Facebook Q & A Session
Q. Anne: Have you chosen your next book subject, and if so, have you started it yet? I love your books.
A. Hi Anne, thank you so much. Yes! I have started the next one, though it is early days. I am currently writing Jeremy Vance’s story, aka Viscount Faris. It starts when he has been divorced for twelve months. His son and heir recently had scarlet fever, so the story starts in Bath for Teddy’s recuperation. Then I anticipate it will move to Penarth, where I am looking forward to writing some scenes featuring Mina and Nye. *rubs hands*
Q. Megan: Hello Alice! I'm a fairly new fan of yours & have absolutely devoured every single one of your books! (My favorite so far has been, punnily enough, The Favourite haha). I'm super excited for Gunnilde's story and wondered if you had an educated guess when her story would be finished, as well as what the future of your Karadok/Victorian Prizefighters series looks like?
A. Hi Megan, aww thank you, so glad you discovered me! As for Gunnilde’s story, I have made lots of notes, but not actually started it yet. My current thinking is that I will write it next year (2024) though I am not sure if it will be in the first or second half of the year. There are two Karadok books that I have lots of notes for, but I think the other one (not Gunnilde’s) is taking up more of my thoughts at present…
Confession time: I also had a bit of a crisis with Gunnilde’s love interest which switched on me and caught me off guard. I was so sure I knew who her true love was, but she really wasn’t having it, and it’s ended up being someone completely unexpected. I actually feel a bit guilty about the whole thing, as I have misled several people about who it is! (In good faith of course!) Consequently, I now feel bad!
Future of Karadok books – I see the Brides of Karadok series going up to at least ten books, maybe even twelve. I then think I will probably start another series which will be a sort of ‘next generation’ spin off. Maybe ‘Bridegrooms of Karadok’ or something like that. I am currently unsure if Cuthbert’s book will be the last in the BofK series, or the first in the next.
Future of Victorian Prizefighter series – Hmm, I am not yet sure about this one. Currently I do not have any firm plans for more, though I do have a couple of ideas. I do want to write more Victorian stories with working class characters but I’m not sure if they will be prizefighers at this point. Having said that, I did have an idea for Claude Pfeiffer, and I do think it would be fun to write Jack Toomes and see what his brothers are up to further down the line. Even Barty Ewell made quite an impression on me… I will need to wait and see where inspiration leads me with that series.
Q. Andrea: Hi! Here are my questions: 1. Is there any chance of making any of the series available in physical book form? 2. How many books are planned for the prizefighter and brides of Karadok series? 3. Do you have plans for any new series coming up? If so, can you share any details? I also just wanted to let Alice know how important The Unlovely Bride and An Inconvenient Vow are to me. I’ve reread them several times and they are always a comfort. Thanks!
A. Hi Andrea, I am so happy to hear those two books are comfort reads for you. That is one of my favourite things to hear from readers.
1. Good news! I am currently working on this and hope to have some limited print runs organized for Autumn time/ the end of this year. It is proving to be a time-consuming process but once I have sorted everything for the first one, I am hopeful the process will speed up for me.
2. Please see answer to Megan’s answer above.
3. Yes, there will be a new series starting toward the end of this year. Mainly because Jeremy’s story, which I am currently writing, does not fit into the Prizefighter series, as neither the hero nor heroine is a prizefighter! So, it will be the first in a new series, which I am thinking will be called something like ‘Victorian Heiresses in Dire Straits” or “Broke Victorian Heiresses”, or something along those lines but hopefully catchier! (Not that I am known for my catchy series titles – far from it!) Basically, the heroines in this series will all have come from money, or had money at some point, but have now suffered some misfortune which throws their future into jeopardy somehow… I do dearly love a reversal of fortune! I hope this sounds like something you would like to read.
Q. Natasha: Questions for Alice!
1) Who is your favorite heroine out of all your books?
2) You touched a bit on Jane and Bardulf not conceiving a baby by the end of The Favourite. Was this a conscious decision for their characters, or do you see them having children of their own in the future?
3) What does the future hold for Jeffree and Sabina? They're my favorite couple and I always want to know what they're up to!
