Friday, May 2, 2008

Title Magic meets Sarah Mallory

Sarah Mallory is a brand new name in historical romance, attracting interest as far away as Singapore! The launch of Sarah Mallory represents a new departure for an award winning U.K. author of 'sweet' romance (as Melinda Hammond). Sarah is turning up the temperature with More than a Governess, published in the US in April by Harlequin Historicals. The book will be available in the UK early next year.

Major Collingham has a reputation as a devil on the battlefield and in the bedroom. He meets his match when he engages Juliana Wrenn as a governess for his children.

Today Sarah is talking to Title Magician Evonne about her new venture.

Welcome Sarah to Title Magic.
A new name and a new style. Can you tell us more about what characterises Sarah Mallory?
Hi, it’s lovely to be with you on Title Magic! Sarah Mallory novels will still be the mix of romance and adventure that I love to find in historical novels (and with a touch of humour) but they will concentrate more on the relationship between the hero and heroine and be more sensual, too.

I know you love to write romantic adventure. Can you tell us a little about Juliana's journey from London to Lancashire, which forms the backbone of the plot of More Than a Governess?
I frequently make the journey by train between London and my home in Yorkshire. Anyone who has been stuck at Euston or Kings Cross (or any other station, for that matter) will know the frustrations of modern day travel – it has made me think about how these journeys were conducted in earlier times – during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries great improvements were made to our road system but journeys were still slow and hazardous – I am amazed at how much people did travel! Juliana’s journey is supposed to take only a couple of days – it is planned by Major Collingham, who is used to travelling long distances in the Peninsula. He soon learns that moving a column of soldiers is very different to taking four children some 200 miles north, and Julianna is determined to protect the children at all costs.

We hear a lot about a city or a country being almost an extra character in a book. In the case of More Than a Governess the weather has something of a starring role -- how did that come about?
When I start a new book I always have to set it in a particular year – once it is written it might not be obvious to the reader, but it helps me with plotting and characters. I settled on 1816 as the year for More Than A Governess, and as I researched I realised that this was particularly wet. It seemed obvious to me that the weather would affect the journey north; the difficulty was to make it interesting!

Juliana is clearly no simpering miss -- what are the most enjoyable things about writing a spirited, feisty heroine?
Oh dear, the spirited, feisty heroine sounds so clich├ęd, doesn’t it? However, I believe there were many strong women in those days – they had to be to survive, although their career choices were very limited – marriage was the obvious one, a governess was another. I believe in a marriage of minds, a partnership, so the man and woman must come together as equals, both giving something to the relationship. I enjoy creating a heroine who can stand on her own feet – I want my reader to think that if all else fails she can live on her own and survive and that getting her man is the icing on the cake.

The Major comes over as a deliciously man's man. What are the characteristics that you would always want to include in any hero?
First of all my heroes have to have integrity. They do not have to be perfect – you may notice that the Major is not that much at ease with his children at the beginning of the book. After all, he has been away for most of their childhood (and in those days many men saw very little of their offspring, so there was nothing unusual in this). They do not even have to be particularly handsome: women are very good at seeing past a handsome face to the character beneath the skin.

The Regency and Georgian periods are very popular in historical romance. What is it that particularly draws you to that era?
I love the energy of the Georgian period: by the Regency it is tempered more by the manners that become even more restrictive in the Victorian period. I think the Georgians believed that anything was possible – a poor man or woman could progress by his wits and become part of the ruling class. They were bold, brash, sometimes very rude and could be extremely cruel, but they were moving forward – this was the time of great discoveries in science and industry. A fascinating period.

Research is essential when writing historicals -- can you tell us a little about your methods, and the things you’ve learned while researching? Any gems that you couldn’t use for this book, but which will find their way into print one day?
The awful weather of 1816 was due to the eruption of the volcano Tambora in Indonesia the year before. Of course at the time no one in England understood about dust in the atmosphere etc affecting the climate but the results in England were catastrophic – it was called the year without a summer: crops were ruined, many were prophesying it was the end of the world and preachers were telling their congregations that the bad weather was due to man’s sinfulness. There are so many more stories that could be written about this!

