I'm so delighted to have lovely Anna Campbell to visit us on the LoveCats DownUnder! She has a rollicking good Christmas story, A Pirate for Christmas, just released and she's generously giving away a Kindle download to one luck commenter!
Over to you, Anna!
Hi Love Cats! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I hope you won’t mind if I have a brief meander down Memory Lane before I get to my latest release, A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella.
Although my family was staunchly Australian, there was one part of the house was forever England.
The TV set.
I grew up on a steady diet of classic UK TV shows. Period drama like Upstairs Downstairs; The Pallisers; Raffles; I, Claudius; literary adaptations like Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina.
And British comedy. Lots and lots of British comedy.
Family conversation was littered with references and jokes from shows like The Two Ronnies (Piggy Malone featured strongly), Yes Minister, The Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life, Open All Hours, and Fawlty Towers. Personally I had a liking for the slightly more surreal stuff like the Goon Show and Monty Python, but they weren’t part of the mainstream family diet.
One of our all-time favourites was To the Manor Born, starring Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, which was originally broadcast between 1979 and 1981, and which is still playing on Pay TV. Clearly everybody else loved this show too. By the way, if you’d like some background on the program, there’s a nice Wikipedia article here.
Audrey fforbes-Hamilton’s family has lived in the manor for 400 years, but unfortunately the money has run out and after her husband’s death, she’s forced to sell to nouveau riche supermarket millionaire Richard DeVere. Worse, DeVere is actually Czechoslovakian so this bastion of English heritage has fallen into foreign, and as far as Audrey’s concerned, completely inadequate hands.
A romance reader can tell right now where this story is going – and 20 episodes later, that’s just where it did go, with Audrey and Richard in love, marrying, and moving into the manor together. On the way, there are some beautifully observed characters, some lovely comedy, and a very nicely done romance. It’s lovely seeing Audrey gradually overcoming her blind prejudice and even lovelier to see Richard teasing her along the way – he knows pretty much from the start that she’s the one for him. Sigh.
Years ago, I saw an interview with the writer Peter Spence, and when he was asked why the show had such universal appeal, he said, “It’s a romance.” And you know, he absolutely nailed it.
Why am I spending so much time talking about old-fashioned sitcoms? There is Manor in my Madness. I’ve always wanted to write something inspired by TTMB and this year’s Christmas novella is it. My heroine Bess Farrar, the vicar’s daughter who is the de facto head of the village of Penton Wyck, is considerably younger and less managing than Audrey, but she shares a managing manner with her inspiration. Scottish Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing, is a cuckoo in the nest in this sleepy Northumberland village – and like Richard, he is subject to much wild and unfounded gossip about his past.
Just to clear something up straightaway, he’s NOT a pirate, but everybody thinks he is and nothing he does shifts the public perception. And to be honest, he has quite a bit of fun teasing Bess about his supposedly lawless background before he fesses up to being a gallant naval captain.
I hope you’ll have fun with this story too.
Here’s the blurb:
Pursued by the pirate…
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honourable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
A Christmas marked by mayhem.
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
You can read an excerpt of A Pirate for Christmas on my website here.
You can buy A Pirate for Christmas at a bargain price from:
Barnes and Noble
So do you have a favourite British comedy? There’s plenty of great ones to pick from!
I’ve got a Kindle download of A Pirate for Christmas (international) for one person who comments today. Good luck!