4) Did Lenora have a boy or a girl? Thank you! Natasha
A. Hi Natasha. 1. Ooh gosh, fave heroine, that is a tough one! I can’t even start a book until I have the heroine fixed in my mind, and really like her and feel for her and want to cheer her on. Some of my heroes I don’t even like at the beginning of their books, but that doesn’t seem to matter one bit! The whole time, they are behaving badly, I am anticipating how hard they are going to fall and rubbing my hands together, looking forward to how much they are going to regret their actions eventually!
With my heroines, it is completely different. I am already firmly in their camp from the opening page. Even when the heroine might start out with some faults, e.g. be a bit judgemental and starchy like Lizzie for instance, I know why they are that way and sympathise with their plight. So, to stop rambling and get back to your question, they are all firm favourites with me. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to get many words down on the page!
2. This was a conscious decision. Celestia will be their only child and she will proudly bear Alisander’s name and title.
3. I only see Sabina and Jeffree having one child, and that will be a girl, so the title of Duke of Ganford will pass down to another branch of the De Crecy line. Jeffree, of course will be utterly contemptuous of the heir, and firmly convinced that his daughter would be a far more worthy successor. He might try and persuade her to marry whichever second cousin it is but as you can imagine, any child with their parentage will be extremely headstrong and she will choose her own path!
In the meantime, I see Jeffree and Sabina touring the tournament circuit. Jeffree’s displays of temper will continue to entertain the crowd, and Sabina will continue unbothered by them. I already know that spectators like Gunnilde and the Queen will be highly delighted by their interactions and Jeffree’s obvious devotion to his wife.
4. Ooh, I have a family tree to consult as I can’t remember off the top of my head. It’s so frustrating as I know I placed it inside a notebook, and I can’t put my hand to it right now! Next time I see it, I am going to type it up. I really should have done that before now… Sorry Natasha! Whichever it is, it is healthy and bonny and has a bright future.
Q. Michele: Will we see stories for Sir Edward Bevan and Sir James Attley? Will we see more stories in the prizefighter series? Or stories like Mina and Nye? I Ioved that they were normal people doing normal things like cleaning and cooking. I felt so connected to them, more than I can to a character in the aristocracy. Alice, your books bring me so much joy! They feel real and fleshed out. Thank you for what you do!
A. Hi Michele, Ahh, I’m so glad you feel connected to my characters, thank you so much. I actually thought that Gunnilde’s book would feature Sir Ned Bevan in the main role but sadly it became apparent pretty quickly that they just weren’t going to work out! Ned and James will feature in the beginning of that book but as secondary characters rather than leads. I do feel like Ned could have a book at some point, but I think his heroine would need to be very different to Gunnilde, perhaps a fiery type. As for James, I have no current plan to write a story for him. At one point in an early draft of Oswald’s book, he had a love interest and I think he will probably marry her off-page.
I most certainly want to continue to explore those themes, with working-class characters in future books as I love them too. In fact, I am thinking that the heroine of the next Karadok book will not be nobility at all, and that book will give a glimpse of villager life, rather than that of nobility at the manor.
I will certainly be writing more Victorian stories (which I have mentioned above) but I do not know yet if I will continue with the prizefighter series. To be honest, Clem never even stepped into a ring in that third book! I always planned to write him a match, but it just did not materialise. I do have some vague ideas for another two, possibly three books in that series but they are currently well down the list when it comes to writing them.
Q. Jenn: First- I love the worlds you’ve created! Thank you! I love when characters that were introduced in earlier works pop up in future books. I loved Enid Jauncey’s fast friendship with Linnet. Will she get a second chance at a happily ever after?
A. Thanks so much Jenn! Ah yes, I too loved that friendship that sprang up between Enid and Linnet. Currently, I do not have any plans to write a story for Enid, though I’ve always intended to have her show up in future books set at Cadwallader.
For future stories, I’ve always thought at least one of Mason and Linnet’s twins would make a good heroine and their eldest son Archie, who inherited Linnet’s red hair and freckles. Enid would be sure to be a godmother to one of them, so I thought I could have her show up in those stories.
Thinking about it, I DO think Enid would make an interesting heroine, especially with the circumstances of her still living with her late husband’s family and being saddled with such a mother-in-law… hmmm. You’ve actually got me thinking Jenn. (I just had to take a five-minute break while I scribbled down some ideas!) Okay, Enid might be on a future heroine list now!
