my family while writing and not closeted away.
4. What inspired the idea for The Secret of Haversham House?
Social class. It is still alive and well in England but not to the extent it was in this period. One day I wondered what would happen to a person who discovered that they were actually from a much lower class. Would it change the way friends and family treated them? I decided it would and thus a main character with a secret past was born.
5. What did you as a writer take away from writing The Secret of Haversham House?
When I started the novel I did not know that Phillip was going to experience an emotional crisis. His reaction to Francesca’s heritage showed me that we all might have hidden prejudices that we only discover when circumstances tease them out. I also firmly believe that through Christ we can overcome all and any prejudices.
6. What is your current WIP? What can you share with us about this project?
Arranged marriage was obviously the standard during this period. Jane Austen’s writings show us that marrying for love was an often unattainable wish. It is a concept so foreign to our culture that I wanted to examine it. In order to do this, I created a character who is thrust into different households as a governess. She experiences the difficulties of arranged marriage as an observer. I plan on writing a third novel from the viewpoint of the bride of an arranged marriage.
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
- Writing isn’t just about writing any more.
- You feel like a fraud.
- You can spend a lot of money.
- Pay an editor. The price here can vary but it’s not cheap. This is valuable if you don’t have the best grammar and are worried about plot holes etc…
- Pay a cover designer. Again the price can vary widely. If you send your finished manuscript to a publisher they may not use your cover.
- Pay someone to design your web-site and pay to have someone maintain it.
- Pay for FB or other social media advertising.
- Hire an agent to sell your book to publishers.
- Buy promotional products to give away.
- You’ll make lots of new friends
- Critiques can be harsh
10 Things you didn’t know ( and maybe didn’t want to know) about Julie Matern
- I was born and raised in England.
- My name was going to be Victoria as my maternal grandfather died just before I was born and his name was Victor.
- I attended an all girls high school from age 11. We had a very strict uniform. At the beginning of each school year the teachers checked our uniforms to make sure they were to code. They even measured the height of our heels. They couldn’t be higher than 2”. I credit that school with giving me the best of educations and helping me believe that I could become anything.
- I love dogs. I have had 7 dogs during my life. My current dog is a Golden Retriever named Duchess.
- I was a tap dance teacher for 7 years.
- I love amateur photography. I cannot do it for money as I become neurotic that the pictures won’t be good enough and drive myself and my husband crazy!
- I sew. I sew clothes, curtains, baby bedding and table runners.
- Thrillers and detective novels are my guilty pleasure. I have subscribed to the Reader’s Digest edited books for decades. This is how I read my thrillers and detective books - edited.
- I am the mother of twins. Double trouble and double the fun. I have six children and three grandchildren.
- I hate running. Like really hate it. I could dance for three hours straight but I can’t run to the end of the block.
Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is set to make her way, and name, in society, but a deathbed confession changes her life forever. If the truth comes out, it will have a major impact on Francesca, as well as her family. Will she follow her heart, even if it means giving up on her standing in society or love? Is it possible for her to find someone who will love her for who she is vs. what she has to offer?
Rich details combine to bring Mattern’s charming Regency romance to life as she takes the reader across England, France, and Italy. Multi-layered characters quickly engage the reader. A bit of mystery is involved, which is a nice addition to the tale. The reader may notice a connection between the Regency-era high society to the modern world’s social media, especially when it comes to prejudices and judging others based on their position, wealth, etc. I look forward to reading other books by this talented author.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher as part of the SLB Blog Tour. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
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