Interview with Hazel Statham, Author of ‘Consequence’

 

Hazel read her first Regency Romance, Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, when she was seventeen and knew that at last she had found her era.

She had been writing since she was fifteen and had mainly been influenced by authors like Austen, the Brontes and Sabatini, but Georgette Heyer opened up the romance and elegance of the eighteen and nineteenth century and she fell head over heels in love with it.

She devoured her books in very quick succession and wanted nothing more than to recreate her own Regency world. History had always been her favorite subject at school and it was just one small step to portray it in her work.

However, despite today’s trend to produce ‘hotter’ novels, she writes ‘traditional’ Regency Romance and closes the door on her characters when they retire. So much emotion can be conveyed by a mere glance or a single word that she doesn’t feel it necessary to leave the metaphorical door open to convey the emotions of the moment. The merest hint is often sufficient to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to go into detail is totally unnecessary.

Hazel has been married to her husband since 1969 and they share their home with a lovely Labrador named Mollie. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, Hazel’s other ruling passion is animals and, until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities.

Hazel loves to hear from her readers and promises to answer all mail.

Visit her online at www.hazel-statham.co.uk

Q: Thank you for this interview, Hazel. Can you tell us what your latest book, Consequence, is all about?

In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London to visit his cousin in Paris. Here he meets and falls in love with Julie, the British ambassador’s daughter. Thinking she would be horrified if she learned of his reputation, Marcel fights the attraction; but when he is wounded while saving her from the unwanted advances of a less-than-desirable, would-be suitor, Marcel finds that she returns his affections.

Ultimately, vengeance conspires against them; at their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel’s previous life of misdeeds, and she’s led to believe that he only married her to please the king. With this insurmountable gulf suddenly between them, will Marcel prove his reformation, woo his wife, and find happiness with her, or is the sudden desolation in Julie’s heart impossible to overcome? Have Marcel’s games finally caught up to him?

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Marcel is very much a man of his time, an aristocrat with a licentious past who falls deeply in love with Julie Markham, the innocent daughter of the British ambassador.  He marries with the desperate hope to prove his reformation, but the fates conspire against him.

Julie deeply loves her husband but is devastated by the thought that he married her only to appease the king.  Her heart is broken on her wedding day when she is informed of Marcel’s previous life-style and that he has killed his opponent in a duel.  She has no remembrance of him confessing his love for her and believes she has contracted a marriage of convenience – which she abhors.

Julie’s family and Marcel’s cousin Stefan know nothing of the situation and believe the couple to be living a happy and contented life in London not knowing the gulf that lies between them.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination? 

I have to confess that they are totally from my imagination, although I suppose it is possible to be subconsciously influenced by people one sees and meets.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I usually have a vague outline to begin with but my characters dictate where the story goes and it generally unfolds as I write with many unexpected twists and turns.

Q: Your book is set in Paris and London.  Can you tell us why you chose these cities in particular?

They are where my characters live and were the two major cities between which the nobility flowed.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

To a certain degree, yes.  If Marcel needed to remove himself from London then his townhouse in Paris would provide an obvious alternative.  When they return to England after their marriage, London would be the natural place to go. 

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

“…but to go to Julie with his hands soiled with Lawrence’s death, was almost unthinkable. He said almost for he still held a ray of hope. If she should know nothing of it, could he in all conscience hide it from her? A small voice at the back of his brain said yes; while common sense warned him beware. A plan was fast forming in his mind, one that would not be put aside. If they should marry and he secured her affections, perhaps then he would find a way of proving himself to her before she should become aware of his past, hoping that by then at least he would have some chance of her forgiving him. It was a selfish plan, without a doubt, it was a foolish plan, but his heart would not listen to reason. Reason played no part when his entire happiness, indeed his whole future was in jeopardy.”

The more he thought, the more his thoughts returned to this, until as the fire completely died away, he was firm in the conviction that if he was to have any hopes of attaching Julie’s life to his own, this was what he must do. Julie represented all he held dear. Believing her to be his salvation, he must put aside all thoughts of Lawrence’s death. It was something he would face in the future if the occasion should arise, as for now, he must reply to the king as quickly as possible,

 

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

His grace was not very much hurt, but of a sudden had taken a liking to being pampered and allowed Julie, when she returned, to bathe his temple with a cooling lotion. She perched herself on the arm of his chair requiring him to hold a small china bowl wherein reposed the soothing liquid and gently bathed the offending lump.

The duke, deeming it prudent not to mention Coustellet, in an attempt to divert her thoughts asked lightly, “Did you enjoy your season in London?” 

Julie smiled ruefully, thankful for the diversion. “I’m afraid my aunt who was to have brought me out suffered a seizure just before the season began and so my debut had to be postponed. However, Papa has promised that I will have a season next year.” 

 “No doubt your debut will be a great success, my dear,” he said, smiling. Indeed, it is an event I shall look forward to with great anticipation.” 

As Julie gently smiled in response, he involuntarily became fascinated by the turn of her delicate cheek, and for the moment, imagined his lips resting there. Mentally taking himself to task, he attempted to banish such errant thoughts but against his will, the fascination remained. When, inadvertently spilling some of the liquid on his coat, Julie leaned closer to his profile in an attempt to dab away the offending liquid, he found the temptation impossible to resist. Without conscious thought, he gently tilted up her chin and tenderly kissed the sweet roundness of her face. 

For a moment she gazed blankly at him, and then with a sudden cry, ran from the room and up to her apartments, locking her door against all intruders and there spent the remainder of the day.

The Duke of Lear, cursing himself for being every type of fool reflected that he had treated her hardly better than Coustellet by taking advantage of her trusting innocence. It had however, taken him completely by surprise that he could feel so tenderly toward her, for he had thought himself impervious to her charms and it was in some consternation that he also retired to his room. 

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Hazel.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my latest release and for your very kind interest in my work.  You will find excerpts and reviews of all my other  books at www.hazel-statham.co.uk

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