Message From The Author

Christina Brooke

Genre: Regency Period, England, Historical Romance

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Author's Message

I usually say that I write as if I’m taking dictation from a movie that plays inside my head. The story is there, already waiting for me. I just have to get to it, and then translate what is happening into words on the page as vividly as I can. I’m sure the sum of my experiences influence that movie in my mind in all sorts of ways but I don’t consciously take events and people from my own life and fictionalize them.

An unsettling thing happened when I wrote Heiress in Love.

I live in Queensland, Australia. We had just suffered through a drought period that meant heavy water restrictions. The city looked scorched. Dust blew in from the west and settled in a film over everything.

Then the rain came. Day in, day out, wet, wet, wet.

And it rained in Heiress in Love.

The opening image in chapter one of Heiress in Love is of my heroine, Jane, watching rain-spattered carriages winding up a long drive to her stately home. My hero, Constantine, gallops past them on a big white horse like a shooting star through the night.

As the romance between this gorgeous, charming rogue and my prim, awkward heroine plays out, the rain continues to fall.

I needed a disaster for this book, my subconscious decided, blithely playing God in my cozy fictional world. So I used a fascinating piece of research on Cotswold woolen mills to create a dam on a nearby property that was full to bursting. Constantine tries to persuade his neighbor to do something about the dam before it floods but the neighbor won’t listen. The resulting crisis tests Constantine’s mettle to the full and ultimately forms the catalyst for a breakthrough in his relationship with Jane.

I wrote this book and handed it in and thought little more about the connection between my story and the reality around me. After devastating floods in 1974, before I was born, a new dam had been built. We were all assured such an event would never happen again. People built houses in areas that had completely submerged in 1974.

And then, for the first time in 37 years our city’s major river overflowed its banks, causing devastation to the lives of countless people. This happened back in January, but the effects of the flood continue to be felt.

My house was safe, thank God, but my eight-year-old son’s school suffered extensive damage. My four-year-old’s kindergarten stands, six months later, a filthy, torn apart wasteland that we walk past every day. Every day, he asks me when it’s going to be fixed. Soon, I say. But I know he won’t be going back there again.

Many insurance companies had excluded river flood damage from their insurance policies so the cost of recovery has been prohibitive for some. Many people lost their homes, their businesses. A tragic number lost their lives.

So, while Heiress in Love finally hits the shelves this month, the relief effort in Queensland goes on.

If you would like to help and make a donation, please click here.

- Christina Brooke

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