The Wild Princess
by Mary Hart Perry
To the court and subjects of Queen Victoria, young Princess Louise—later the Duchess of Argyll—was the “Wild One.” Proud and impetu ous, she fought the constraints placed on her and her brothers and sisters, dreamed of becoming an artist, and broke with a three-hundred-year-old tradition by marrying outside of the privileged circle of European royals. Some said she wed for love. Others whispered of a scandal covered up by the Crown. It will take a handsome American, recruited by the queen’s elite Secret Service, to discover the truth. But even as Stephen Byrne— code name the Raven—vows to risk his life to protect the royal family from violent Irish radicals, he tempts Louise with a forbidden love that could prove just as dangerous.
In the vein of Philippa Gregory, Mary Hart Perry tells the riveting story of an extraordinary woman—a princess who refused to give up on her dreams, including her right to true love.
Mary Hart Perry
Mary was gracious enough to give us an interview today. Thank you Mary.
First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Describe for us a typical day in the life of Mary Hart Perry.
Let's see. I usually write first thing in the morning. That's when it's easiest to be creative, at least for me. If I'm not in the middle of writing a book, I'm researching my next one or plotting. After lunch, I work on my clients' novels. I have a professional mentoring service for authors, and my clients range across the U.S., with a few in Canada and one woman who lives in Yemen. I help them with plotting, characterization, editing and whatever they need to help them complete their own novels. Evenings I spend time with my husband. He's taken up the cello, and I am taking violin lessons, so we practice, or watch a movie, or just read in bed.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
My day job is all writing-related. As I said above, I edit and guide other writers, but I also teach a couple of courses at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. I used to work for a bank, and before that I taught pre-school and second grade.
What author inspired you to want to be a writer? What author or books would you say your writing is similar to?
I first dreamed of becoming a writer while reading Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Agatha Christie's too. My first love was mysteries and gothics, then came romances and historical novels. But I thought it was crazy impossible to actually become published myself. I never thought I'd be good enough. But I worked hard at my skills, and eventually, I made it! My writing has been compared to Phillipa Gregory's, but I guess I'll have to wait and see what my readers think!
Why did you decide to write a Victorian historical novel?
I just adore that time period. The clothes were so elegant, and the idea of riding in a carriage or strolling through the streets of London fascinates me. It was also a time when women finally began to win the right to have a professional career, to own property, and to be paid more fairly for their labor. (Though truly equal treatment under the law was a long way off.)
What was your favorite chapter or part of the book to write and why? How did you come up with the title?
I love action scenes. Scenes where the hero/heroine is in terrible jeopardy but somehow manages to escape whatever danger ensues. So I've built plenty of close calls and brave rescues into the story. It actually suited the era very well, since during that time there were the equivalent of terrorists--Irish separatists called Fenians--who built bombs and attempted to kill the queen. They actually did blow up part of Parliament. So I had great material to work with.
The title was my editor's choice. And I was thrilled with it, because Louise (my heroine and the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria) was known as the "wild child" of the family. Originally the book was called The Fourth Princess, but that's not nearly as intriguing as The Wild Princess.
How does your writing process look? Consistent with regular amounts of word counts daily/weekly or more sporadic with a gush of words all at once and then a dry bed for a while?
I try to write every morning, for at least 2 hours, but it usually turns into 4-5 hours. I do a very rough first draft then spend weeks polishing and further developing the plot and characters. I try not to stop writing once I begin a novel, because it's so difficult to get back into it. Better that I live in the book every day, for at least a few hours. It's sort of like actors who try to stay "in character" while filming a movie.
How do you handle writer’s block? Or how do you get the juices flowing again?
The only way I've ever found to handle writer's block is by...writing. If you keep putting words on the page, even if they don't feel right or wonderful, eventually you'll find that a passage, scene, or chapter sparks your interest and jump starts you. You may end up throwing away some stuff that was part of your warming-up process, but that's okay.
What would you like your readers to know about this book or you in general?
I'd love readers to sample a little of the book, for free, by going to my website to download the excerpt. It's at www.MaryHartPerry.com. Readers will also find a lot more information about the story there and about Queen Victoria's family--including her 9 children, many of whom grew up and married to become queens and kings in their own right. I also would love to invite your readers to "like" my Facebook page:
Also you can follow me on Twitter @Mary_Hart_Perry