Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lazy Sunday and a teaser

I'm tired today after the burning the candle a bit over the last couple of days but I did promise I'd post a bit more today about how Perfidy and Perfection came to be written and sold.

I wrote it last year as a 'big' mainstream historical romance for the US market and got quite excited when I got some personal feedback from HQN and Avon and a couple of US agents, despite no publication offers. However, it seemed last summer that slots for historicals , especially for Regency-set stories, were in short supply over on the other side of the pond so I gave up querying it.

Then this year it occured to me that it could be revised and possibly suitable for Robert Hale and the UK market. This involved toning down the sensuality, upping the emotional sophistication and quirkiness of the humour. I wanted to lift the book from being mainstream US romance to being a Regency-set romantic comedy.

I'm delighted that Hale are going to publish it. And I'm already wondering what the cover might be like!

The story developed out of some online conversations with Anna Lucia about the lack of real rakes as romantic heros. A challenge to myself - could I write a rake as a convincing romantic hero? Here is a man who should be the antithesis of a hero, yet what if the rakishness is simply his armour to keep the hurts of the world at bay? What kind of woman could show him enough about himself for him to grow into the kind of man he should really be?

These were my questions and I decided she needed to challenge him and she would best do this by being a bluestocking. He's a man of action, she's a thinker. And, best of all, he challenges her world-view.

Here are the opening lines:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young lady of no fortune must be in want of one. Sophia Grantchester was one such young lady. She sought to end the painful worries about how all the tradesmen would be paid not by finding a husband, rather by being a lady novelist - like Mrs Radcliffe or Miss Edgeworth.
A shameful secret, of course, known to no one but herself. This was why, standing on the dark oak floorboards of Mr Pointer’s general shop, her first instinct was to turn, and run.

Sophy chided herself and forced her feet to remain exactly where they were. Yet she could not stop the thoughts running through her mind - what if someone borrowed the volumes, and somehow found out that Miss Sophia Grantchester, daughter of the Reverend Grantchester, rector of Middleton parish in Wiltshire, was a novelist?

And here is her opening encounter with the hero:

Two pairs of rather dashing black boots caught her eye, and Sophy looked up to see two fashionably dressed blades, both in immaculate black jackets, their chins held up by stiff, white cravats. One she did not recognise had greying brown hair and was starting at her rudely through his quizzing glass. However, that was nothing to the vexation she felt towards the other - her wayward, rakish cousin, Lord Hart.

She reminded herself that every cloud has a silver lining and pushed a false smile into her cheeks. She could take Lord Hart to task much more effectively in person than via letter.
‘Good afternoon, Miss Grantchester.’ Lord Hart lifted his black hat. The breeze tousled his hair. The winter sunshine highlighted chestnut flecks.
‘Good afternoon, Lord Hart,’ Sophy replied. Unfortunately, all that all that glitters is not gold. Lord Hart was handsome, certainly. He had a regularity of features that was arresting, yet nothing too sharp or angular. But he was feckless, and a rake. She kept her fingers on Mr Camberley’s arm.

‘May I introduce, Mr Camberley,’ she said. ‘Mr Camberley, this is Lord Hart.’ She could have informed Lord Hart that Mr Camberley was her father’s curate. She would not. He could find out once he took an interest in the affairs of Middleton parish for which he was supposed to be responsible.

Both extracts (c) K Allan, from Perfidy and Perfection. May not be reproduced without prior permission.


  • At 3:20 am, Anonymous Olga said…

    Kate, sorry for being late, but HUGE CONGRATS on your sale! Your book sounds wonderful!

  • At 3:52 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said…

    I remember that conversation, Kate!

    *huge grin*


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