When you're not writing, what sort of books do you like to read?
Anything and everything – it depends what comes along at that particular time. Historicals, of course, and I enjoy factual books about the past. The writers I particularly enjoy write contemporary novels - P D James, I admire her writing style enormously - and I love Katie Fforde’s wonderful romances – they are my comfort reads, along with Georgette Heyer (naturally).

What next for Sarah Mallory? Is there a new book bursting to get out?
There are lots of books bursting to get out – I have to be very disciplined to finish one before I think too much about the next one. I have a book currently with my editor, so it is a nail biting time. Most of the writers I know are always nervous about “the next book” – however, if we did not worry, we would become complacent which is never a good thing.

Thanks to Sarah for joining us today on Title Magic.

Sarah can be found at and blogging with a wonderful group of historical authors at historical


Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Thanks so much for blogging with us today. I enjoyed reading about the research you did for this novel--details like that bring a story to life for me as a reader.

I imagine several of our Title Magicians can comment on the frustration of travel after going to RT. I only went in my mind so my travel was perfect! :)

I did want to ask one question: Have you ever considered writing in a different historical period, and if so, what period?

Thanks again,

Savanna Kougar said...

Sarah, how utterly fascinating. I always love to know how authors create and why. The whole matter of the weather and how that is worked into your novel as another character, wonderful!
BTW your cover art has a sensual sweet loveliness to it that I just adore.
Boy, do I know what you mean. I just submitted a novella to one of my e-publishers. But I have no clue if it's what they're looking for. Nerve-wracking time.
Thanks for being with us today. Like Evonne mentioned what a lovely contrast between you and yesterday's guest author. Being very eclectic in nature, I appreciate both of you, and the different types of stories/genres you write in.

Sarah Mallory said...

Thank you for the warm welcome and comments. It was lovely to be your guest here and I shall certainly drop in when I can!

Savanna - I too adore the cover to this book: isn't she gorgeous?

Anitra, I just love the Georgian period, so all my published novels are set in Georgian or Regency times. However, I have written a book set in Tudor times, but it is still sitting in a drawer! Maybe one day.....

Sarah Mallory

Savanna Kougar said...

Sarah, thanks for being our guest. I know e-publishing and small print publishers are taboo for some authors. However, there is room for a wider variety of historical periods. Have you considered submitting your Tudor mss to say a publisher like Bethany House. They advertise in Romantic Times.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Believe me, I know the feeling of "one day, perhaps" :)

I've got about 5 German Medieval romances that languish in my electronic drawer. I still love them but the time isn't right but someday . . . :)

Thanks so much for blogging with us. I also wanted to comment about P.D James as I'm a die hard fan. I just read a departure for her, The Children Of Men--I throughly enjoyed it. It's one she wrote back in 1992 but I just recently got a copy. Very different from her mystery work but still her characterizations and plot were outstanding!

Trish Milburn said...

Hi, Sarah. Sorry I'm so late in making a comment. I seem to be crazy busy lately. Just wanted to say thanks so much for visiting with us here at Title Magic, and I wanted to compliment your covers. They're beautiful.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Sara, sorry to be so late to the party. I'm a great fan of historical, especially Regency and Georgian. I'm also a fan of the strong heroine who stands up for herself and gives the hero a run for his money. I'll keep an eye out for your book when it arrives on the shelves as it sounds exactly what I like. Thank you for being a guest blogger!

Holli Bertram said...


Welcome to Title Magic! You're book sounds wonderful. Having travelled with three children in this century, I can only imagine the the "adventures" of traveling with four children in 1816.
Your description of your hero reminds me a bit of Captain Von Trapp in Sound of Music. I loved his journey towards intimacy with his children.
I'm looking forward to reading your book, and thanks for stopping by!


Lexie O'Neill said...

Thank you so much for being a guest blogger! I'm sorry I didn't get over here sooner--graduation at the college where I'm a faculty member.

I'd actually found a few minutes to look at the blog on Friday (but no time to formulate a comment). I loved your covers!!! I shared them
with my hubbie--they're the kind of elegant I love.

Actually, I remember trying to leave a comment! Because I had a question--how do you learn about
the nitty gritty details of life in
a historical time period?