Message From The Author

Donna Ball

Genre: General Mainstream Fiction, Mainstream

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Author's Message

Readers of my Ladybug Farm series know that I’m fascinated by old houses, and when I read an article about privately owned European castles I saw an opportunity to explore one of my favorite subjects. I learned that, as glamorous as it sounds, owning a castle can be far more trouble than it’s worth! Aside from the costs of taxes and maintenance, there are moats and mice, temperamental plumbing, erratic electrical service, and the constant chaos of construction and repairs.  I’ve spent years trying to fix up my own converted Victorian barn, so I can certainly sympathize with the perils of owning a historic property. But what would you do if someone suddenly presented you with the keys to a castle? 

I think the reason I love Keys to the Castle so much is that it takes me back to my romance roots. As Rebecca Flanders, Donna Carlisle and Leigh Bristol I wrote over fifty contemporary and historical romances, many of which remain some of the best work of my career. With Keys to the Castle I saw a chance to tell a different kind of love story—one with all the charm of a classic romance, but told in a slightly more sophisticated tone. I like to call it a “fairy tale for grown ups”.

I actually started with the question: What happens after happily- ever- after? My heroine, Sara, believes the best part of her life is behind her when a dashing French poet unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet and into a fairy tale romance, only to leave her widowed three weeks later. Suddenly she is the heiress to an estate she can't afford to keep and uncovering secrets she never wanted to know. But even as she is beginning to believe there is no such thing as happily ever after, life offers her a second chance at a fairy tale ending… if only she has the courage to take it.

I adore Ash, the very British, dry-witted hero of the tale. He is in many ways the very definition of nobility, which of course is what one wants in a Prince Charming.  Though he’s not without his flaws and secrets of his own, his simple, unwavering determination to do the right thing no matter what the cost to himself makes him one of the most interesting heroes I’ve written about in awhile. I wanted to give Sara a clear choice between the romantic ideal of the flamboyant husband she barely knew and the very real love of a genuinely good man… because that, I know, is how fairy tale endings are really made.

I hope you enjoy Keys to the Castle!

- Donna Ball

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