06 March 2011

Guest Author: Michelle Styles

This week on Unusual Historicals, we're welcoming the return of long-time contributor Michelle Styles as she celebrates the release of her latest Mills & Boon romance, BREAKING THE GOVERNESS'S RULES, an early Victorian set in the North East of England. Here's the blurb:

'How delightful to meet you again, Miss Louisa Sibson.'

Jonathon, Lord Chesterholm's eyes bored holes into Louisa Sibsons back. The former fiancée he's thought dead is very much alive. Louisa has rebuilt her life, after being dishonourably dismissed from her post as governess for allowing Jonathon to seduce her. Now Louisa lives by a rulebook of morals and virtue. The devastating Lord Chesterholm will not ruin her again! But Jonathon will get to the bottom of Louisa's disappearance--and he'll enjoy breaking a few of her rules along the way!

So what is this one about, Michelle?

This is the story of Louisa Sibson and Jonathon Fanshaw, Lord Chesterholm and their second chance. Louisa is a former governess who was dishonourably dismissed from her post after Jonathon seduced. She thought they would marry but he disappeared. Louisa has completely rebuilt her life and is determined that this time history will not repeat itself.

Four years before, Jonathon suffered a terrible carriage accident and thought he killed Louisa. However she is very much alive and he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

This book is linked to COMPROMISING MISS MILTON. How so? Is this a sequel or a stand alone?

It is a standalone story and takes place a few weeks after the end of COMPROMISING MISS MILTON. When I was writing COMPROMISING MISS MILTON, Daisy had a friend who had to leave England because of her past. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered about that past. So in the end I had to write it. It is a stand alone book, but several characters notably the Blandishes from COMPROMISING MISS MILTON make a reappearance. Nella Blandish was such a great character that I was really delighted to explore her personality some more. Daisy and Adam come back during the epilogue.

You are on record for using myths and fairy tales as part of your inspiration. Did you use any here?

This is the one where I used the Psyche and Eros/Cupid myth. Not the more common first half of the myth that many people recognise as Beauty and the Beast, but the second half when Psyche has to battle Venus, the mother-in-law from Hades and prove that she is indeed worthy to become a goddess. In doing so, she manages reawaken Eros's interest and both Psyche and Eros have a growth arc. The second half is sometimes referred to as East of the Sun, West of the Moon as that is the fairy tale which grew out of the myth as it were.

It is one of the few myths where Eros appears as a grown man, rather than a cheeky cherub.

I had wanted to use the myth for a long time as it is one of my favourites. Then when I had to do revisions on the story, it suddenly all fell into place that I had used that myth subconsciously.

Do you know when this will be out in the US?

No I don't. It will be coming there--probably a month after they release COMPROMISING MISS MILTON. It will be out in April in Australia and New Zealand as part of a Three-in-One offering along with Diane Gaston and Ann Lethbridge's recent UK releases. Anyone who would like to get a copy can order from the Book Depository. The Book Depository does not charge shipping.

What's coming up for you?

Well I have had a busy few months with releases (last month saw the release of my short novella "THE PERFECT CONCUBINE" in the US and the release of the book I co-wrote with Kate Allen, THE LADY SOLDIER, as an ebook with new UK imprint Embrace Books. This is set continue in July with the UK release of TO MARRY A MATCHMAKER. I am busy writing my next one and really looking forward to attending the RWA National Conference at the end of June in New York City.


Thank you Michelle for visiting today! Remember to leave a comment to be put in the draw for a signed copy of BREAKING THE GOVERNESS'S RULES. Michelle suggests telling her: What do you think of second chance romances? The winner will be drawn next Sunday at random. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!

You can learn more about Michelle's books by visiting her website