Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beverley Oakley and DEVIL'S RUN

Today I'm welcoming Australian historical romance writer Beverley Oakley to my blog. Ms. Oakley is truly a citizen of the world, having lived in so many different places. She's giving away an Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. But don't skip over our interesting interview. Please welcome Beverley Oakley!

Devil's Run  Scandalous Miss Brightwells series
By Beverley Oakley

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here


A rigged horse race - and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.
Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But when the handsome and charming Rufus Patmore buys a horse from her betrothed, George Bramley, whose household her son visits from the foundling home, her heart is captured and the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.


Chapter One
“And there’s nothing else you’d like, my dear? No?” Straightening after receiving a polite rebuff, George Bramley found it an effort to keep the syrup in his tone. His bride-to-be had not even looked at him as she’d declined the piece of marchpane he’d been certain would win him at least a smile.
Hovering at her side, he weighed up the advantages of a gentle rebuke, then decided against it. Until yesterday, he’d thought her quiet demeanour suggested a charmingly pliant nature. Now he was not so sure. In fact, suddenly, he was not sure of anything.
“A glass of lemonade, perhaps, my angel? Or a gentle stroll?”
“I would prefer to be left alone.” Miss Montrose waved a languid hand in his general direction, while she continued to gaze at the still lake beside which their picnic party had situated itself.
The languid arm-wave had not even been accompanied by a demure thank you as subtle acknowledgement of her gratitude that not only had Mr Bramley, heir to a viscountcy, stepped in to rescue Miss Eliza Montrose from impoverishment, he was prepared to treat her publicly as if she were as fine a catch as he could have made.
A soft titter brought his head round sharply, but the ladies behind him, bent over the latest Ackerman’s Repository, appeared occupied with their own gossip as they lounged on cushions beneath the canopy that had been erected to protect them from the sun.
Awkwardly, he looked for occupation as he continued to eye his intended with a mixture of irritation and desire—both lustful desire, and the desire to put her in her place.
The idea of the latter made him harden. She was beautiful, this quiet, apparently retiring, young woman who said so little, but whose eyes spoke such volumes. The afternoon sun glinted on her honey-gold hair and imbued her porcelain skin with a warm glow. The skin that he could see, at any rate.
He pushed back his shoulders. On their wedding night in six weeks, when he’d at last take possession of her, he’d rip that modesty to shreds. The skin she was so at pains to hide would be his, not only to see, but to caress and taste. When she was his wife, the beautiful, distant Miss Eliza Montrose would no longer get away with paying George Bramley so little attention. No, he’d have her screaming and writhing at his command. He would make her like the things he did to her; or at least, show him she did if she enjoyed harmony as much as she appeared to. None of this languid reclining like a half-drugged princess in his presence. He’d keep her on her toes, ready to leap to his bidding at the sound of his footstep. She’d learn to be grateful.
Feeling ignored and superfluous, he turned to his uncle’s detestable wife, Lady Quamby, and said with a smile, “Perhaps you and Miss Montrose would like to accompany me to the turret. Since you appear to have enjoyed this new novel, Northanger Abbey, so much, you might be interested to know there is an excellent view of the ruined monastery not far from here.”
He was just priding himself on being so attuned to the feminine inclination for pleasure, when Lady Quamby half turned and sent him a desultory smile. “Oh, I think Miss Eliza looks perfectly comfortable, and Fanny and I are having such a lovely little coze.” As if imitating Miss Montrose, she waved a languid hand in his general direction. “Why don’t you take Mr Patmore off to see it? The two of you can tell us all about it when you return.”
The fact that Miss Montrose didn’t deign to even speak for herself, much less glance in his direction, sent the blood surging to Bramley’s brain. By God, when he was married to Eliza Montrose, the limpid look of love so lacking now would be pasted onto her face every time he crossed her line of vision. She’d soon learn what was good for her.
He inclined his head, hiding his fury, and was on the point of leaving when Lady Quamby’s sister, Fanny —for he’d be damned if he’d accord the little strumpet the title of Lady Fenton—leapt up from her chair. She’d been poring over the latest fashions, but now she smiled brightly up at him.
“I’ll come with you, Cousin George. We’ll have an excellent view of the  children learning to row from the battlements. I told Nanny Brown she could take them in the two boats if they’d been good.”
Bramley stared down her liveliness. In fact, he was about to give up the idea of going up to the battlements altogether when his other guest, Rufus Patmore, suddenly rose and joined Fanny’s side with a late and unexpected show of enthusiasm.
“Capital idea!” declared Rufus.
George flashed them both a dispassionate look. He'd chosen to invite his betrothed, Miss Montrose—whose chaperone was currently tucked up in the green bed chamber nursing a head cold—to be his guest at his uncle’s estate, Quamby House, after receiving intelligence that Ladies Quamby and Fenton would be safely in London with their husbands and children. Instead, the brazen Brightwell sisters—as they’d infamously been called when he’d first made their acquaintance—had altered their plans, and were now in dogged attendance, reminding him as they always had, of some awful tenacious climbing plant, determined to find a foothold wherever they could in order to rise in the world.
Rufus, a last-minute addition and acquaintance from his club, Boodles, was here because he’d just purchased a horse from Bramley the night before. Now, Rufus was gazing at Lady Fenton, with the same dewy-eyed fondness George was used to seeing reflected in the eye of his uncle, the Earl of Quamby, who called the Brightwell sisters his precious rose-buds. To George, they were common dandelions! And now they had overridden Quamby House, the rambling Queen Anne manor house and estate that would have passed to George the moment his uncle quit this mortal coil, were it not for the snotty-nosed infant Lady Quamby had borne far too early in her marriage to George's uncle.
George shook his head. He’d changed his mind. Only, there was Rufus striding across the lawn, skirting the lake with Fanny at his side, and George didn’t want to be seen as petulant for having offered the suggestion in the first place. Or have his snubbed and ignored status so much on parade, since the two remaining ladies—Miss Montrose and Lady Quamby—had their heads bent together in deep discussion, with no apparent interest in seeking his company.
By God, he thought, clenching his fists as he set off after them at a brisk trot, they'd all rue the day they showed George Bramley so little respect.

