The lovely Jude Knight has stopped by my parlour today for an interview and to chat about her upcoming release, a Regency noir style novel, A Raging Madness, the second title in her Golden Redepennings Series. It’s due out on May 9! make sure you check out a wonderful excerpt from A Raging Madness and Jude’s fabulous giveaway offers at the end of the interview.
- What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My perfect day would be spent with family and friends: the adults talking, the children playing, good food on the barbecue, jokes and stories, memories of those who have left us, ball and board games, a glass of white wine or my home-made cider, maybe a movie in the evening. Perfect happiness? For me, that comes in fleeting moments when you look at a difficult task successfully accomplished. When I see my children and soon my grandchildren at their graduation, that’s a moment of perfect happiness. When a book I’ve given my heart and soul to for months on end goes to a difficult reviewer and comes back with five stars, that works too.
- Which living person do you most admire?
Pope Francis. His is the perfect balance of fidelity to tradition and pastoral care, with pastoral care winning every time there’s a conflict. I try to live like that.
- What is your greatest extravagance?
My grandchildren. But they’re worth it.
- What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I don’t think any of the seven cardinal virtues are overrated, though they get a bad name from those who claim them without practicing them, or who follow the letter but not the spirit of the virtue. All things in moderation doesn’t apply to virtue itself, but it certainly applies to feeling good about being prudent or faithful or charitable.
The greatest virtue is love, and none of the rest remain virtues if practiced without love.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I am trying to train myself out of using filter words—those unnecessary extra bits that remove the reader one more step from the action. Not ‘He looked up and saw her entering the room, and suddenly felt energised’, but ‘When she swept into the room, her bright eyes searching until they found him, he surged to his feet, ready to fight dragons or climb mountains at her word.” When I searched on filter words in A Raging Madness, I found 363 instances of the verb ‘look’. He looked, she looked, they looked. Boring!
- What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My personal romantic hero and I fell in love when he was 21 and I was 19. That’s 48 years ago. I love him more each year. He is my partner, my friend, the father of my children, and the love of my life.
- When and where were you happiest?
See above. Accomplishing things makes me happy. Being with family and friends makes me happy.
- Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to play a musical instrument. Not enough to actually practise, though.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children, who are all fine people: kind to others, honourable, and decent.
- If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I’d enjoy being a treasured house cat. 20 hours sleep a day? Bring it on.
- Where would you most like to live?
I live in my ideal place—small town New Zealand on a two acre block full of fruit trees.
- What is your most treasured possession?
That’s hard. I’m just not that fussed about possessions. I love my jewellery, mostly costume jewellery though it is, because each piece reminds me of the person who gave it to me, and I have other precious things given by family or friends. I’d say my iPad but it is more what is on it and what I can do with it than the actual physical object.
- What is your favorite occupation?
Writing, or rather story-telling. It’s the most fun you can have when you’re not lying down.
- Who are your favorite writers?
So many. It’s hard to pick, but here are a few from the top of my head. Asimov, Le Guin, Tolkein, Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Patricia Wentworth, Terry Pratchett, Elizabeth Hoyt, Georgette Heyer, Grace Burrows, Shakespeare, Dickens. And many more, from whom I’ve learnt and in whose pioneering feet I aspire to tread. The writers of the Psalms and the translators of the Bible are right up there, too.
- Who is your hero/heroine of fiction?
I’m currently in love with the Duke of Murnane, who appears in Caroline Warfield’s Children of Empire series. In the first two books in the series, he’s a supporting actor to his cousins, Fred and Rand. I can’t wait for the third book, in which he stars.
- Which historical figure do you most identify with?
‘Identify with’? Not really. I have some historical heroes, or rather heroines. But their lives were very different to mine. Kate Sheppard, a pioneer suffragette in New Zealand. St Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped from her family in South Sudan and survived torture, rape, and slavery to become a religious sister in Italy. Isabella Beeton and other women writers who turned domestic duties into a cottage industry by writing about them. Rosa Parks who changed the shape of American society because she was tired of being moved at someone else’s whim.
I hope that, if I were in their shoes, I too would stand up to prejudice and stupidity, and make the most of narrow choices.
- Who are your heroes in real life?
