12 February 2012

Guest Blog: Anita Davison

This week, we're welcoming historical fiction author Anita Davison. Her novel, TRENCARROW SECRET, is a coming-of-age tale that brings the Victorian Age to life, with memorable characters and a truly unexpected ending.  Anita's giving away a copy of this title. all you have to do is leave a comment on the character interview for your chance to win. Here's the blurb:

Isabel Hart is afraid of two things, the maze at Trencarrow where she got lost as a young child, and the lake where her brother David saved her from drowning in a boating accident. With her twenty-first birthday and the announcement of her engagement imminent, Isabel decides it is time for her to face her demons and ventures into the maze. There she sees something which will alter her perceptions of herself and her family forever. The house party gathers and as more secrets are revealed, Isabel doubts she has chosen the right man, although her future fiancé has more vested in this marriage than Isabel realizes and has no intention of letting her go easily. Will Isabel be able to put her preconceptions of marriage behind her and take charge of her own life, or is she destined to be controlled by others and a past she cannot break away from? 

Interview with David Hart

I appreciate your showing up for this interview, David.
You’re welcome, and why wouldn’t I turn up? I’m usually close by whenever I’m needed.

Perhaps, but you have the reputation of being somewhat elusive.
[Blinks] Really? I wasn’t aware of that. I admit time is a concept I don’t have a firm grasp of, and I like my own company. I tend to hang around down by the lake. I have some sort of connection with the water and like to sit looking at it for hours at a time.

And the boathouse I believe? Isabel tells me you prefer to stay there during your summers in Cornwall rather than the main house.
[Shrugs] Nothing wrong with craving a little privacy is there?  I brought some chums from school down one year and we had a grand time, swimming at night and holding supper parties in the boathouse.  I suppose the main house with its rigid timetable lost its appeal after that.  Besides, no one bothered me at the boathouse unless I invited them. That suited me very well, so I continued the habit.

Doesn’t Isabel miss you?
Why should she? I’m always close by whenever Izzy needs me. She’s a shy, insecure girl and has needed me quite a lot recently. Ever since......

The accident on the lake?
[Narrows his eyes] I realise you need to delve into our lives, but I’ll offer a word of warning. No one in the family talks about that day Isabel almost drowned.  The poor girl had nightmares for weeks and even now she keeps well away from the water.  I tend to meet her over by that old oak where the bench is. Somehow the lake still upsets her. She won’t discuss it, even with me.

But  you saved her life, surely you have discussed that day with her?
Not really. She mentions how it felt sometimes, to be dragged down by weeds and to see the sky through deep green water but not be able to reach it, while her lungs felt as if they were bursting. Pretty horrific for her I’d say. She always starts to shake at that point so I change the subject.  Why upset her?

She’s almost twenty-one now. Don’t you feel that she’s over protected because of something that happened four years ago?
 [Rolls eyes] Time means little when something like that happens. Has it really been four years? I had almost forgotten that myself. Perhaps I should remind her she has her whole life to live and can’t live in the past.

How do you feel about her becoming engaged to Jared Winters?

[Sniffs] I don't like it at all actually. Jared isn’t right for her, but I can’t simply go up to her and order her not to marry him. She thinks she’s doing what Ma and Pa want.

And is she? Doing what her parents want?
[Stares off across the lake] Pa certainly. He pays attention to all that social status and marrying the right kind to keep family assets intact sort of thing. Ma is more concerned about Isabel’s happiness. I had a word with her actually about this very subject.

Does your mother intend to do something about it?
[Face lights up] Oh, yes.  But Ma is very ill you know, and Isabel hasn’t been told.  Ridiculous if you ask me, she isn’t a child. However, Pa says he wants to wait until the time is right. I’m more practical and if it were up to me I’d come right out with it. And actually, Ma and I have something up our sleeves concerning Isabel.

What do you mean?
Well, Ma has invited a charming young man to spend the summer at Trencarrow. Chap called Lord Strachan. I doubt it’s a plot to match make or anything like that, but who knows?  She thinks that if Isabel is made to realise there are other attractive, eligible young men willing to pay her some attention, she will decide for herself that she doesn’t have to do what she thinks is expected of her all the time.

Suppose this young man doesn’t take to Isabel?
Hah! How could he not? Isabels’ quite the most lovely thing I have ever seen, and that’s quite an admission coming from her brother. She’s built like a racehorse, all red gold mane and long, graceful limbs which make her look as if she glides rather than walks.  She has a kind heart and the sweetest disposition too, which would be entirely wasted on Jared. I only hope she finds out before it’s too late.

Weren’t you once engaged to Jared’s sister, Evaline Winters?
[Nerve jumps beside his mouth and he looks away] How did you find that out? Oh well, no matter. It’s true. We were very young and Evaline would sneak off and meet me at the boathouse. Young love is very strong and all that. I doubt we would have made it official at all if my father hadn’t found us.  Before I knew it, there was an announcement in The Times. Evaline was thrilled of course, engaged at sixteen seems to be something girls in our circle go for. Heady stuff for a seventeen-year- old – and I’m talking about myself!

So what happened – because you didn’t marry Evaline?
[Inhales through pursed lips] I fluffed it I’m afraid.  Acted like a complete idiot and during a raucous night out at the theatre in London with some school friends, I took up with some actress from the show. Can’t even remember her name now. Evaline found out and broke off the engagement. Broke her heart apparently, not that I fully appreciated that at the time. Too busy thanking my lucky stars for my escape.  [Sighs] I wonder sometimes that I may have been to rash and imagine what being married to her would have been like. Quite agreeable I should think, she’s quite a character. Too late now though.

Tell me more about yours and your mother’s plans for Isabel?
Ma knows she’s dying, and she’s determined to tell Isabel the truth about her and Pa’s marriage, how it affected her life and that she wants more for Izzy. She’ll pick her moment and when she does, it will be perfect. Ma’s shrewd like that.  She may look like a fragile iris whose neck can barely support her head, but she’s cleverer that Pa at times, and persistent. She’ll put Izzy right, you’ll see.

You could help do that too. Isabel listens to you doesn’t she?
[Frowns] Yes, she does. We’ve always been close. Maybe I’ll put an odd word into her ear too. Let her know she has alternatives no one will hold against her. I would hate to see Izzy trapped in a cold marriage with a bounder like Winters. He’s young and brash, and casual about other people’s feelings. There’s a cruel streak in him too, and I doubt he’ll treat her with the delicacy she needs. He’ll trample over her emotions and disappoint her. 

You’ll have to pick your moment too, won’t you?
[Laughs] indeed I will or Izzy won’t thank me for meddling. She won’t like it that we’ve been keeping secrets from her either, but I’ll have to face that one.

Thank you for talking to me, David. I do hope you can help make Isabel see things more clearly.
I’m confident I will. [Sniffs the air] Summer’s coming, I can feel it. May it be a good one this year.

Learn more about the enigmatic David Hart in Anita Davison's Trencarrow Secret, available now from MuseItUp PublishingSmashwords and Amazon for Kindle.