Today, we've got talented, multi-award winning historical author, Anna Campbell, to visit! She's here to tell us about one aspect of her research for her latest release!
Over to you, Anna!
Thanks, Sharon. Hiya Love Cats! Thank you for inviting me back here. I love visiting!
Last week, I had a new book out. That’s always an exciting event in Campbellandia, as you can imagine. WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in my Sons of Sin series and it details the turbulent romance between childhood friends Camden Sedgemoor, Duke of Rothermere, and Penelope Thorne.
Speaking of rocky, things literally start out that way. While the majority of the story takes place back in England in stately homes and glittering ballrooms, the beginning of WHAT A DUKE DARES is a road trip. Pen, my intrepid and headstrong heroine, is facing down a band of marauding bandits in a ramshackle inn in the Italian Alps in February when who should turn up to save her but the man she’s spent nine long years trying to forget, Camden Rothermere? Even worse, Cam insists upon escorting her home to England (why doesn’t she want him to? I think you need to read the book to find out!).
I’ve illustrated this blog with photos from my own trip to this spectacular part of the world in 1985 (apologies for the faded colour!). Imagine these high, rugged mountains covered in thick snow and someone trying to cross them with a horse and carriage and you get an idea of Pen’s travel difficulties. My friend and I were in a very nippy little Citroen and it was April, but even then a lot of the high passes were closed and snow and ice frequently made driving dangerous.
This particular book involved a lot of travel for the characters. People always seemed to be popping off here and there. There was not just the Italian journey, there was a yacht trip from Genoa to England, a trip to Cam’s Derbyshire family seat, and a journey from London to Liverpool. I don’t know about Pen and Cam, but I was ready for a cup of tea and a nice lie-down by the time I got to the end of writing it!
The problem, for a writer at least, of all this travel is that you need to be careful with your timing. There’s nothing worse when a reader finds themselves ripped from the story because someone travels from London to Edinburgh in a couple of hours when only horse-drawn transport is available. So I needed to work out just how slowly people were likely to travel through the Alps in midwinter (answer: very slowly indeed) and I needed to estimate distances and likely travel times for all the other journeys. Luckily in the Regency, high speed mail coaches published schedules for their routes so working out believable travel times in England is reasonably straightforward.
But what happens when your characters leave dry land? I’m a very enthusiastic swimmer but boats are beyond my ken apart from the fact that they float (hopefully!) and if you point them in the right direction, they’ll carry you to interesting places.
I needed approximate timing for Genoa to Folkestone on the Kentish coast under the power of sail alone. So I called on an expert! My talented writer friend Helene Young lives on a yacht so I requested her help in charting a voyage for Cam and Pen on a thoroughbred of a boat, and she came up trumps with a trip of around a fortnight. Just right for my story! That’s Helene in the photo holding her Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award from 2011. Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
I hope you’ll travel to your nearest bookseller (even if they’re as close as the internet!) and check out Pen and Cam’s tumultuous love story. For all the physical journeys they undertake, their greatest journeys are the shifts their hearts and minds make! Only then can they look forward to happily ever after.
But of course, that’s true about any worthwhile romance novel, isn’t it?
So let’s talk fantasy travel. If you could do a road trip anywhere at all, where would you go? Who would you choose as your traveling companion and why? I’ve got a signed copy of WHAT A DUKE DARES (international) for someone who leaves a comment today. Good luck!
Where to get WHAT A DUKE DARES:
The Book Depository
Barnes and Noble
Anywhere? To where my sister and her family live.ReplyDelete
Who with? My husband, of course! Not just because I enjoy travelling with him, but because he hasn't been able to visit them in over 10 years (re his current job), whereas my daughter and I were able to visit them 6 years ago in their "new home".
Laney, sounds like you're definitely due a visit WITH your husband. Hope you get there!Delete
I agree with Anna 100%, Laney - I hope you and your dh get to travel together to visit family soon!Delete
I would take my sister with me because we always have so much fun together.ReplyDelete
Amy, sisters are featuring strongly in the dream travel so far. How nice!Delete
Amy, how lovely that you and your sister enjoy each others company so much!Delete
I would love to travel to Great Britain. All parts of it. I would take my children because they want to go as bad as I do.ReplyDelete
Beth, what wonderful memories you'd make when you travelled. I hope you get there. I'm hoping to hit the UK myself next year!Delete
Beth, good luck with your travel dream to visit Great Britain. You and your children would have a fantastic time.Delete
And Anna, I hope your plans work out too - I know how much you love immersing yourself in the history in the UK and if it leads to your next fab story, so much the better!