Living heroes? Today? My daughters, who are the kind of strong, confident women I would have liked to be when I was their age. My PRH, who has lived his life in service to his family.
- If you had a day all to yourself and your only mission was to enjoy it, what would you do?
I would read, write, and eat chocolate. And drink cider, most likely, or a glass of white wine.
Ella survived an abusive and philandering husband, in-laws who hate her, and public scorn. But she’s not sure she will survive love. It is too late to guard her heart from the man forced to pretend he has married such a disreputable widow, but at least she will not burden him with feelings he can never return.
Alex understands his supposed wife never wishes to remarry. And if she had chosen to wed, it would not have been to him. He should have wooed her when he was whole, when he could have had her love, not her pity. But it is too late now. She looks at him and sees a broken man. Perhaps she will learn to bear him.
In their masquerade of a marriage, Ella and Alex soon discover they are more well-matched than they expected. But then the couple’s blossoming trust is ripped apart by a malicious enemy. Two lost souls must together face the demons of their past to save their lives and give their love a future.
Jude is offering a wonderful prize – a free ecopy of each of the other Redepenning stories to a random commenter: Candle’s Christmas Chair and Gingerbread Bride (novellas) and Farewell to Kindness (Golden Redepennings, Book 1).
Plus there’s a chance to enter a Rafflecopter for a wonderful made-to-order story by Jude Knight (till 13 May). Click here for the Rafflecopter.
The operation would be performed in the outdoors, where the light was better. They were only a few yards from where the Maggie Belle was moored, and all going well, they would return there after the operation. Big Dan had agreed that they could travel on with the narrowboat if Ella was prepared to guarantee Alex was on the mend.
“I don’t wish to disoblige, Mrs Sedgewick, especially when you and himself have been so good to my Pat, but I don’t want a gentleman dying on my boat, and that’s a fact.”
The canal was the gentlest way to transport Alex to London, and Ella trusted Big Dan and didn’t want to start again with another boat. She paid his costs to stable Bess for another day, and a bit over for his trouble. If she was able to save Alex’s leg, they would be ready to travel on tomorrow. Not saving Alex was an intolerable thought, and she would not entertain it for a moment.
It was a cool day in late autumn, but fine and still. Alex was carried from the boat across the bridle path to the field where they had set up trestles on a borrowed door they had pressed into service to act as stretcher and operating table.
Barlow and Whitlock had returned to watch, and Mrs Manning had bullied them into washing so they could help hold Alex during the operation. Mrs Manning’s husband had also been an advocate of Alexander Gordon’s theories that contagion was minimised by cleanliness, something Ella’s father had taught her. She had seen the benefit many times when his patients and hers survived in greater numbers than those of other doctors.
With that in mind, she had boiled the lancets and probes Mrs Manning provided. The cloths they would use, too, had been freshly laundered in boiling water, and the door had been scoured with strong soap and then draped with a clean sheet.
They strapped Alex to the door to stop him moving, gave him a wooden block to bite on, washed his naked thigh and draped
cloths around it to catch the fluids that would spill.
“I will be as quick as I can, Alex,” Ella said, and Alex smiled and told her, “I trust you, Ella.”
She could not think of that: could not consider she was about to cut into her nemesis, her saviour, her dear friend; could not remember the consequences if she failed. She said a quick prayer, and then, as her father had taught her, she took a deep breath and let it go, releasing with it all consciousness of the small crowd of watchers, of the still smaller crowd of helpers, of Alex as a person.
Before her was a leg. A thing of meat and bone and blood, and within it the enemy, the death-bringer. Finding the abscess, releasing the poison, that was her entire focus. The muscle of the thigh was simply something to be damaged as little as possible as she sliced into it to reach the poison beneath.
She had chosen the sharpest and most slender of the lancets, and with it she cut quickly and deeply. On another plane, someone gave a smothered, strangled scream and the thigh twitched, but not enough to deflect her blade from its path. There. Pus, a thick yellowy cream springing up the channel she had made mixed with the blood that tried to drown her view.
Of a sudden, her detachment deserted her, and she braced herself against the table, tightening her suddenly weak knees so she didn’t fall. Rotting flesh had an odour all its own; once smelled never forgotten. This was infection, but not rot. She was in time.
And time was of the essence. No indulging in vapours.
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.