Margaret Kaine is an English author whose latest release, Dangerous Decisions, has just been released by Choc Lit and we were able to find out a little more about her and her career in this recent interview.
Hi Margaret and welcome to Beauty and Lace.
Hello, and thank you for inviting me.
What inspired you to pursue a writing career?
As a young girl I read all of Louisa M Alcott’s books, and found the character of Jo March fascinating. I think that must have been the seed, although it took me a long to time to realise my dream.
Is there a reason you set your novels in the past?
Initially it was because I followed the advice to ‘write about what you know’. Many of my novels have been about young women during the 50s and 60s. While a contemporary romantic novel appeals to me in some ways – they are certainly very popular – I’m not sure whether I could write with an authentic voice.
Do you have a favourite period to set your work in?
Before I wrote Dangerous Decisions, I would have said the mid-1900s because of its nostalgia. But I’ve enjoyed the research into the Edwardian period so much and love spending time there – at least in my mind, that I don’t want to leave it.
Does writing about the past involve a lot more research than a more contemporary setting?
I haven’t yet attempted a contemporary setting for a novel, so have no means of comparison. Historical research needs to be accurately sourced, but so would that concerning the present day – otherwise it would be based purely on personal experience and hearsay.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you plot or let the story carry you?
I am purely an organic writer. I do have a vague idea in mind and am unable to write a word until I have the name of my heroine. I will quite often begin with the heading Chapter One and the first paragraphs seem to unfold before me. From then on the novel is like a flower, buds appear and then blossom. And like many writers I am often taken into a direction that can surprise me. That is what I find exciting, that the book is a journey of discovery for me in the same way that it is for the reader.
Is there a favourite place or time of day for you to write?
I am fortunate in that I have a downstairs study which is definitely my own cosy den. I tend to write in shortish spurts, but my most productive time is during the morning.
Dangerous Decisions is your latest release, can you tell us a little about the book?
Helena, a sheltered debutante is charmed by the wealthy and enigmatic Oliver Faraday, and although haunted by the image of an attractive young doctor, mistakes infatuation for love. Despite having a sense of unease, she accepts Oliver’s proposal but he is deeply flawed, and she finds it hard to forgive the travesty of her wedding night. The novel is set ‘Upstairs’ and Downstairs’, with one major character a prostitute in a high class London brothel. Described as ‘Downton with a twist’, it is cosmopolitan in its background, romantic yet with an undercurrent of menace.
Oliver is an absolute rogue, who puts on a good front. Did his illness actually exist? Do you think his type of character was common in those times?
Oliver uses arrogance to conceal his true nature, being fortunate enough to have both good looks and surface charm. His illness, or rather phobia, was one medically recorded, but quite rare, at least in the severe form that Oliver had. Yes, I think many young men with a wealthy background, deferred to all their lives, assumed themselves to be superior. And if they were the eldest son, set out to marry an heiress and to provide an heir to the estate.
Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
It’s difficult to answer this without giving away the plot. But I can say that my inspiration came from an interesting comment about a well-known name in a newspaper article . . .
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
I’ve already begun writing another novel set in the Edwardian era. I love the research and it’s lovely to spend your days – at least in the mind – in a luxurious stately home. But this new book has a far different beginning, being set in a harsh workhouse and I was quite relieved when my heroine had to leave. I’m about half-way through now and it’s fascinating to see how the story is developing.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Femininity, romance, love and motherhood.
Thanks for your time and good luck with the release.
My thanks and warmest best wishes to you. I hope you enjoyed Dangerous Decisions.
I certainly did enjoy Dangerous Decisions Margaret and look forward to your next book.