Q. Kristen: My question is, are you planning for the King and Queen to have their own book, or will their story play out in the background of the other books in the series? When reading His Forsaken Bride, I thought Fenella might eventually find out that Oswald forged their marriage contract but she never did. Do you think Oswald will keep that a secret forever?
A. Hi Kristen. I do not plan on writing a book around Wymer and Armenal but I do plan on having them feature in most of the future books. If you’ve read The Favourite, then you will know that their relationship has taken an unforeseen turn, and I do see things developing from there.
Re: Oswald and Fenella, it was originally my intention that Fenella would find out all about the forgery but then Oswald turned out to be a lot sneakier and more underhanded than I initially realized! I do want to write a story for one of their twins, and that book will give an inside glimpse of their family life later on down the line.
If you remember the play that Mr. Entner wrote, well, what you do not know is that after its performance at the palace, Oswald scared the life out of the playwright and forced some re-writes before it toured the provinces, most of which were written by Bryce who turned out to have quite a flair for comedy.
“The Tragical History of a Lady Most Foully Betrayed” became “A Husband Tamed: A Comedy in Three Acts”, a rollicking farce where the Lady Vyella ends up leading Sir Orlando Mawby around by his nose and gains the upper hand in their marriage. It was a huge hit, and Mr. Entner becomes undeservingly rich off it. It then becomes a Vawdrey family tradition, that they go and see the play whenever it returns to Aphrany.
I could imagine a scene where Oswald has the trickery with the betrothal document written into the ten-year anniversary performance, and when a bewildered Fen afterward wonders why such a scene has newly appeared, he confesses all and gets it off his chest. How does that sound? Actually… now that I think about it, that would make a good Christmas short story. Maybe I should try and write that this year for the December newsletter.
Q. Heather: First, I would like to say how wonderful your books are, and they always bring me to my happy place. I always want to read your books slowly, so they can last me a few days, but it never works, and I show up to work with no sleep lol. My question is and I am sure everyone has asked you. Could we please have a full length Renlow book? I know you hinted maybe a short work for him. Since I first read about him in other books, he was magical and jumped off the page. Thank you for all your books.
A. Hi Heather, ahh, thank you so much for your kind words. I never initially planned to write a story around Renlow, and I honestly thought having him as a secondary character in Kentigern’s story would suffice. I have to admit though, that I have had quite a few people write asking for more from him. I am very fond of him and its lovely that he has inspired a bit of a following! As it stands, I have a few ideas jotted down, which I think would work for a short story but I’m not sure about basing a whole novel around him. I will keep my thinking hat on, Heather and will keep an open mind about any possible potential.
Q. Tracy: 1. Is Armand really King Wymer’s bastard son? Armand and Una are my favorite couple. Which is saying something because I also really love Linnet and Mason. I was actually hoping for a romance between one of their daughters (if they had any) and the Prince.
2. I saw a family tree of all the Vawdrey brother’s children. What is your vision for the children of the Brides of Karadok? My only imaginings are tiny Matilda with a bunch of giant sons. And Lenora having the same number as Eden but gender swapped – 3 boys and a girl.
A. Hi Tracy, I do think that Armand is Wymer’s son, though Armand has no idea about it and his mother is long dead. The way I see it, is that Lady de Bussell dazzled a very young Wymer, and was his first love affair. That lady, however, was not as enamoured as he. She was charming and fickle and did not like to be bothered, (a bit like Armand!), so when she got fed up with court, she ran back home to her husband and conveniently forgot all about the affair.
Wymer always suspected Armand might well be his, though there was no family resemblance for he took after his mother. As we know, Wymer typically takes an interest in his male bastards at least. Not long after this, Wymer became betrothed to the Princess Eleanor and other ladies caught his eye. He probably forgot all about Armand over the years, until he surfaced on the tournament circuit where he re-captured his attention. Since then, he has contented himself with observing Armand from a distance. As we know Wymer was very pleased over the match with Una, who is only distantly related to Wymer though he calls her cousin.
