The Second Lady Silverwood by Emma Orchard was published by Allison and Busby on 20 April 2023
Emma kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about The Second Lady Silverwood.
It’s a marriage of convenience story. It’s 1814, and Sir Benedict Silverwood is a widower who needs to marry to gain an heir, and also a mother for his lonely young daughter. He can’t face marrying a debutante, so his mother suggests Kate, who is an impoverished spinster and teacher. What Ben doesn’t know is that she’s been in love with him since she was eighteen. Is it a last chance for love, or is Kate setting herself up for more heartbreak? It’s a Regency romance very much in the tradition of Georgette Heyer, but with a lot more spice, and some other differences that will become clear as you read on.
2. What inspired the book?
During lockdown, I was part of a group on Twitter reading Heyer’s books a few chapters a week – it was a lifeline to sanity in very dark times. We were reading Sprig Muslin, in which the hero needs to marry; what he doesn’t know is that the woman he proposes to has loved him for years, and so she refuses him because she couldn’t bear to be with him when he doesn’t love her. And someone said, What if she said yes? What would make her do that? A little lightbulb came on and I went away and started writing. I’d been writing fan fiction before, but this was my first original story.
3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I’m a horrible pantser. I start with an idea and see what happens. I’m sure it’s not the best way to write but I don’t seem to be able to do anything different. Once I’ve got into the story, I try to write a synopsis and see if I can manage to take it any further than I’ve got, and sometimes through doing that I get ideas. And sometimes not. I would say though that I write really fast – I think being a pantser and a slow writer would be close to unbearable.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?
Lots! It’s very different seeing things from the author side. I hope my authors would say that I’ve always been extremely sympathetic to the trials of a writer’s life, but it is obviously different experiencing them yourself. I think what strikes me most now is the contrast between writing, which is such a solitary and private thing and perfect for introverts like me, and suddenly having to be out in the world talking about the thing you’ve written, which now has a life of its own independent of you.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
When I’m writing I’m obsessive – I have to be dragged away from it. My main relaxation is reading, but that’s not ideal when you’ve already spent the whole day in front of a screen. I have always shopped in charity shops and enjoyed doing it; I was brought up on it by my mum and I’m happy to say that I’ve trained my kids to be the same. I don’t enjoy shopping for shiny new things and I hardly do that any more, but I love finding bargains in charity shops and auctions. And I knit while I’m watching TV to keep my hands busy – just scarves, so I don’t have to think about it. Would you like a scarf? I have loads.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
My favourite book – if you know me at all you already know this – is Georgette Heyer’s The Corinthian. I must have read it hundreds of times. However, I practically know it by heart – I could probably do a decent job of recreating it from memory – so I should choose something else, which would be Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It’s such a superbly written novel – well, it isn’t just a novel, it’s a world that Susanna Clarke has created. And it’s nice and long. I love a doorstep of a book.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
This is the first Q&A I’ve ever done! But I think I’d like to be asked why I believe Regency romance is still so popular. Why that period in particular? And I think it’s partly the clothes – just objectively, a man who’s good-looking in jeans will be incredible-looking in tight breeches and a snowy white shirt. But it’s also the contrast between a rigidly structured society, and particularly a very controlled, measured, eloquent way of speaking, and the overwhelming passion that inevitably breaks through. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”! My absolute favourite thing when I’m writing is the dialogue – I just think it can be amazingly sexy.
About the Book
It is 1814 and she is the talk of the town …
Sir Benedict Silverwood needs a new wife.
Kate Moreton, an impoverished spinster and Italian teacher, is an outlandish suggestion, but one that grows on Benedict, alongside his attraction to Kate.
Kate has been hopelessly in love with him for years so the idea of marriage when he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings is appalling, but so very tempting at the same time.
Sparks fly and passion flares after the wedding, but it becomes clear that incendiary secrets threaten Kate and Benedict’s fragile new life together. The question is, will he be able to love and trust the second Lady Silverwood?
About the Author
Emma Orchard was born in Salford. She studied English Literature at the Universities of Edinburgh and York, before working behind the scenes in publishing and television for many years. Her first job was at Mills & Boon, where she met her husband in a classic enemies-to-lovers romance. She now lives in North London.
You can buy a copy of the book here.
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