Coffee. . .tea. . .or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection. . .Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man's heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel--and flash of ankle--she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father's tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys's first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman's touch are driving her to distraction. . .
With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook's passion for sweets--and for Alys--be his heart's undoing?
Today, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Heather Hiestand and Michael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, from Marquess of Cake, a Victorian romance, a recent release from Kensington Books.
Where are you from, Michael? Hello. I’m Hatbrook. I have two homes, Hatbrook Farm in Heathfield, Sussex, and Hatbrook House in London.
Tell us a bit about Marquess of Cake, please. It is about my journey to love with Alys Redcake, cake decorator extraordinaire, a most unsuitable bride for a marquess.
Let's talk about the extraordinary Alys. What did you think the first time you saw her? I thought she smelled like cake, my favorite scent. As it was November, I couldn’t see any of her but her fierce dark eyes, because she was covered in a cloak.
And your second thought? I thought she was the opposite of the sort of woman I should marry. Alys was not a well-born lady, she was opinionated, and thoroughly a city girl. She even held a position. I knew all this because she was chatting with a friend outside Redcake’s Tea Shop and Emporium, my favorite haunt in London.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Ahem, lust perhaps.
What do you like most about Alys? At first, to be honest, I loved the cake aspect. I adore pastries, and here was a woman who created the most exquisite cakes I’d ever seen or tasted!
How would you describe her? My lady is beautiful, stubborn and highly intelligent.
Yes, but how would she describe you? Possibly the same way! But she likes to call me austere, rather than beautiful.
What made you choose farming and winemaking as a profession? The usual lifestyle for a marquess is a round of country parties, followed by time in London, but my father gambled away the family fortune. My brother even had to join the army since my father couldn’t give him an allowance. When I inherited I began working the land and investing every penny I made in various enterprises, like inns in the holiday parts of Sussex. I don’t want to be poor.
What is your biggest fear, Hatbrook? I wouldn’t want to become as bitter as my mother. I want to take charge of life, not let it happen to me.
How do you relax? I eat pastry.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I like Dickens’ self-made men because I rebuilt my fortune.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Alys told me I wasn’t the average man, and I realized I didn’t want to be an average man, or an average marquess. I’ll do what I think is best for the future, regardless of what is commonly done.
Well done! Thank you for spending time with us. Now it's Heather's turn in the hot seat. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I’ve been reading romance since the mid 1990s, so I’ve read a lot of stories. Some of my favorite historical authors, regardless of genre, are Delle Jacobs, Sherry Thomas, Connie Willis, Elizabeth Peters, Rhys Bowen, Karen Ranney, Carla Kelly, Sabrina Jeffries and Mary Jo Putney, to name just a few of my current auto-buys.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them. The Redcakes series is with Kensington. I’ve heard about them through RWA for years, but my friend, author Gina Robinson, specifically suggested I contact the editor she had there, Peter Senftleben.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? [Peter] rejected the first novel I sent, which took him over a year to get to, but it only took about six weeks for him to make an offer on the second. It will be approximately a thirteen month process from query to release.
That is remarkable. Thank you so much for visiting us today, Heather—and for bringing the delightful Marquess of Hatbrook. We wish you many sales in this and future books. Please visit us again!
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Heather Hiestand and the stories she creates go to: http://www.heatherhiestand.com
To purchase Marquess of Cake go to http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22722