From Anne Cleeland comes the second book in her Regency adventure series—Daughter of the God-King. The daughter of world-famous Egyptologists is living an uneventful life in England until her parents disappear while working their latest find in the Valley of the Kings. Suddenly, the various factions from Napoleon’s last war are pursuing her, and she must travel to Egypt to unravel the mystery. Along the way, she meets her parents’ enigmatic agent, who also appears to be pursuing her—although his reasons may be more personal than professional. What secret is buried in the tomb of the God-King’s daughter? The answer will change her life forever, and could set the world ablaze in yet another war.
1. What prompted you to start writing books?
I’ve always loved to read, and I think most readers toy with the idea of writing a book someday. My someday came when I looked in the mirror and asked myself if I was going to regret never at least giving it a try. I encourage everyone who’s been putting it off to give it a try, too—you may surprise yourself. Now I would rather write than read.
2. How did the idea of Tainted Angel come about?
I’ve read about a million Regency romances, which are set in the early 1800’s. One of my friends liked them too, but she complained that the plots were always too predictable, and she wished someone would write Regency adventure stories instead. I thought this was a good idea, and set out to do it. My favorite stories are where an ordinary heroine is swept up in dire events, and so that’s usually what I write.
3. Have you ever been to London?
I have, I went last year for the Historical Novel Society meeting, which was a lot of fun because there are authors from every era, from ancient Mesopotamia to World War II. For me, it was a lot of fun to wander around the Mayfair District and see the places you’ve read about so many times.
4. Did London inspire Tainted Angel? Or any of your books?
London definitely inspired my contemporary mystery series, which is set in New Scotland Yard. There’s something about the way the British solve their crimes—they are always understated and well-dressed when dealing with death and mayhem.
5. A couple of times you mention in Tainted Angel“… without the war chest there is no war.”In your research on Napoleonic Wars did you see similarities in the U.S.’ conflicts or the U.S.’ financial predicament?
Hopefully no one’s eyes will glaze over, but this is true of nearly any war since the beginning of time—the side with the most funding usually wins. In particular, 1814 France was desperately broke, and England was still solvent, mainly because it instituted an income tax to pay for the war.
The confederacy in the US civil war had a similar problem—war is expensive and if one side is more industrialized, they are more likely to win. An army has to be fed and paid, and usually the side with the best quality weapons will prevail.
Each of these books is about a treasure hunt; the villains are Napoleon’s supporters, who are in a quest to find treasure to support the war, and the heroes are trying to thwart them.
6. How do you go about your research? Do you research before writing a first draft or draft first then research?
I start out with the understanding that the story will be set in 1814, so I have to check to see what was going on in the country where the story will be set. In Daughter of the God-King, for example, I discovered that Napoleon conquered Egypt in the early 1800’s and was fascinated with the newly-discovered tombs of the pharaohs. This fascination then became a major part of the plot.
7. You mentioned you do not write in order of chapter or linearly. Do you write the scenes that inspire you first and write around those events?
Usually, I wander around in search of a plot—I’m not very good at plotting. Instead, I write scene-to-scene, like I’m watching a movie. Sometimes I know what the climactic scene will be beforehand, but sometimes I don’t. Somehow, it all works out.
8. What do you like to read? Do you have favorite genre?
I’ve always loved mysteries best, I think, but romances are a close second, and I also like science fiction and fantasy. I’m a big fan of historical mysteries, like the Gaslight Series by Victoria Thompson or Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series. Nothing too grisly, and I always like a strong romantic element.
Thanks Anne. Your answers made me chuckle and also gave me more insight into your novels. I’m sure my readers will find this of value. I can’t wait to read your next book in the Regency adventure series—Daughter of the God-King—out November 5, 2013. ~Melissa