Thursday, 16 January 2014

Kit Marlowe: The Big Splash

Image courtesy of SL Johnson
http://sljohnsonimages.com
Let's give a big welcome to Kit Marlowe who returns today with her latest release, The Big Splash, the first book in a new series.

Kit visited with us this past July on the release of her book, The Mangrove Legacy, the story of two cousins, Alice and Lizzie, who suffer the loss of their beloved uncle only to be kidnapped, and kidnapped again, and to find life on the high seas. High drama and adventure for two refined ladies.

The Big Splash is a wholly different read. Kit takes us back to the 1920s -- the Jazz Age in London -- the beginning of the modern age. Music was lively, champagne flowed freely, and the women lived just as fast and free as their male counterparts. Through it all, one woman is looking for love, and even though men throw themselves at her feet, Constance Wynne only wants the one man she can't have.

While The Big Splash is a novelette, there's a big story here. Kit keeps pages turning with witty banter, interesting characters, and a rollicking good time. Readers are guaranteed a hearty chuckle and a trip back in time. Get your flapper dresses on ladies, and men don your best suit. Polish up the motor, and shine those champagne glasses. Put on some Cole Porter to get you in the mood, and get ready to dance till dawn!

Before we get to the excerpt, we had a chance to chat with Kit --

• • •

Welcome back, Kit, to Heart of Fiction, and congratulations on the release of The Big Splash. I really enjoyed reading this story and can't wait to see the next one.

You're such a busy lady, one wonders how you find time for writing. How do you manage with everything going on in your life? Do you have a writing routine? What's it like?
When I can spare a few moments from my whirlwind life of champagne, dance halls and other shenanigans – those pictures that claimed to show me dancing in the fountain at Trafalgar Square? I won't say they're faked but I'm almost certain I wasn't wearing that blue sequin dress that day, so it can't possibly be me, can it?

So anyway, when I can spare a few moments as I said, I like to draw out my adventures at my mahogany writing desk that I inherited from my grandfather who was an adventurer. He took in the greater part of the globe and sailed into many exciting ports and voyaged up mountains and across deserts or so he always told me. My mother claims he was a shoemaker, but I am sure she's just being modest.
Your grandfather sounds quite the man. Very well traveled, even if only in his mind ;-) Your mahogany desk sounds like it could very well have gleaned some of your grandfather's stories. I love that this is part of your writing space. Tell us about the rest of your space.
So at my mahogany desk I take my lovely fountain pen in hand and my very finest vellum and look up at my portraits of Jane Austen, Winifred Watson and Georgette Heyer and just let the muse fill me. Usually the staff deliver a tray of martinis or some other mind-strengthening concoction to me after about an hour to be sure I can withstand the strain. I have an east facing window. I find it most conducive to provoking the imagination. I have fresh flowers brought in too. Nothing like the scent of camellias to fire the old synapses.
Hmm . . . I wonder if Constance Wynne has a little more of the author's personal life in her than we're led to believe! Perhaps we should have also asked if it's Martinis at dawn ;-)

Aside from martinis and camellias, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?
I live a quiet life in my country cottage when I can, cantering across the meadows and jumping the occasional stile or fence, my hounds yapping at my heels. I don't hunt. Foxes are sacred creatures to me, of course. When I can be lured into town I see all the latest shows with my friends who, generally being a louche lot, drag me out to the most glittering clubs and force me to dance and drink and laugh until all hours. It's quite hectic but it does supply me with an awful lot of material.
And for all your protesting, me thinks you live the life of Reilly and enjoy it very much!

Thank you for taking time to chat with us, and best of luck with The Big Splash. It's certainly a great start to your new series. My guess is the next time we're taking with you, there will be a great whirlwind over the the next book in the series, The Big Spin!


Before we get to an excerpt, be sure to drop Kit a note in the comments below **with your email address** to enter the draw for a copy of The Big Splash.

• • •

London, 1929

Constance Wynne Hare exhaled noisily. “This is most inconvenient, Miss Emery. I can’t believe you would be so inconsiderate!”

Miss Emery remained unmoved. “I’m afraid I cannot in good conscience continue in your employment.” Her lips pursed thinly. The expression made them entirely unattractive.

“But I am lunching with Mr. Wood in less than an hour,” Constance explained with what she thought certain must be admirable restraint. “It is imperative that I be on time and presentable. Whatever should he think of me if I turn up late—or like this?” she added, gesturing wildly at her reflection, which repeated her movements agreeably. Both were a shambles. The late night, and even later morning, had left the young woman looking in need of another week’s rest at least.

“It is immaterial to me, miss,” Emery continued, unruffled. “I am leaving at once. You may forward my final wages to the agency.” Without further ado, Emery picked up her dowdy bag and stalked down the hallway. In a moment, Constance heard the front door close forcefully behind a very vexing lady’s maid.

Constance stared at herself in the mirror for a moment, noting the distressed look upon her face and the horror of her hair. This would not do. “I must cancel lunch,” she said, although there was no longer anyone to hear the words. Wrapping her marabou-trimmed satin robe more tightly around her shoulders, Constance rose and crossed to the telephone desk. She picked up the receiver, then paused.

Whom should she call?

Sighing, Constance picked up the dialer and, with deliberate slowness, twirled the digits to obtain her mother’s exchange.

“Yes, hello. Matthison, is my mother at liberty for a call?”

While she waited, Constance heaved another sigh. It was quite a thing to be brought down to the level of phoning her mother for rescue.