Where did you get the idea for your new novel, Devil’s Run? 

Hi Jana, thank you for having me!

I got the idea for Devil’s Run after I’d introduced a character on the first page of the previous book, Rogue’s Kiss (which is Book 2 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series), where the heroine’s carriage knocks over a young woman who’s running away with her illegitimate child whom she doesn’t want to give up to the Foundling Home. This girl, Eliza, isn’t mentioned beyond that – though the child is chosen for a naming ceremony in that book – but I thought I’d pick up the story seven years later when Eliza discovers her child (due to it’s tiny sixth finger) is a regular in the household of a very horrible man who wants to marry her, and this provides the motivation for her to say yes. Only, matters get complicated when she falls in love with a visitor to the estate who’s come to buy a race horse from Eliza’s horrible betrothed.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’ve always loved historicals and as I’ve been reading social histories and the Classics (late 18th C and 19thC), since I was twelve, I have a thorough canvas on which to lay the plot idea. That means I don’t have to spend ages researching the time period, only particular aspects that are pertinent to the story.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I can’t decide if I’m a morning person or a night person. I go through stages where my habit is to be up at 5.30am or 6am every day for months, getting my work done, but then I switch to being a night-owl. What is most important, though, is that I get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. I time it so I can have 8 hours, but usually wake after 7, and then I’ll brainstorm my Goal, Motivation, Conflicts for the various characters.

I think that comes from being a pilot’s wife for 20+ years, so I’m not used to routine. When my gorgeous husband is around, I’ll spend time watching movies and cooking and being with him, but when he’s away for 4 or 5 days at a time, I’ll write for many hours in the morning and evening. (I’m really missing him during such a cold Melbourne winter, as he’s away for 7 weeks in Singapore doing his Airbus endorsement.)

What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?

