today I have the pleasure to spend some time with the author of The Scandalous Miss Brightwells Serie.
Hi Beverly, and thank you for coming by!
Hello, and thank you for inviting me!
So, how did you come up with the idea for your book?
Devil’s Run is the third in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series, so the idea was sown in the previous book (Rogue’s Kiss) when the heroine, seven years earlier, is run over by the carriage of the heroine in that book.
All the stories in the series are stand-alones, however the romances in each book are helped along through the match-making efforts of the two beautiful, penniless sisters of book one (Fanny and Antoinette in Rake’s Honour) who’ve made rags-to-riches marriages.
At first, Fanny and Antoinette don’t like my heroine, Eliza, who has just become betrothed to their awful cousin, George Bramley. They think Eliza is cold and distant but when she rescues their children from drowning, they decide they have to do whatever it takes to stop her marrying awful George. Their ideal candidate is the lovely, noble, honourable, kind and gorgeous Rufus Patmore who has come to the estate where they all live to buy a horse from George. The problem is that Eliza has decided she needs to marry George because she’s learned that her long-lost illegitimate son is a regular playmate of the children in George’s household.
Did you always have the reins of the story or the people in it tried to take over?
Goodness! On the one hand it would be great to have control, on the other, it would take away all the fun! I find that I let the characters do things their way for the most part, but when I’m about three quarters in, I have to crack the whip to divert them to their Happy Ever After.
Do you have a day job?
I do contracts during the year, so the pattern these days is, perhaps, a 3 or four-month contract with a month or two off, in between. Mostly, communications, or as a content writer, sometimes in government, or in education. I’m not fond of routine, so change and contrasts suit me well. During my 20+ years as a pilot’s wife we’ve lived in Solomon Islands, Japan, Namibia, Botswana, Norway, Canada and now we’re in Australia which, with two children, makes life more settled for them. So yes, I love being settled, but not having a fixed routine.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
This last month I wrote 50,000 words in 4 weeks which was much more than I usually do, but I had a killer deadline and Devil’s Run ended up being 20,000 words longer than I expected. I thought I was leading up to the end at 60,000 words and then realised that while I had sorted out the external conflict regarding Eliza’s determination to be reunited with the child she was separated from, I hadn’t got to the internal conflict, and that was much deeper and revolved around attitudes of not just the characters themselves, but how the society of the day viewed ‘fallen’ women. I tried to keep the light, amusing tone with matchmaking Antoinette who, as a married woman who has provided her husband, the ageing Earl of Quamby, an heir, she can have as many affairs as she likes. I then had to juxtapose this with the total abhorration society felt for an unmarried woman was wasn’t a virgin, like Eliza who was so badly used in her youth.
But, to get back to routine, usually it’s more measured and sedate though it’s common for me to be working on a first draft of one book while editing another, with two or three others at various stages of completion.
Has your environment or upbringing colored your writing?
I was born in Lesotho, a landlocked mountain kingdom in Africa and, as a result of the many generations and adventures of my family working for the British Colonial Service (on my dad’s side), in Lesotho, Botsana, Tanganyika, etc, since the early 1800s; or owning a gold mine on my mother’s side, I write Africa-set romaces with adventure and intrigue and mystery under my other (real) name, Beverley Eikli.
My personal story gave me a real taste of adventure and romance which I would hope comes out in my books, even if they’re set in a different era. I met my gorgeous husband, a Norwegian pilot, when I was working in a luxury safari lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the day before I flew home to Australia, and we had a whirlwind courtship (only two weeks in each other’s company after 8 months of snail mail between Botswana and Australia) followed by a fairytale wedding at Oslo’s castle, in Norway. That was 23 years ago and I feel so lucky in life and love.
What do your friend and family think about your being a writer?
My husband is really supportive and interested. He’s wonderful! And both my daughters love writing. Our eldest, at 16, is thinking of being an academic, or a science writer, and she has her own editor in the US who edits her fan fiction. Our youngest is 12, and writing stories is her favourite part of school.
What does your writing space look like?