Sharon, definitely due for a British refresher!Delete
Loved this post I am so looking forward to reading this one I hope to be able to fall into it on the weekend when I have some time to lose myself in it :)
I would love to do a road trip through the Scottish Highlands and I would take Hubby we have enjoyed some great road trips over the years and he is very easy going when I often say stop here so as I can have a good look around :)
Congrats on the release :)
Helen, I hope you make it to Scotland one day. It's a great place for a historical romance reader to visit - brings all those Scottish historicals to life. Thanks for saying you're looking forward to meeting my duke!Delete
Hey, Helen, your hubby sounds like a wonderful relaxed travelling companion! Hope you get to take that trip to the Scottish Highlands!Delete
You know I love this book - definitely one of your best. I hope lots of other readers are beginning to contact you, saying how much they enjoyed it.
Right now I'm daydreaming about a secluded weekend away with my dh somewhere without a phone or internet. Somewhere with comfy chairs and a cosy fire and lots of books
Hi Annie! I'm just devouring the first chapters of this book now and loving Anna's gorgeous Duke and the intrepid Penelope!Delete
Oh, a trip with your dh and no phone or internet and lots of books! Sounds blissful!
Oh, Annie, that sounds lovely. Can I come too? What? That's not the idea? Sheesh! And thank you for saying such nice things about duke. Absolutely rapt that you enjoyed it so much!Delete
Sharon, love that you're enjoying Cam and Pen. I think intrepid is the perfect word to describe her - I'll have to steal it!Delete
Thanks for the mention, Anna, I was swept away with the research into fast sailing ships in the Regency era. Lost myself for hours in the stories of Clippers and Cutters and Schooners :) And then there were the smugglers! Made me want to write a romantic suspense in the Regency.ReplyDelete
As to a road trip? I'd love to drive across Australia heading to Longreach, Birdsville, King's Canyon, Uluru, then head south to Ceduna and across the Nullarbor to Perth. Of course I'd take Capt G and Zeus with me and, because it's a fantasy, we'd do it in an Austin Healey Sprite! (Never mind that the potholes on some of those outback roads would swallow the entire car...)
Waving to you, Helene! Sounds like you had loads of fun helping Anna with that research!Delete
Ooo, your road trip across Oz sounds fantastic! Might have to muscle in on that fantasy! And because it is a fantasy, can we make sure there are no corrugations in the dirt roads. They're murder on everything, people, vehicles and I'm sure on dogs too! Give Zeus a pat for me - he was such a great Catwalk guest!
Helene, I had to laugh. I"m not sure an Austin Healey is quite up to the trip you describe! Better take a Land Rover! Still, sounds great. Seriously, thank you so much with your help with that. It was so nice knowing that I'd got that right!Delete
Love to the gorgeous Zeus. And Captain G!
I think it would be nice to see Paris & I'd go with my sister.ReplyDelete
Hi Kim! I haven't been to Paris yet either so I think your dream trip would be marvellous! And lovely to travel with your sister!Delete
Kim, another trip with a sister? Lots of sisterly love happening here today. I'm hoping to get to Paris next year. I may see you there!Delete
Congratulations on the new release, Anna. Your Duke sounds wonderful. :-)ReplyDelete
Rather than a road trip it's a river cruise I'm dreaming of. One of those gorgeous river cruises along the Rhine and the Danube taking in everything from Amsterdam to Budapest. I'll take the DH and we'll sip something decadent as we watch the world go by, letting someone else worry about the driving. ;-)
Michelle, after what happens to Cam and Pen on the yacht, I'm not sure I want to do a cruise right now. Thanks for saying you like the sound of Duke! A neighbour of mine has done both the Rhine and the Danube and she loved, loved, loved it. She said it was so relaxing and only unpacking once was a real plus.Delete
Nice idea about a river cruise, Michelle! Very decadent - and I'm assuming that you wouldn't have to worry about rough waters on a river like you might on an ocean cruise.Delete
I'd love to take a road trip across the U.S. - so many states that I've still not seen. I'd take my husband - he traveled the world when younger and knows the ropes and we had so much fun traveling the first 15 yrs. of our marriage (BC - before children lol).ReplyDelete
Catslady, I had to laugh. My parents used exactly the same acronym for all the marvellous things they did together BC! Clearly you're not alone. I hope you get your chance to travel across America. I'd love to do more travel in the States - it's such a beautiful country.Delete
Catslady, that road trip sounds like a great adventure. I hope you get to do it, too. Love that BC abbreviation!Delete
Anna, love those photos. Last year we took the Bernina Express through the Swiss Alps down to Italy and it was breathtakingly beautiful.ReplyDelete
I'd love to do a road trip through Britain, with my husband who has Scottish ancestry while I have Irish and Manx. This is on the bucket list - along with a million other things.
Sue, I remember those train trips in Switzerland. There's a wonderful route from Zurich (I think) to Interlaken. Amazing! Would love to do them again one day. Wow, Manx ancestry? That's pretty amazing!Delete
Ooo, Sue, you've mentioned one of my favourite things - ancestry/family history... there's an Isle of Man Family History Society... I Googled! ;)Delete
Your trip sounds like a great item to have on the bucket list.
