It’s a great pleasure to welcome Nicola Slade to the blog today, especially as she has also written a “The House At…” novel! The House at Ladywell was published a couple of days ago and combines historical and romantic fiction. Nicola is a prolific author whose previous books have mostly been historical mysteries. Let’s find out how she got into writing them.
My first published book, Scuba Dancing, was a romantic comedy, but from a very young age I wanted to write historical novels and once I discovered mysteries I wanted to write that kind of book too. What better, then, to combine both passions and write historical mysteries?
What period of history was the next question and initially I wanted to write the kind of romantic mystery Georgette Heyer specialised in like my favourites The Quiet Gentleman, The Reluctant Widow, etc. However, the Regency period is pretty well-covered so I thought again, but I didn’t have far to look for a less crowded period. I’ve always loved Victorian novels so it made sense to move the story forward in time.
My mother and grandmother introduced me to their own favourite Victorian writers, notably Charlotte Yonge and Mrs Henry Wood, both best-sellers in their day. Both authors, whose first books came out around the 1850s, provided me with social customs, costume, speech, etc.
From this background came my Victorian series, Charlotte Richmond Investigates set in the 1850s. (Book 1 of three, ignore the awful cover, not my choice!)
My contemporary mysteries featuring Harriet Quigley, a retired headmistress, and her cousin the Reverend Sam Hathaway, are full of history and as they are set in and around Winchester, the ancient capital of England, I have plenty to draw on. (Book 1 of three)
When it came to writing The House at Ladywell I knew the house’s history was important but couldn’t think how to include it in a contemporary romantic novel until I realised that stories of the family could be slipped into the narrative as interludes known only to the reader, and not the heroine. It’s not time-slip and it isn’t a dual-timeline, both of which genres I did consider.
In fact, there are seven historical ‘echoes’ taking the family story from Roman times up to WW1 and leading to the present day when the house is inherited by a young woman who has no idea that she is the last in the family of strong-minded and resourceful women who, in their day, fought with whatever came to hand, including murder, to keep their family safe.
The House at Ladywell is set in Ramalley, a fictionalised version of Romsey in Hampshire. My novel has a statue in the square too, and it’s very significant to the plot!
The House at Ladywell is available on Amazon.
About Nicola Slade
Nicola was brought up in Dorset and now lives with her husband near Winchester in Hampshire. She loves to travel and lived in Cairo, in Egypt, when her children were young. She writes two separate mystery series, one set in the 1850s featuring Charlotte Richmond, a young Victorian widow, and a contemporary series about recently-retired headmistress, Harriet Quigley and her clergyman cousin, Canon Sam Hathaway. Nicola’s latest book, The House at Ladywell, is partly contemporary and partly historical.
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Copyright © Vanessa Couchman, Nicola Slade 2017, all rights reserved.