I cannot see that Armand’s parentage will have much effect on future Karadokian developments, though it is possible that Wymer might take an interest in his and Una’s offspring’s matrimonial prospects. Predictably, I am sad to say that Wymer has shown no interest in Armand’s twin sister. Going back to your hopes for the prince, Tracy, it does rule out any marriage between any daughter of Una’s and Prince Raedan as she would be his niece!
Re: the next generation of characters, I very much want to write stories for Mason’s heir Archibald, and possibly one of their twin girls, I don’t remember which. Sadly, Mason turns out to be as high-handed with their betrothals as his father the baron was, which causes a good deal of strife. I also want to write a story for Oswald’s second born son, but that is as far as I have got so far in my supposings. Now he, the second son, Stephen Vawdrey, falls in love with the last person he ought to (clue - her name is Thane), and it is all a big secret and a bit of a mess. I look forward to writing it very much!
I think one of Garman and Lenora’s daughters would be a good heroine, though I think Garman would be a truly terrifying prospect for a father-in-law. Mathilde might just get her way and have one of her sons marry Fenella’s daughter. Cedany is her father’s favourite child, so Oswald would NOT be happy about the prospect of her up moving North.
Jane and Alisander’s daughter Celestia is destined to fall in love with someone highly unsuitable, and this will cause her some heartache, I know that much. I had better stop rambling on now, or you will all realize I spend far too much time thinking about all these characters, even when their books are written! Hahah!
Q. Maria: I love your world building in both series, especially I love the detailed description of mundane everyday happenings, such as detailed description of the medieval and Victorian clothing, customs and society expectations for manners especially in certain gender roles. Therefore, I was wondering:
1. Are you a historian also in your other life? Is/are there a real historical person(s) who is/are acting as a model for Oswald and Alisander? Like Francis Walsingham.
2. The reader discovers enticing tidbits in the books about the history and the geography of Karadok, but also the neighbouring countries - Is there something planned to dive deeper the surrounding countries. 3. I was wondering if Fulcher from “The Consolation Prize“ would get his own rogue book? Or what happens with Sir Renlow and Ursula in their married life. What about the king and queen? So, as you can see massive fan reader here - I even did not know this kind of genre existed. 4. Last - what would you recommend to bridge until your next book is out? What do you read? Do you have recommendation for independent authors or authors from small publishing houses? Thank you very much for lovely reading moments! I hope you receive a lot of lovely comments and questions. Kind regards from Hamburg
A. Hi Maria, thank you so much for your lovely comments, it’s wonderful knowing I have a dedicated reader in Hamburg.
1. I have always loved history and all through school was carrying around books on the Tudors even though at high school we never studied the kings and queens at all, only the world wars! It’s something I’ve loved all through my life, and there are always new books coming out citing new evidence and sources, and putting forward new theories, so it never gets tired as a subject. Only last month I was reading about some garments found in Austria from the 1400s that some theorize were a sort of medieval brassiere (possibly referred to as ‘breastbags’ in medieval writings). At the moment, I’m reading a fantastic book called “The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England” by Ian Mortimer which provides so many insights to daily life and how society was structured. My characters are not actually based on any one historical figure, but they would certainly have been influenced by all of the history I have read over the years.
2. You’re right, I have started mentioning the surrounding countries to Karadok a lot more in recent books. I am not yet certain how much they will factor in future books, but I do think I will continue to feature more characters from other kingdoms. At some point I would like to write a foreign royal bride coming to Karadok. Perhaps to marry the prince? I think that would be a fun storyline, but I do think that one is a way off. My list of books to write just keeps getting longer and longer!
3. I have no plans to write a story around Fulcher, although it is possible, he may feature in a later book around Una and Armand’s offspring. It would be funny if they considered him a crusty old family retainer at this point, who has always been with them and keeps them on the straight and narrow. Especially considering his past! (See previous answer to Heather regarding Renlow and Kristen’s reply re: the royal couple.)
4. Regarding recommendations, I love all the classics like Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey and Lynsay Sands. For newer writers from smaller publishers, I would recommend Margaux Thorne and Aydra Richards whose books I have enjoyed very much. Happy reading!
Q. Janet: Will the mysterious crown prince have a book of his own? If so, will his bride be a noblewoman of Karadok or a foreign princess?