I want them to come away feeling the things that are mentioned in my favourite reviews: multilayered plots with unexpected twists and turns, and multi-dimensional characters, some of whom readers love, and others they hate, (or love to hate). So I’d hope that Devil’s Run lives up to that.

Also, having written so many books, I’ve found that I appeal mostly to readers who are not looking for a conventional Regency romance and who aren’t upset when certain conventions aren’t adhered to, since I find that my characters can do some pretty heavy scheming to achieve their desired outcome. So I do try and make it clear what my readers can expect so I don’t get some who are disappointed because they were expecting everyone to be worthy and lovely with a perfect HEA.
I love writing series where the first few books can be read as stand-alones; so there’s often a Happy-For-Now which becomes a HEA in the next book since it gives me a chance to have an even more multilayered plot arching over a number of books. That said, in Devil’s Run, all the events are resolved in Eliza and Rufus’s story.

It was really fun to write, too, because it carries on from the first in the series (Rake’s Honour, which is permafree) where two beautiful match-making sisters, who’ve made rags-to-riches marriages, love to orchestrate the love affairs of the deserving couples around them. At first they don’t like my heroine, Eliza, who has just become betrothed to their awful cousin, George Bramley, and who seems cold and distant. But when she rescues their children from drowning, they decide they have to do whatever it takes to stop her marrying awful George and so they find her a really lovely alternative in noble, honourable, kind and gorgeous Rufus Patmore. The problem is that Eliza has decided she needs to marry George because she’s learned that her long-lost illegitimate son is a regular playmate of the children in George’s household.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

Two years ago we moved into a house, which people describe as looking like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. It’s opposite a rambling, Gothic 19th century insane asylum and the view from my writing space is very inspirational. So is my writing space, itself, which I also use to make historical costumes. One of my favourites is a 1780s polonaise with panniers, while my most recent is a tudor gown and Anne Boleyn ‘French Hood’ I made for my daughter, as she wanted a Tudor Feast for her 16th birthday. I’m about to get started on Regency gowns for all three of us so we can attend the Jane Austen festival next year, in style. I’ll also start posting pictures of my creations (and their inspiration) on my Beverley Oakley FB page, including drone footage panning over the asylum, so if there are any interested costumers out there, stay tuned.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?

I do contracts during the year, so the pattern these days is, perhaps, a 3 or four-month contract with a month or two off, in between. They’re all writing related, so that must help. Mostly, they’re in communications, or as a content writer, sometimes in government, or in education. I’m not fond of routine, so change and contrasts suit me well. During my 20+ years as a pilot’s wife we’ve lived in Solomon Islands, Japan, Namibia, Botswana, Norway, Canada (where I worked on contracts around the world as an airborne geophysical survey operator) and now we’re in Australia which, with two children, makes life more settled for them. 

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?

I’ve become far more patient, resilient and accepting. After years of following my husband round the world, we settled in Australia and bought a house. Unfortunately, he broke his back two weeks before I gave birth to our youngest, so I had a toddler, a husband in a world of pain (all his vertebrae were sheared off when he fell off a ladder while we were renovating), and who couldn’t fly, and our eldest was – at that stage – often in her own little world before we discovered it was Aspbergers. (She’s 16, now, and hugely into science and Literature and today, really, passionate about certain causes and very clever, and she relates well, socially, but back then it was hard.)

So, today, in 2017, with my husband now well, and back flying (after pulverizing his wrist two-and-a-half years in a motorbike accident which had him once again in rehabilitation having multiple operations, and unable to work until last month) life’s fantastic yet I’m always prepared for something else dramatic to rock our foundations.

Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?

We have the most gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback called Mombo (named after the safari camp in Botswana where my husband and I met). He has the sweetest nature and I feel sure he’d defend me to the death if he could only work out who the bad guys were.

Thanks so much for having me, Jana.

My pleasure, Beverley!

~*~*~*~*~*~ Author Info: 
Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances starring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

1 comment:

  1. I've read the Brightwells books & Saving Grace was my fav (but I liked them all)