Countdown to 20
From the light hearted fare of SOMETHING ABOUT EMMALINE came my 7th Avon Romance, THIS RAKE OF MINE and my next hero, Mad Jack Tremont. (Yet another exit sign hero–read about that here) But Jack’s story was no comedy and suddenly I found myself writing a very gothic adventure about the dark and mysterious house on the cliff that one shouldn’t go calling at.
But knocking on the door is exactly what my heroine does. Miss Jane Porter
, (aka Miranda Mabberly) a teacher from the very prestigious Miss Emery’s school is escorting home three students, when inclement weather traps them at Jack’s house, and the arrival uncovers a grand mystery.
Behind the scenes facts
I used the name of my good friend and great author, Jane Porter as a place holder of sorts for Miranda Mabberly’s alias. I often do that when I need a quick name and can’t think of just the right one–I pull the name of a friend or family member out of thin air and stick it in the manuscript with the intention of changing it later. But in this case, Jane Porter stuck, and it wasn’t until it was too late (the book was about to go to print) that I realized what I had done–or rather forgotten to do, which was rename the alias. So the name stuck and it was, in my humble opinion, a happy accident.
THIS RAKE OF MINE introduces Mad Jack’s older brother, the Duke of Parkerton. He eventually returns for his own story, MAD ABOUT THE DUKE, but here we find him to the only straight laced and normal member of the infamously “Mad” Tremonts. The duke is a bit bowled over by Jack’s houseguest/bride-to-be and says,
“A more formidable, sharp-witted woman I have never met.”
The Duke of Parkerton has that right. At least until he meets his own match.
THIS RAKE OF MINE was lampooned in the Economist with a warning to gardeners that this was not a story of yard implements. It was also nominated for the Romance Writer’s of America RITA award. And it perennially tops out as one of reader’s favorite reads.
Don’t miss some of the other stories behind my Countdown to My 20th Avon Romance!