Two years ago we moved into a house, which people describe as looking like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. It’s opposite a rambling, Gothic 19th century insane asylum and the view from my writing space is very inspirational. So is my writing space, itself, which I also use to make historical costumes. One of my favourites is a 1780s polonaise with panniers, while my most recent is a tudor gown and Anne Boleyn ‘French Hood’ I made for my daughter, as she wanted a Tudor Feast for her 16th birthday. I’m about to get started on Regency gowns for all three of us so we can attend the Jane Austen festival next year, in style. I’ll also start posting pictures of my creations (and their inspiration) on my Beverley Oakley FB page, including drone footage panning over the asylum, so if there are any interested costumers out there, stay tuned. J
Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
Definitely a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer until about two thirds or three quarters of the way in, which is when I have to stop, think, and then more actively guide my characters to say and do what they need to in order to get their happy ending and serve justice to the villain.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
I was very excited when my Regency, The Maid of Milan (written under my Beverley Eikli name), was shortlisted in the UK Festival of Romance’s Top Ten Reads for 2014. (I loved that book, though not the cover. However in traditional publishing an author has little input into the cover which is why I enjoy my involvement in the books where I’ve got my rights back and can decide exactly what cover I like, and a lot more.)
I’ve also just been nominated for my third RONE award, (an anthology with two other great writers, Heather Boyd and Donna Cummings) which is a big thing in Indie publishing.
It’s great to win competitions or win awards or be nominated, but the actual most rewarding part would be the people who are part of my writing world. Not the characters I create and who I have to live with in my head all day, but the people who ‘get’ what I do, my fellow writers who I catch up with online or at conference; and then, it’s SO exciting when a reader contacts me to say he or she has enjoyed, or got something out of, my stories.
Which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
After 50 Shades of Gray, one of my publishers at the time wanted me to really make the book I was writing – Rake’s Honour – sizzling. I found writing those sex scenes really hard – though my husband loved it! I had to balance the emotional with the physical in a really fast-paced short novel. (As I mentioned, Rake’s Honour is book one in this series, and it’s generally free on all platforms, or through my website.) When I got the rights back I reworked it a bit and toned it down a little, but it’s definitely the sizzling start of the series (due to the fiesty characters of Fanny and Antoinette) whereas the following books, Rogue’s Kiss and Devin’s Run, have sweeter heroines, and tone is sensuous, or playful, rather than sizzling.
Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
Well, it’s the most wonderful job in the world and I wouldn’t change what I do for the world because I adore creating characters and dropping them into complex plots and giving them their happy ever after. That said, practicality has to weigh in as some months it’ll pay the bills, others months are really great, and then other months I have to find a regular contract to top up the finances.
Strangest place you’ve brushed your teeth?
When I was locked up overnight in French Guiana (and threatened with deportation) after arriving at midnight in the capital, Cayenne, to work on a three-month contract for the Canadian airborne survey company I was working for at the time.
Well, Beverly, it was a true pleasure to have you!
Thanks so much for having me!
Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter.
Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.
BLURB: Devil’s Run is the third in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series.
A rigged horse race – and a marriage offer riding on the outcome.
When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?
George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.
Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.
But when the handsome and charming Rufus Patmore buys a horse from her betrothed, George Bramley, whose household her son visits from the foundling home, her heart is captured and the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.
**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.
“And there’s nothing else you’d like, my dear? No?” Straightening after receiving a polite rebuff, George Bramley found it an effort to keep the syrup in his tone. His bride-to-be had not even looked at him as she’d declined the piece of marchpane he’d been certain would win him at least a smile.
Hovering at her side, he weighed up the advantages of a gentle rebuke, then decided against it. Until yesterday, he’d thought her quiet demeanour suggested a charmingly pliant nature. Now he was not so sure. In fact, suddenly, he was not sure of anything.
“A glass of lemonade, perhaps, my angel? Or a gentle stroll?”
“I would prefer to be left alone.” Miss Montrose waved a languid hand in his general direction, while she continued to gaze at the still lake beside which their picnic party had situated itself.
The languid arm-wave had not even been accompanied by a demure thank you as subtle acknowledgement of her gratitude that not only had Mr Bramley, heir to a viscountcy, stepped in to rescue Miss Eliza Montrose from impoverishment, he was prepared to treat her publicly as if she were as fine a catch as he could have made.
A soft titter brought his head round sharply, but the ladies behind him, bent over the latest Ackerman’s Repository, appeared occupied with their own gossip as they lounged on cushions beneath the canopy that had been erected to protect them from the sun.
Awkwardly, he looked for occupation as he continued to eye his intended with a mixture of irritation and desire—both lustful desire, and the desire to put her in her place.