Congratulations on your new release, Anna. It sounds like a wonderful story and I do love that sexy cover!ReplyDelete
I would love to go to Italy to see where my family is from. I would probably take my mother because we share passions for food, wine and shoe shopping - the perfect things to do in Italy!
Stefanie, another vote for a visit to find your roots - I hope you get to do it! We spent some fantastic weeks in Scotland and England chasing my and my dh's ancestors - not nearly long enough! But so special to stand in a small village near an old building and imagine we might just have been standing where a great-great-great-grand parent stood!Delete
And hey, the food, wine and shoe shopping is definitely the icing on the cake!
Stefanie, I adore Italy. I've been there a couple of times. The history and the scenery and the people - and the food! - are all fabulous. Hope you get there one day. Thanks for saying you're looking forward to duke - isn't that cover wonderful?Delete
Lovely to see you here.
Since my husband and I settled in Australia 25 years ago we have wanted to do a road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne, then across to the eastern seabord and all the way up into Queensland as far north as possible, stopping at all the quirky little towns along the way. We'd do it in the comfort of a campervan so that we could have a cuppa whenever we felt like it. :) We still want to do the trip, but it's becoming more of a fantasy as time goes by..
Claire, Adelaide to Melbourne is just gorgeous. I did it back in 1983 and the scenery still lingers in my memory, especially the Coorong, Robe, Port Fairy and the Great Ocean Road. Hope you get to do it! Hey, if you're coming north, make sure you drop in an have one of those cuppas with me on the way!Delete
Hi Claire, this sounds like a great trip to plan! As you're passing through Victoria on your way to that cuppa with Anna, perhaps you could put a cuppa stop with me on your itinerary too!Delete
Anywhere I want... That is quite a wide phrase...I would go to Risa with my boyfriend (Any Trekkies here?) I hear it is a lovely planet. ^^ If Risa was no option I would choose a road trip through Scotland with my boyfriend which I have allready planned for next year.ReplyDelete
Jutta, laughed at you picking a fantasy destination! Why not? Oh, lucky duck, going to Scotland. It's one of my favorite places.Delete
Oh, I laughed too, Jutta! Well, it is a fantasy destination so, as Anna said, why not! :DDelete
Enjoy your trip around Scotland!
I'd love to take a road trip, I'm thinking 3-4 years will do nicely, around Great Britain and Europe. I'd like to take my time & see it all.ReplyDelete
Wow, Mary, that sounds fab. Can I come? I was really lucky on the trip in the 80s when I took these photos - I had six months just travelling and I saw so many wonderful places in Europe.Delete
Mary, that does sound like a wonderful way to do that trip! You'd be able to stop for long stays and really get the flavour of the towns you're visiting!Delete
Gorgeous pics, Anna.ReplyDelete
Hmm, I could go on a road trip almost anywhere in Europe and be happy. I'd take my hubby, we've always loved a road trip!
Can I come, Jenn? I think we'd have a ball! The pics were from my one and only roadtrip in Europe. As you know, I don't drive. I still take my hat off to my best friend offering to do all that driving!Delete
I think there are a few of us who'd volunteer to carry your bags, Jen!Delete
Hmm. Road trip......
I'm doing Route 66 in 2016 so I guess I'll have to say that. As to who I'd do it with if I can have a little fantasy..... oh dear so many secret crushes, so little time. Eeny, meeny, minney, moe.... Joe Mangiello?
Amy, that sounds fabulous. Are you thinking of doing the San Diego RWA too? I am. It's always looked like such a beautiful place and it's on the 'right' side of America so I don't have to cross the Continent to get there. Ooh, Joe? I think Joe would fit right in a red convertible with you sitting beside him!Delete
I just went to Google to look up Route 66, Amy! Awesome trip! LOL on your secret-crush travel-companion that is now "out-there" for all to see!Delete
Anna, what a fascinating post! Hmm... anywhere? How about everywhere? I want to travel all over the world and go exploring. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for dropping in at The LoveCats!
Thanks for having me as your guest, Rachel. Always love visiting the kitties!Delete
LOL Rachel - "everywhere" is a very good way to cover your bases!Delete
I'd love to travel to New Zealand & maybe meet a hobbit or a wizard....I'd just love to go with Thorin Oakenshield himself (well Richard Armitage anyway :)ReplyDelete
Ha ha, Linda, I just want to with Richard! It doesn't have to be in NZ!Delete
A fun fantasy, Linda! I haven't seen the Hobbit yet, but Richard A is a definite drawcard! Actually I went over to IMDb to have a look and isn't his make up amazing!Delete
Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Love Cats! See you for a smooch in a couple of weeks!ReplyDelete
Anna, it's always awesome to have you to visit us! I'll post your winner now - I'll slip it in between this post and Friday's post!Delete