Welcome to Uncaged! Your newest book, Sleepless in Southhampton will release July 13 and is the fourth book in a series. Can you tell us more about the series and this book? What do all the books have in common?
The Hellion Club Series was born out of this snippet I read in some research material about gentlemen providing for their illegitimate children, but specifically their daughters so they might marry well. Part of that would obviously involve educating them in how to navigate society. I envisioned a school where this could take place, the domain of the illegitimate daughter of a duke, who has taken it upon herself to give these girls an
option… to marry well, to become governesses or companions—a way to live their life on their own terms. In this era, where women were essentially the property of their fathers or their husbands, illegitimacy actually provided a kind of freedom that they would not have had otherwise.
You also write a more gothic style historical romance, can you tell readers more about those books?
I’ve always adored gothic romance. I’m a former paranormal investigator! I tell the story frequently that, as a kid, I would rush home from the school bus stop to get to my grandmother’s house where I could watch the last half hour of my favorite soap opera and the minute it went off, I would switch the channel to watch Scooby-Doo. So marrying my love of romance and of things that are more suspenseful or scary was just
natural for me. Some of my books feature very earthly forms of villainy. Other books take a more supernatural view of the world. But above all, in every book I write, love always triumphs. I think putting characters in these situations of extreme danger, whether it’s from another human being or something more ephemeral, can heighten the emotion. Any time you up the stakes for them, it drives them closer together and to that moment where they must confront their feelings for one another.
What is the most difficult scene for you to write? What is the easiest?
That is one of those things that varies from book to book. Historically, I will say that the beginning of a book is usually smooth sailing. The end of the book feels like a race, like my fingers can’t type fast enough to keep up with what’s happening inside my head. But that middle part… oh, goodness. It’s like walking uphill in a blizzard at times. So slow and bogged down that you think the end will never come.
Read the rest of the interview in the issue below
Sleepless in Southhampton
Every touch brings with it a world of temptation. Eventually, there is a point of no return.
Miss Sophia Upchurch is not having a good day. Her employer is dead, she’s been robbed, she’s now stranded in a strange city and the handsome man she’d met on the stage, the man she’d flirted with, is no longer simply Mr. Henry Meredith, a possible suitor. He turns out to be Lord Henry Meredith, Viscount Marchwood, and so far above her reach there can’t possibly be any hope even as he heroically secured a position for her as companion to his cousin. But that position is beset with complications and Sophie fears the young woman’s life is in danger.
When Sophie informs Henry of her suspicions, he’s dubious at best. But the more he looks into the matter the more convinced he becomes that she is correct. And that means not only is his cousin in danger but so is a woman he is coming to care for very deeply…possibly even a woman he loves.
Can they get to the bottom of it before his cousin succumbs to the plot? And assuming they survive to have a future, can he convince Sophie to share it with him?
Lord Henry Meredith, Viscount Marchwood, stared at the broken wheel of his carriage and uttered a mild curse. They were not even fully out of London yet. He could still see the heavy cloud of soot that marked the city behind them as it hovered just above the tree line. Not that he’d had any great desire to go to London anyway. He detested being in town and was far more content at his country estate. But alas, prior to his jaunt to Hampshire, he’d been summoned by his cousin who was having some issues with his eldest progeny and gambling. In fact, his younger cousin had been sent down from University and rather than returning to the family fold, had fled to Hampshire himself.
Recalling the conversation with his cousin, Horace, and Horace’s pleading look as he’d stated, “But you’re going to Southampton anyway. Surely it won’t be too much of a bother to have a word with him, will it?”
It would, actually. But as always, Henry felt he didn’t have the luxury of saying no. He never refused them anything and that was part of his frustration now. He had a limited amount of time and a new task added to his schedule.
Glancing at the coachman who appeared far less concerned about the matter than he should, Henry demanded, “I asked you to have that wheel replaced a week ago. Not just repaired—again—but replaced.” Was it his lot in life to be so “nice” that even his own servants had no fear of reprisal for blatantly disobeying his edicts? Of course, it was hardly an edict when he always phrased it as a request.
“Aye, m’lord. But it were so expensive to replace when patching it would do,” the driver protested in his heavy brogue.
Henry blinked at the man in disbelief. Was he truly so lacking in spine that even his servants felt disobeying direct instructions was without consequence? “Clearly just patching it did not do. If it had, I wouldn’t be standing on the side of the road four miles out of London.”
The coachman had the grace to look somewhat sheepish. “I can have a new one made and have it on by the morning.”
Henry sighed. It wouldn’t work. He’d promised his aunt that he would be in Southampton by the following day. There was much to do in advance of his uncle’s birthday. After all, the Duke of Thornhill’s fiftieth birthday was not an occasion to be missed. The entire family was gathering at the seaside to spend several weeks together at the family’s estate there. Southampton had become their gathering place of choice given poor Philippa’s deteriorating condition. The resort town with access to many spas and sites for sea bathing made it a good destination for them. The less strenuous and active social whirl, as compared to Brighton and Bath—or heaven forbid, London—made it perfect for them. Of course, it wasn’t just his uncle’s birthday which made time of the essence. There was the other matter for his cousin.
If he was to catch the boy still at the Duke of Wellington Inn in Southampton, he’d need to move quickly. Indeed, if someone didn’t step in and take the reins, young Julian could find himself in a world of trouble. Julian was getting into a great deal of trouble and a great deal of debt that his branch of the family had no means of correcting.
Read the rest of the excerpt in the issue below
Chasity Bowlin lives in Kentucky with her husband and their collection of dogs and cats. She loves writing, traveling and enjoys incorporating tidbits of her actual vacations into her books. She is an avid Anglophile, loving all things British, but specifically all things Regency.
Growing up in Tennessee, spending as much time as possible with her doting grandparents, soap operas were a part of her daily existence, followed by back to back episodes of Scooby Doo. Her path to becoming a romance novelist was set when, rather than simply have her Barbie dolls cruise around in a pink convertible, they time traveled, hosted lavish dinner parties and one even had an evil twin locked in the attic.