The idea of the latter made him harden. She was beautiful, this quiet, apparently retiring, young woman who said so little, but whose eyes spoke such volumes. The afternoon sun glinted on her honey-gold hair and imbued her porcelain skin with a warm glow. The skin that he could see, at any rate.
He pushed back his shoulders. On their wedding night in six weeks, when he’d at last take possession of her, he’d rip that modesty to shreds. The skin she was so at pains to hide would be his, not only to see, but to caress and taste. When she was his wife, the beautiful, distant Miss Eliza Montrose would no longer get away with paying George Bramley so little attention. No, he’d have her screaming and writhing at his command. He would make her like the things he did to her; or at least, show him she did if she enjoyed harmony as much as she appeared to. None of this languid reclining like a half-drugged princess in his presence. He’d keep her on her toes, ready to leap to his bidding at the sound of his footstep. She’d learn to be grateful.
Feeling ignored and superfluous, he turned to his uncle’s detestable wife, Lady Quamby, and said with a smile, “Perhaps you and Miss Montrose would like to accompany me to the turret. Since you appear to have enjoyed this new novel, Northanger Abbey, so much, you might be interested to know there is an excellent view of the ruined monastery not far from here.”
He was just priding himself on being so attuned to the feminine inclination for pleasure, when Lady Quamby half turned and sent him a desultory smile. “Oh, I think Miss Eliza looks perfectly comfortable, and Fanny and I are having such a lovely little coze.” As if imitating Miss Montrose, she waved a languid hand in his general direction. “Why don’t you take Mr Patmore off to see it? The two of you can tell us all about it when you return.”
The fact that Miss Montrose didn’t deign to even speak for herself, much less glance in his direction, sent the blood surging to Bramley’s brain. By God, when he was married to Eliza Montrose, the limpid look of love so lacking now would be pasted onto her face every time he crossed her line of vision. She’d soon learn what was good for her.
He inclined his head, hiding his fury, and was on the point of leaving when Lady Quamby’s sister, Fanny —for he’d be damned if he’d accord the little strumpet the title of Lady Fenton—leapt up from her chair. She’d been poring over the latest fashions, but now she smiled brightly up at him.
“I’ll come with you, Cousin George. We’ll have an excellent view of the children learning to row from the battlements. I told Nanny Brown she could take them in the two boats if they’d been good.”
Bramley stared down her liveliness. In fact, he was about to give up the idea of going up to the battlements altogether when his other guest, Rufus Patmore, suddenly rose and joined Fanny’s side with a late and unexpected show of enthusiasm.
“Capital idea!” declared Rufus.
George flashed them both a dispassionate look. He’d chosen to invite his betrothed, Miss Montrose—whose chaperone was currently tucked up in the green bed chamber nursing a head cold—to be his guest at his uncle’s estate, Quamby House, after receiving intelligence that Ladies Quamby and Fenton would be safely in London with their husbands and children. Instead, the brazen Brightwell sisters—as they’d infamously been called when he’d first made their acquaintance—had altered their plans, and were now in dogged attendance, reminding him as they always had, of some awful tenacious climbing plant, determined to find a foothold wherever they could in order to rise in the world.
Rufus, a last-minute addition and acquaintance from his club, Boodles, was here because he’d just purchased a horse from Bramley the night before. Now, Rufus was gazing at Lady Fenton, with the same dewy-eyed fondness George was used to seeing reflected in the eye of his uncle, the Earl of Quamby, who called the Brightwell sisters his precious rose-buds. To George, they were common dandelions! And now they had overridden Quamby House, the rambling Queen Anne manor house and estate that would have passed to George the moment his uncle quit this mortal coil, were it not for the snotty-nosed infant Lady Quamby had borne far too early in her marriage to George’s uncle.
George shook his head. He’d changed his mind. Only, there was Rufus striding across the lawn, skirting the lake with Fanny at his side, and George didn’t want to be seen as petulant for having offered the suggestion in the first place. Or have his snubbed and ignored status so much on parade, since the two remaining ladies—Miss Montrose and Lady Quamby—had their heads bent together in deep discussion, with no apparent interest in seeking his company.
By God, he thought, clenching his fists as he set off after them at a brisk trot, they’d all rue the day they showed George Bramley so little respect.
Other Books in the Series:
Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.
Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.
You can get in contact with Beverley at: