Frequently asked questions
(Click on any question below to see the answer)
THE RAVENSCAR SERIES
Many readers have written to me asking for the titles of the books I read when doing research for the Ravenscar Trilogy. I found all of them fascinating, as I’m sure those readers will who dip into them.
The Heir – BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Barker, Felix. Edwardian London. London: Laurence King, 1995.
- Bingham, Harry. The Sons of Adam. London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003.
- Brendon, Piers. Eminent Edwardians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980.
- Chrimes, S.B. Henry VII. London: Eyre Methuen, 1977.
- Cooper, Jeremy. Victorian and Edwardian Decor: From the Gothic Revival to Art Nouveau. New York: Abbeville Press, 1987.
- Erickson, Carolly. Great Harry: The Extravagant Life of Henry VIII. New York: Summit Books, 1981.
- Fraser, Antonia, ed. The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
- Gelardi, Julia P. Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005.
- George, Margaret. The Autobiography of Henry VIII. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987.
- Hattersley, Roy. The Edwardians. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
- Jenkins, Roy. Churchill: A Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.
- Kendall, Paul Murray. Richard the Third. New York: W.W. Norton, 1955.
- _______. Warwick the Kingmaker. New York: W.W. Norton, 1957.
- Lander, J.R. The Wars of the Roses. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1966.
- Lofts, Norah. Queens of England. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1977.
- Neillands, Robin. The Wars of the Roses. London: Cassell, 1992.
- Olian, JoAnne, ed. Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from La Mode Illustrée. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1998.
- Ottewill, David. The Edwardian Garden. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.
- Priestley, J.B. The Edwardians. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.
- Prioleau, Betsy. Seductress. Penguin Books, 2003.
- Rosenfeld, Isadore, Dr. Symptoms. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
- Ross, Charles. Edward IV. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1974.
- Starkey, David. Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. Perennial: HarperCollins, 2003.
- Stuart, Amanda Mackenzie. Consuelo and Alva: Love and Power in the Gilded Age. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
- Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time. New York: Scribner Paperback, Fiction, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1995.
- Wansell, Geoffrey. Tycoon: The Life of James Goldsmith. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
- Weir, Alison. The Princes in the Tower. New York: Ballantine, 1992.
- _________. The War of the Roses. New York: Ballantine, 1995.
- Wilson, Derek. The Uncrowned Kings of England. The Black History of the Dudleys and the Tudor Throne. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005.
THE EMMA HARTE SERIES
I have gone to great lengths to make each book in this series a ‘stand-alone’ story. So for example, if you begin reading with Emma’s Secret there is enough back story and explanation of earlier events to enable you to enjoy the family history without having to read the books which came before. There is a family tree at the front of each book, providing you with a ‘who’s who’ of the main characters. I believe that anyone who enjoys any single book in the Harte series will appreciate the ongoing saga from its beginning to the present.
I certainly recommend that everyone reads: A Woman of Substance – the one that started it all! At present, the three most recent books are all available in hardcover. And all six are now out in paperback.
Just Rewards is the last book in what I call ‘the modern Harte trilogy’, after Emma’s Secret and Unexpected Blessings. It was however, not the end of the Hartes.
In 2009, I wrote a novel called Breaking The Rules. This book is in many ways a continuation of the story in Just Rewards. The first half features a member of the Harte family who has fled to New York and is living under a secret nickname “M” to protect her from past danger. As the story evolves, we revisit with many of your favourite characters in the Harte series, including Paula, Shane, Linnet, India, Tessa and of course, Jonathan Ainsley.
I do plan to write at least one more book in the Harte series. I will keep the readers posted through my website and my social media pages on all future novels.
A Woman of Substance was first published as a hardback edition in 1979. The first printing in America (the green cover) was a complete sell-out, as was the second printing (the black cover). Similarly, in the UK, all hardcover copies were sold out within a year. Subsequently, millions of copies have been printed in paperback all over the world. To date, more than 32 million copies are in print.
I am told that original copies of A Woman of Substance in hardcover are quite rare to come by… and quite valuable – especially those in good condition. If you are willing to spend money, you will perhaps be able to find a hardcover copy available at your local used bookseller. I have also been told that vendors on ebay.com periodically post hardback editions on auction. But buyer beware, these can be pricey!
