I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree LUCINDA BRANT today to talk with me about her book, Salt Bride. Lucinda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Georgian historical romances and mysteries. Her novels have been described as from ‘the Golden Age of romance with a modern voice’ and ‘heart wrenching drama with a happily ever after’.
Lucinda has degrees in History and Political Science from the Australian National University and a post-graduate diploma in Education from Bond University, where she was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lucinda taught History and Geography at an exclusive boarding school for young ladies. She drinks too much coffee and is addicted to Pinterest. Come join her there in her 18th Century world
‘Quizzing glass and quill, into my sedan chair and away! The 1700s rock!‘
How did you discover indieBRAG?
Through Facebook announcements, and author colleagues receiving the award.
Please tell me about your book, Salt Bride.
When the politically powerful and eminently eligible bachelor Lord Salt, the earl of Salt Hendon, suddenly and inexplicably marries Jane Despard, the beautiful daughter of a poor squire, the nobility are appalled and intrigued in equal measure. Many believe Salt has been taken in by a beautiful face. But Jane and Salt share a secret past of heartache and mistrust, and are forced into a marriage neither wants. Enter Diana St. John, who will go to extreme lengths, even murder, to hold Salt’s attention. It remains to be seen if the newlyweds can overcome past prejudices and sinister opposition to fall in love all over again.
I have to admit for an historical fiction lover, I haven’t read stories often in this period until recently. What can you tell me about this period that might inspire me to read more?
Well, the fashions are pretty fabulous! All those wonderfully embroidered silks and velvets, gold thread and matching buttons. And that’s just the men’s clothes! Seriously though, the 18th Century was a dynamic period in our history—a time of exploration, enlightenment, and revolution, when the pace of change rivalled our own. It was also the age of comfort and high fashion, of ritual, traditions, and codes of conduct that made all manner of daily interactions between people so much more complex and mannered. All this makes for rich romantic story telling.
How long have you been drawn into this period of history?
Since I was eleven years old. In school and later at university, and as a teacher, I read widely and studied and taught about different historical periods, but I am always drawn back to the 1700s. There is so much to learn and so much that fascinates me about it.
Please tell me a little about Jane Despard. What are her likes and dislikes?
Jane is self-contained, quiet, sweet natured, and no-nonsense. She also has a deep-seated belief that good will always triumph over evil. She is blessed with great beauty, the sort of beauty that causes people to openly stare. She is aware of her looks, but because she is humble and kind-hearted, she goes out of her way to make people feel comfortable in her presence. Those with a less than wholesome heart misjudges her as weak and dull. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jane possesses an inner-strength and a strong faith that she draws on in times of distress. Having grown up in the country, and not being the son her father wanted, she has led a simple and rather uneventful life. She likes to garden, embroider and play the pianoforte. She knows how to run a household, and her greatest wish is to be a good wife and mother, and helpmate to her husband, whom she loves. She dislikes cruelty in all its forms.
What is some of the historical facts in your story?
The weather! Truly! J The winter of 1762/63 was one of the worst on record, with the river Thames freezing over, and many people dying from exposure in the London streets. I read lots of primary sources—newspaper reports and diaries—for the year 1763, and the political and parliamentary machinations of the day are discussed by my characters. The peace negotiations of the Seven Years War, George the Third’s favorite, Lord Bute and whether he would or would not resign as Prime Minister (then called the First Lord of the Treasury) and who would take his place, are all based on fact.
Would you please share an excerpt?
I’d love to! This excerpt is from Chapter Two.
“You will sit, Miss Despard.”
It was a command Jane ignored.
“Very well. Let that be your last act of defiance,” Salt replied coldly, taking a turn about the room, circling her as a lion does its prey. “Tomorrow, once you and I have been up before parson, spiritually and legally we become one. Make no mistake, Miss Despard, I am that one. As that one, you, as my wife, will act in accordance with what is in my best interests. Never forget: Wherever you go, whomever you see, however you conduct yourself, it is I that society sees, not you.
“You will not do or say anything that I do not want you to do or say. You will not go anywhere I do not want you to go. You will do precisely as you are bidden. Do I make myself perfectly understandable?”
Jane understood. He was intent on making her realize how thoroughly undeserving she was of the social position to which he was reluctantly elevating her. And yet, what she was thinking was how much he had altered since they had danced at the Salt Hunt Ball four years ago. It had been her eighteenth birthday that day, and her first proper social engagement, her coming out as a young lady.
During the hunting season, and later the Salt Hunt Ball, indeed during the whole of that wonderful autumn month preceding her eighteenth birthday, he had been an entirely different being from the one standing before her now. She remembered that behind those thin uncompromising lips there were beautiful white teeth, and that he possessed an infectious, good-humored laugh that made his brown eyes crinkle at the corners. And then there was the summerhouse…
Instantly, she mentally pulled herself up.
It didn’t do to let her thoughts wander to the summerhouse by the lake and what had occurred there. The summerhouse made her acutely aware of the consequences of her impulsive actions, and that only brought forth darker, more unspeakable memories, memories she tried desperately to suppress. Nurse had told her not to dwell, she must go forward, not look back. That was the last piece of advice Nurse had given her before her death. She missed her nurse terribly. She wished with all her heart she was with her today. She needed her strength and her no-nonsense approach to life. Go forward, don’t look back, child! Looking forward meant accepting the Earl of Salt Hendon as he was now, not as he had been during that fateful autumn.
“I will take your silence as assent and not stubborn disobedience,” he stated, circling her once more. “You are not unintelligent, and thus you will see that if you play your part in public, if you adhere to the strict upbringing you had as the daughter of a country squire, society will, given time, come to accept you not only as my wife, but as the new Countess of Salt Hendon. As Lady Salt, you will soon be invited everywhere. As for Polite Society’s private opinion of you, that is of supreme indifference to me.” He signaled impatiently for his secretary to step forward and then continued. “But how you conduct yourself as my wife is very important to me and to my family. To this end, I have had a document drawn up which sets out the rules governing how you will live as Lady Salt. Ellis will read it aloud and you, Miss Despard, will sign it as evidence of your understanding of how your life will be conducted from this day forward…”
How did you come up with the title for your book?
As the story is about Jane’s journey as the bride of the Earl of Salt Hendon, “Salt Bride” seemed like the perfect title.
Who designed your book cover?
Larry Rostant—one of the world’s top digital photographers and book cover artists, and named in Lürzer’s 200 Best Digital Artists worldwide 15/16. Larry’s vision for the cover was “…to create a modern Georgian Portrait’. And he has succeeded admirably. J
What’s up next for you?
I recently released the third instalment in my historical mystery series DEADLY PERIL: A Georgian Historical Mystery (Alec Halsey Series Book 3), and have now returned to the Roxton Family Saga to write the fifth and sixth instalments. I am also having my books made into audiobooks. Performed by British actor Alex Wyndham, it has been an exciting collaborative experience that I’ve enjoyed immensely. Alex has brought a whole other dimension to my stories.
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Lucinda Brant who is the author of, Salt Bride, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Salt Bride, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.