Message From The Author
Readers often ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?" Most of the time a story takes form in my head over several months before I even begin to write the outline. However, once in a while, an inspiration will come out of the blue, and thats how my November release from Harlequin Historicals, THREE DOG KNIGHT, got started.
My husband Marty and I sat over our empty dessert plates after a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, and we started thinking up "Knight" titles for possible future books. All of a sudden, Marty began to laugh.
"Whats so funny?" I asked. I hadnt seen anything particularly amusing going on around us.
"I just thought of the best title for your next book," he replied with a twinkle in his blue eyes. (And you wonder why so many of my heroes have twinkling blue eyes?)
"Okay, so whats the title?"
Still grinning, he shook his head. "Theyll never buy it."
I wanted to ball up my napkin and throw it at him, but I managed to maintain my usual calm demeanor. "So? Tell me anyway. Whats the title?"
He took a long sip of iced tea before answering. "THREE DOG KNIGHT."
Immediately, the picture of three dogs flashed in my mindthree of the most misbegotten, pathetic pooches youve ever met. The first one was brown and very big, named Georgie. He was also elderly, with a gray muzzle and good for practically nothing except sleeping and eating. In fact, he was just like the dog my parents got from the puppy pound after I went to college. The second one was a whippet-type hound that limped from a hunting accident. She had huge brown eyes and was heavy with yet another litter of puppies. Her name had to be Vixen. The third of this motley trio was a brown and white rat terrier, a lot like my daughters beloved Jack Russell. My fictional little guy was bandy-legged and the runt of his litter. He was almost drowned when the hero saved him and named him Taverstock.
And who could be the man who loved and protected these three misfits? None other than the gruff, hunt-loving father of Guy, the Silent Knight and Brandon, the Midsummers KnightSir Thomas Cavendish, Earl of Thornbury.
By the time Marty had paid our check, the first half of THREE DOG KNIGHT was dancing through my imagination. I couldnt wait to get home and write it all down.
THREE DOG KNIGHT is the prequel to my first two Knight books. It takes place in the north of England in 1497, when Thomas was a strapping young man of 24 who had just inherited the Thornbury title. His neighbors in Northumberland think that he is half-witted because he barely speaks to anyone except his scruffy dogs, and shuns the company of most people. Only his squire, 16-year-old Andrew Ford, knows the truth: Thomas cultivates a brusque exterior to hide the sensitive and love-starved person he really is. Thomas is also terrified of women, and particularly dislikes Isabel, his self-absorbed, recently widowed sister-in-law.
His world turns upside-down when Alicia Broom, presumedly the daughter of a goldsmith from York, is literally dropped on Thomas doorstep by her guardian. Ten years previously, Alicia and Thomas had been betrothed, much to the amusement of Toms siblings. Now Alicia, carrying a life-threatening secret, has arrived to claim her husband.
I love to hear from readers. Please write to me at P.O. Box 10703, Burke, VA 22099-0703.
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