For those looking for a newly printed hardcover edition of A Woman of Substance, I recommend that you become a member of The Literary Guild book club. Very recently, The Literary Guild produced a beautiful three-volume boxed set of the first three books in the Emma Harte saga (A Woman of Substance, Hold the Dream and To Be the Best). For club members, I believe the price is under $40 for the set.
Of my 34 novels to date, the seven books in the Harte series, and The Ravenscar Trilogy are part of an ongoing story. The Cavendon series starts with Cavendon Hall. I expected it to be a two book series but it ended up as four given it was a real hit with readers!
My latest book, In the Lion’s Den is the second book in The House of Falconer Series. Its first, Master of His Fate was published in 2018 and there will be more so watch this space!
The rest are what we call stand-alone novels.
Dedicated readers will have noticed that I’ve occasionally brought back characters from earlier books to play cameos later on. For example, Henry Rossiter, Emma Harte’s banker from A Woman of Substance, makes an appearance in The Women in his Life as the banker for Maximilian West. In A Sudden Change of Heart I brought back Maxim West for a short cameo as well. Ursula Westheim from The Women In His Life has an important cameo in Letter From A Stranger.
I’m also working on the long -awaited companion to A Woman of Substance. I t felt like it was the right time to return to my first but to take a closer look at the story of Blackie O’Neill and Emma. These are two characters the world instantly know – but we don’t know much about their own back stories until we met them on the Yorkshire Moors and that got my mind going. The idea of a companion to A Woman of Substance came to me over the summer and I rang my editor and she got very excited! I’ll be starting to work on the book after my UK book promotion of In the Lion’s Den and I literally can’t wait to get writing!
Yes, Jenny Seagrove was marvellous in A Woman of Substance and Hold The Dream. Unfortunately, she was contracted to make a motion picture at the time we had to start filming To Be The Best. Very simply, she was not available, and we could not wait because of TV scheduling.
The movie versions of most books are often altered to accommodate the network. As an author who has had ten books made into movies, I have to accept this.
In A Secret Affair, the CBS network wanted to have a happy ending for their Sunday Movie of the Week. So instead of the male lead dying at the hands of terrorists, he comes back at the very end, after having been held by the U.S. government for debriefing. It certainly changed the story significantly, though many readers were glad to have a sunnier ending.
Just as a point of interest, I had written two endings for the book. A Secret Affair, one happy and one sad. In the end I decided to use the rather unhappy ending, as I felt that it was more realistic. However, the network thought differently, so for the TV movie my other ending was used.
I am the author of these novels, but I am not the writer of the screenplay, although I actually did write the adaptations for Hold the Dream and Voice of the Heart. When a book is optioned to be made into a movie, the producer usually hires a screenwriter.
I have been asked the above question many more times than you would believe. It would be wonderful to have the time to read about everyone’s fascinating history. However, it is simply not possible. And more importantly, any outside story submission could present a wide array of complications. So please don’t send them. They won’t be read. I have yet to run out of ideas for my future novels. I plan to continue to rely on my own imagination.
I wish I could find a literary agent for everyone who has approached me over the past 25 years. So many people have come to me seeking advice on how to get their work published. I am just not in a position to make a recommendation to an agent, and I am not allowed to read unpublished manuscripts. Publishers advise against this because of the possibility that an established novelist might come up with a similar idea to one used in a book by a novice. The latter could claim plagiarism if their work had been read by an established author.
I suppose my best advice would be to go to any library or bookstore and pick up a copy of the latest reference books on editors and literary agents. There are many good ones that will provide you with all the guidelines and submission requirements.
First and foremost, you need to be serious about your desire to become a published author. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and dedication to hone your skills and produce a work worthy of publication. But like anything else, if you possess the talent and the determination, you will likely succeed.
I usually take a year, sometimes longer, to write a novel. When I am actually writing the book I work seven days a week. Fortunately, I am an early riser, and I get up around 5am. I am usually at my desk by 5:30am. I take a short break at noon for a snack, and then continue working until 4pm. Of course when I am in my office at home I am not always writing. Sometimes I am editing, doing research, re-writing, or thinking. The latter takes most of my time.
When I’m not writing my own books, and even sometimes while I am, I tend to find myself reading, particularly about English history.
Beyond my own reading, I do quite a bit of research in preparation for my novels and I do have researchers also. I always start my research several months in advance of writing a new novel. These days, the Internet happens to be an invaluable tool for checking dates and facts, which my researchers use.