“Constance, I am preparing a luncheon, you could not have called at a more inconvenient time.”

“Mother, I’m desperate!” Constance wailed. “Miss Emery has bolted.”

“Oh, Constance, not again.” Her mother’s disapproval seemed to snake right through the telephone cord to admonish her. “Why can you not keep servants?”

“I have had the cook for three months now,” Constance said with some tartness.

“Only because you never eat at home,” Mrs. Wynne Hare countered, successfully silencing Constance for the moment. “Whatever shall you do now?”

Constance pouted. “I rather hoped that you would have some motherly advice.”

“You know what my advice will be, Constance. Stop behaving like a raving lunatic and be a sensible girl. Marry a nice young banker and settle down in the country.”

Constance winced. It wasn’t so much that she didn’t anticipate the use of the phrase. This phrase formed the foundation of Mother’s perennial advice, after all. But the words had been delivered with such a ringing attitude of certainty that her own will wavered if but for a moment.

An ordinary girl would have quailed before the commanding maternal tone. Constance, however, was no ordinary girl. What a robust constitution and plenty of parental latitude in the past had not provided, a generous trust fund account finished off. This proved a freedom one would not easily relinquish.

She tried another tack. “How on earth could I snag a banker if I don’t even have a lady’s maid to call my own?” Check, Constance added silently.

Her mother’s sigh sounded suspiciously like defeat to Constance’s ears. “Well, I suppose that is true enough,” her mother said.

“Of course it is! Now whatever shall I do? I don’t think the agency will give me another so soon.”

“You appear to have been born most undeservedly under a lucky star,” Mrs. Wynne Hare said after a minute pause. “Miss Vanbrugh’s lady’s maid has recently left her employment.”

“You mean Mrs. Baird’s employment.” Constance corrected her mother.

“Indeed,” Mrs. Wynne Hare’s tone indicated clearly she did not appreciate the correction. Constance winced. She would pay for the slip later. “In fact, her marriage rendered the position no longer suitable, it seems. Collier has an abhorrence of working for married ladies.”

“Collier?” Constance tried to conjure an image of the person in question and found herself unable to recall a thing about Miss Vanbrugh’s lady’s maid, which spoke well on her behalf. The ones you noticed often provided unpleasant shocks. A good lady’s maid should be as flattering as a well cut chemise and just as unobtrusive.

“Yes, Collier. I must say it seems the height of irony that all of her charges seem to end up married rather sooner than expected.”

Constance could not help but notice how the glow had returned to her mother’s tone. Check for the other player this time. This peculiarity of habit or luck on the part of the lady’s maid did not bode well for the acquisition, but Constance was in a bind. “Well then, can you phone and have her sent around? Things are a shambles here and I am meant to be lunching with Mr. Wood in less than an hour!”

“I do not approve of that young man,” Mrs. Wynne Hare sniffed. “He is decidedly louche.”

“I know, Mother, but until I can snag a suitable banker, I do enjoy amusing myself with the likes of Mr. Wood.”

“Your inability to ‘snag a banker’, as you vulgarly put it, may be due entirely to the amount of time you are seen gallivanting around town with the likes of Mr. Wood.”

“I need the strong guidance of a good lady’s maid,” Constance countered with surprising smoothness, which impressed and cheered her no end. “Do please ring Collier and send her around, there’s a dear, Mother.”

“Well, all right.” Her mother sighed with the requisite weariness.

“Heavens, I am going to be most horribly late for lunch.”

“Oh, Constance, when is that not the case?”

“But what should I do to occupy myself while I’m waiting?”

“Can you not read a book or something?”

“Mother, be serious,” Constance said, her eyes wide with shock.

“For heaven’s sake! Take a bath, Constance.”

• • •

Kit Marlowe is a writer of historical romance with humour (although there are those who say she’s secretly an English professor who writes under other names). You can find her on Facebook, too. Her lovely author portrait was created by the fabulous artist S. L. Johnson. Marlowe’s novel The Mangrove Legacy will be published by Tirgearr Publishing; you may also read her on-going comic steampunk serial, Airships & Alchemy.

Find Kit online --

Tirgearr Publishing

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for the draw!



11 comments:

  1. Welcome back to Heart of Fiction, Kit, and congrats on The Big Splash! What a fun story and a great start to the new series.

    Perhaps you'll tell readers where you got the idea for this story. And, was the title an easy one to come up with? It's perfect!

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  2. Thanks, I'm delighted to be here. I got the idea for this story after re-reading a bunch of Wodehouse after discovering Winifred Watson and finding some old issues of twenties magazines online. A glittery time all around.

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  3. The Roaring 20s certainly was an exciting time. All the clubs with music, flashy clothes, big cars . . . and all that came with Prohibition. Did Prohibition follow to the UK?

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  4. I love researching that time and there's some terrific books just chock full of photos from the period.

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  5. I started a Pinterest board for late twenties and early thirties fashions and photos.

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  6. I know I'm going to love it as much as i love the Mangrove Legacy!! Congratulations Kit. I'm raising my Martini glass to you, or is it my primo dark cup of coffee? I'm indulging in some fantasizing time of my own: the hundreth read through of one of my stories that i hope will soon see the light of day.

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad you liked it. I think this one has just as much fun -- thought it's a bit shorter and breezier. Keep writing!

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  7. Congrats go out to Dora Dee for winning a copy of Kit's book, The Big Splash! Happy reading, Dora!

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