Interview with Becky Winstanley
Tell us about yourself, please.
Which self? Mrs Rebecca Winstanley is a respectable widow, living with her daughter in a modest apartment in a select part of London. Mrs Rose Darling lives a few streets away, in an elegant townhouse where she entertains the Marquis of Aldridge at his pleasure.
I am both and neither—I act a part, always.
Authors call what you want but cannot have "the conflict" -- what is yours?
I dream of a respectable life, the life stolen from me when I was just 15. No. It is more than a dream, it is a plan. I plan to leave London, to set up somewhere I am not known and to raise my daughter to a better life than the one I have known.
I dream of love. Not the love I have for Aldridge, my protector. I am fond of Aldridge, but I know he will never be mine. I dream of a man who will be loyal and true; someone who will see the real me, and love me anyway. Ridiculous and impossible, but there you are.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
I doubt that anyone would love me, or even like me, if they saw more than the parts I act. Indeed, how could they? Inside, I am still the broken child, mourning the loss of my innocence and hiding from the horror my life became. I would not want even Sarah to see that person. How could she love me when I do not love myself?
In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most and why.
I fear that my past will haunt me forever, that it will surface at the worst possible time to destroy my daughter’s chance of escape to a respectable life. I must keep my secret; I must keep her safe.
Sarah is only nine, but—despite our care—she is already suspicious of Aldridge’s place in my life. “Why do the other girls have a Papa,” she asked me last week, “when all I have is uncles?” I did not know what to say. I fear she will hate me if she ever knows the truth—but not as much as I fear that the truth will doom her to the life I have led.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Sarah makes living worthwhile. I am fond of Aldridge. He is a kind and generous man, and he has given me a life of ease and luxury I never imagined. But he is my protector, not my love. I forgot that in the early days of our liaison. Almost, I gave him my heart. Such feelings are foolish between a courtesan and the man who keeps her. One day, he will marry one of the debutantes who clutter London’s Season, and breed fine children with pure bloodlines on both sides. And I will retire to the country and be a widow, and grow roses.
What would that person say about you?
I expect he would say I am beautiful. It seems to be the characteristic that men notice first and comment on most often. He would also say, I think, that he enjoys my company. He returns to me between his other affairs. Indeed, he spends several nights a week with me. He likes to converse, even to debate—politics, literature, history, business. He is very well read, and he enjoys a good argument, and even concedes defeat if I manage to convince him of my facts.
If someone from your past showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
Ah. Now that is a long, long list. I would not want to meet any of my former clients or protectors. Fortunately, they live in the South-West, and I do not go there. Only the last was of any social consequence. Perringworth, his name was, and he is dead these two years.
If you could plan a happy ending, what would it be?
I have told you my happy ending. Safety for Sarah. Not enough? Well then, a man who loves us both. A man who loves Sarah as a daughter and who loves me—the real me, the hidden me—as his respected and treasured wife. I know it cannot be, however, and will be content with the life I plan. I cannot see how my author could give me a better one.
About the Writer
Jude Knight writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
Jude Knight is the pen name of Judy Knighton. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude is returning to her first love, fiction. Her novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, was released in December 2014, and is in the top ten on several Amazon bestseller lists in the US and UK. Her first novel Farewell to Kindness, was released on 1 April, and is first in a series: The Golden Redepennings. .
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
This book is about three flawed characters, all of whom act in ways that are morally reprehensible. My challenge was to make them sympathetic—to give the reader cause to identify with them and want them to succeed. I wrote, tested with beta readers, rewrote, and retested. I agonised over showing their motivations, and demonstrating their strengths as well as their very obvious weaknesses.
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
Becky is central to the novel. In my past two books, the heroes have been very clear to me, and the heroines have emerged as I wrote. The same happened here; I began with Aldridge, but Becky took over. The action of the book comes as other characters react to her.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
I didn’t plan to write this book at all. It was Aldridge’s idea. Aldridge is cousin to the hero of Farewell to Kindness, and half-brother to the hero of my work-in-progress, Encouraging Prudence. I planned to give him his own novel eventually, but I needed a novella to fill a gap between publications. A brief book about one of Aldridge’s dalliances seemed as if it would be fun. Then Becky took over. Now that the book is done, one of the off-stage characters is knocking at the door of my mind. So not a sequel precisely, but a linked stand-alone? We’ll see what the plot elves have in store.
Why should readers who haven't picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
Try A Baron for Becky if you like novels whose characters meet life’s challenges by resolving their own inner demons. It’s very different to my novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, which was a sweet traditional, and my first novel, Farewell to Kindness, which has a large cast and an action-driven plot full of twists and turns, mystery and thrills. A Baron for Becky has five central characters, and most of the action focuses on three: Aldridge, Becky, and Hugh. Two heroes and one heroine. Yes, indeed. As I say, very different.
About the Book
Title A Baron for Becky
Genre Historical Romance (Regency)
Author Jude Knight
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG 13
Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde - the indulged mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.
Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?
The devil-may-care face Hugh shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn't want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.
When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.
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Author Social Media
Website and blog http://judeknightauthor.com/
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jude-Knight/e/B00RG3SG7I