A. Hi Janet. How funny, I’ve only just briefly touched on this in the answer above! Yes, I do hope to write a story about Prince Raedan in the future, but it won’t be for a good while yet. I have some vague idea about a princess from the Western Isles, or Lascony as we should call it now! Wilhelm does not have any issue, but he has several sisters who have given him lots of nieces to pick from. I think as an insult to Wymer he would pick the most unpromising and obscure of the crop!
As for the mysterious prince, he is slowly starting to take form in the back of my mind. I really think Wymer must send for him soon, or it will start to be whispered in certain corners that some dark secret surrounds him. I think I mentioned him as a youth in The Favourite, so he should really turn up at court soon. Maybe in Gunnilde’s book, where I imagine he would take a shine to Cuthbert, Kit and Hal who will be seasoned squires at that point.
Q. Elizabeth: Hello! I would absolutely love a short story or even a few sentences about Bess Hartleby’s fate. Was she happy with the artist she ran away with? Thank you for the many magical stories, Alice. I own every book and every audiobook. You are so talented :)
A. Hi Elizabeth, ahh thank you so much! Do you know, I don’t think anyone has ever asked me about Bess! It is possible she might crop up in a future book. It seems likely to me that Mathilde might send one of her sons to court Bess’ daughter. I imagine Bess living a rambunctious and chaotic life with her artist in a house overrun with dogs and easels and very little structure. She would of course be ecstatically happy living in such an environment.
She and Arnotti get along extremely well, and on the rare occasions when they do fall out, he paints one of her dogs to get back in her good books. I believe they have one daughter, but I am not sure yet if she is artistic like her father, or if she’s the opposite and grows up to run the household and impose some order on her parent’s chaos. Actually, maybe they have two daughters – one of each kind! Q. Jen: 1) if possible, could you please explain the backstory to the dedication in The Favourite? I’m intrigued by what your friend pointed out to you in the plot. 2) do you think you will write a story for Colfax?
A. Hi Jen. 1. It was more of a character truth that Angela spilled rather than a plot point. All I will say is that immediately she pointed it out, I heard the ring of truth in my mind, and I absolutely knew it to be true. It was the oddest thing. I ran to my sister to consult her, and she was similarly blown away. It was like a missing jigsaw piece that I had overlooked, and Angela pointed to it and said, ‘surely that belongs there’. The way she generously explained it, was that I was probably too close to the subject to see it. It doesn’t really change anything as such, it was just immensely satisfying to see that last piece slot perfectly in. Sorry if I’m sounding cryptic! It was more about things making total sense to me rather than anyone else.
2. Ooh, Colfax! This question is timely as his story is the secondary plotline in the book I am currently writing – Jeremy’s story. (As yet untitled). I am very excited to see how Colfax’s HEA unfolds.
Q. S.J. Tilley: I keep meaning to ask you about the food in your books! Are they real dishes for the time and how do you research them?
A. Hi S.J. Yes, they are based on real dishes! I’m a bit of a collector and when I come across historical foods that look interesting, I’ll screenshot it or write it down to revisit later. I’ll often look up contemporary accounts of historical banquets, usually royal ones, that have been recorded, with all their weird and wonderful courses and use those for inspiration.
Also, if I ever come across any TV series that cover historical kitchens, I am hooked. There was a series a couple of years ago, I think it was on the BBC which was fantastic and spanned several different centuries. Luckily my readers seem to enjoy the fact I like writing about simple day-to-day tasks, like bathing and laundry and eating!
Q. Mary Beth: Not really a question, just more of a suggestion: I’d love to read a book featuring Magnatrude as a main character. Maybe with an equally strong character middle-aged love interest. That would be so fun. But really, I love them all, so thank you for bringing so much reading joy to my life!
A. Thank you so much Mary Beth. What a lovely comment. Do you know, I have had a couple of people write to me about Magnatrude and it has made the wheels turn in my head somewhat… The Queen will be so furious with me for even THINKING about marrying off another of her ladies-in-waiting! Armenal thinks she’s finally found an attendant who won’t abandon her for a husband! But yes, I will admit it would be fun to write about an older couple… Hmmm. This list of mine is getting longer and longer!