Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with multi-published historical romance writer Anita Davison

One of my critique partners – Anita Davison – has just had her latest book released. Rather than blogging more about layering a scene, I thought I’d give everyone a vacation and a chance to visit with a multi-published author of historical romances.

Hi, Anita! You and I have been critique partners for a couple of years now. What got you interested in writing historicals?
I was born in London, a city which has a unique atmosphere; a sense of time passed that I connected with, even when I was young. When the other children on the school trip coach were throwing the contents of their lunch boxes at each other, I was staring out of the window at the ancient buildings, imagining men in wigs and heeled shoes coming out of coffee houses and climbing into sedan chairs on the cobbles outside St Pauls Cathedral.

Trencarrow Secret is set in Cornwall in the late Victorian period. That’s a long ways from Restoration London.
Strangely it was walking through Paternoster Row with a dear friend, discussing books of course, when the idea for the story of Trencarrow Secret came to me. One requirement of modern writing, is you cannot simply write a story, it has to be categorised, put into a box so it is instantly recognised. My critique group, and my agent, say time and again that romances are the largest market in the fiction genre. In an attempt to break into the world of traditionally published authors, I chose to step outside the world of Restoration London and into the heads of characters of another era. I haven’t managed it yet, as Trencarrow Secret is Inde Published, but I still have some stories to tell which may make it.

Isabel Hart evolved, beginning as a Jacobean character, she turned into a Regency one, eventually finding her own time in late Victorian England. Her reserved character belonged in the rigid, uncompromising days of the British Empire, and I gave her strong reasons for seeing life as many of us do when we are young; in black and white, where right and wrong are clearly defined and there is no blurring of the two.

Tell us a little bit about Isabel’s character arc?
Trencarrow Secret is a love story, and during one fateful summer, Isabel discovers that marriage is no fairytale, but an enigmatic and unique bonding of a couple which may appear unsatisfactory to outsiders, but each comes with its own chance of success.

Isabel’s romantic illusions are dispelled and she comes to realise that people, even those closest to her, are flawed and make mistakes. She has to find the capacity to forgive and move on – and to continue to love them anyway because that’s what families do. Through her unique relationship with her brother, David, Isabel struggles through revelations, self doubt and danger before she finds her soulmate.

As a reader, I’m drawn to your vivid descriptions of the period and place. Trencarrow seems so real to me? Did you model it after an actual home?
I modelled Trencarrow on a real place, which is the village of Marazion and St Michael's Mount rather than the house itself. The Hart's summer home in Cornwall is a house I have visited often - also the village of Marazion and St Michael's Mount have not changed much since the late 19th Century, which made them easy to portray realistically. I tend to write about places I know so I can portray them with a level of credibility.

I did have one property in mind, but made it slightly smaller in my head. The inside with the staircase and the marbled floor, the double doors to the drive - yes that was from memory.

This is the house: . The problem was it's late Victorian, and as the Harts are supposed to have owned it for sixty years, so I had to change its age and say it was a bit older. I loved visiting Lanhydrock when I lived in Cornwall and have great memories of the county, although my husband hates it as he says 'It's too far from anywhere'.

Can you share with us the blurb for Trencarrow Secret?
Isabel Hart is afraid of two things, the maze at Trencarrow where she got lost as a young child, and the lake where her brother David saved her from drowning in a boating accident.

With her twenty-first birthday and the announcement of her engagement imminent, Isabel decides it is time for her to face her demons and ventures into the maze. There she sees something which will alter her perceptions of herself and her family forever.

Isabel’s widowed aunt joins the house party, where her cousin confides she is in love with an enigmatic young man who surely cannot be what he pretends, for he is surely too dashing for homely Laura?

When Henry, Viscount Strachan and his mother arrives, ostensibly to use her ball as an arena for finding a wife, Isabel is determined not to like him.

As more secrets are revealed, Isabel doubts she has chosen the right man, although her future fiancé has more vested in this marriage than Isabel realizes and has no intention of letting her go easily.

Will Isabel be able to put her preconceptions of marriage behind her and take charge of her own life, or is her life destined to be controlled by others?

You’ve got another novel coming out in September – Culloden Spirit. How do you manage to be so productive?
Actually, I'm not that productive. Both books have been in progress for the last three years. It's a coincidence that Muse wanted both. Basically I sent Lea Trencarrow Secret and she asked if I had any more!
I don't have the cover art yet, but the edits are done.

Wow! That’s still impressive. And being one of your CPs, I can hint that there are some other things in the pipe-line....
Writing historical fiction is complicated and challenging, but my spirit lives in the past and I cannot imagine myself writing anything else.

Trencarrow Secret is scheduled for release on 10th June 2011
Available at:

Trencarrow Secret Blog:
Anita’s Blog:


  1. Anita, as another of your critique partners, I know this book is beautifully written with intense emotion. I also used Lanhyrock for a house in my current WIP. We visited there once.
    Good luck with the book.

  2. Thanks Vicky and Anita. Great interview!

    I'm a bit jealous of the chance to visit these great British estates. It's clear (as another critique partner) that the delicious details enhance your stories. I'm looking forward to reading Trencarrow Secret as I already know the quality of your writing.

    So, Diane used Lanhyrock as well. I better go browsing!
    I wish you much success with this and all those to come!