I asked my friend, the lovely Shehanne Moore, Blogger (Shehanne Moore); Dramatist (performs in productions written by her husband, a playwright); PUBlisher (Black Wolf Books); wife (married to the Mr.); Mother (to her darlings); Grandmother (she’s way too young); avid hiker (the hills of Glencoe in her native Scotland and beyond), keeper of The Dudes (hamsters of the utmost taste and refinement), and, of course, Historical Romance Writer which doesn’t get a parenthetical because it’s the reason we are here today, to celebrate the release of Lady Shey’s new book, her seventh!, entitled, O’Roarke’s Destiny, released on – when else? – Friday the 13th. I mean, hey, if you want to release a book about a couple of characters who are a bit down on their luck, at least for starters, you couldn’t pick a better day, ay?
Smugglers, connivers, and dreamers fill the pages of O’Roarke’s Destiny which you can read all about below, but in the meantime, let’s see what Ms. Moore has to say about the land from which these characters come and how it may have affected their identities.
Also just as an aside, when Lady Shey’s original publisher changed the rules on her, rules that ran afoul of the long-standing commitment they had both enjoyed to their mutual enrichment and benefit, what did she do? She didn’t take it lying down, I’ll tell you that. No sir, she didn’t. Instead — and just like her heroines she went out and started her own publishing company. That’s the Kind of Woman we are dealing with here on these pages, not one to be trifled with, put out, or bandied about, a real class act, so without further introduction or delay, let’s hear a bit from the Lady herself about the setting for her new book — Cornwall and the surrounding environs:
Take it away, Shey:
The Historical Cornish Environment – A Land of Smugglers and Secrets…
A separate people. Throughout the early modern period, many Cornish people continued to regard Cornwall, not as an English county, but as a British country called Kernow.
Physical isolation provides the key to Cornish history. A rocky peninsula, jutting out some 90 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall stands at the extreme south-western corner of the British Isles. Surrounded by waves on all sides but one, it is practically severed from the adjoining lands to the east by the River Tamar, which runs almost from sea to sea.
Although mediaeval Cornwall was — technically speaking — an English county just like any other, the culture of the ordinary Cornish people remained entirely different from that of their English neighbours. They still spoke in the Cornish tongue: a language, closely allied with Welsh. They still prided themselves on being descended from British ancestors, rather than Saxon ones. And, as late as the mid-16th century, they still possessed their own styles of dress, their own folklore, their own naming-customs, their own agricultural practices, and their own games.
The past economy of Cornwall might have been based on a range of industries, including metal mining, fishing, china clay production, wool cloth manufacture, quarrying and shipbuilding. Indeed Cornwall’s rich mineral resources may certainly have been exploited on a large scale since mediaeval times, and rows may rage today between surfers, environmentalists, and those bent on lifting the tin tailings sitting on the sea bed to be used in gadgets like cellphones and computers, but Cornwall is also known, historically for another industry, a sort of cottage one in which a rather large number of its inhabitants were once involved.
One that the landscape and environment lent itself to naturally.
But the location and the fact the people saw themselves as different weren’t the only things to lend themselves to the trade. Parts of the actual coastline were very nicely placed for trips to France and the Scillies. Then there was the nature of the terrain, vast empty beaches, rocky caves, jutting headlands, little better than cart tracks for roads—and, as a quick glance at any map of Cornwall will show, quite a big expanse of moor sitting smack in the middle, while the inhabited bits clustered round the coast. It was nicely private all right.
At its peak, an estimated 500,000 gallons of French brandy per year were smuggled into Cornish coves. Smuggling has many stereotypes and these images often include a small group of men unloading barrels in the night. However, until the early 1800s, it was a highly organized, well-financed business that was run on very efficient lines.
Of course, the reason for all this unhindered smuggling wasn’t just the highly organized locals, it was the weakness of the excisemen, although in their defence, the level of local support, the sheer organizational skills of those involved, which frequently included the clergy, the landowners, and other inhabitants, in fact, you name it, and the overwhelming numbers of those involved, made it quite impossible, even for the most dedicated exciseman, to police. So a lot went on right under their noses, in broad daylight.
“They were told that if they persisted in trying to make an arrest they would have their brains blown out. As the law now stands, I fear a criminal prosecution would have been useless for the reason, which it shocks me to mention, that a Cornish jury would certainly acquit the smugglers….These, my lord, are the facts.”
Did the tramp, tramp of smugglers’ feet, the alleged digging of tunnels from houses to sea damage the rock, the wildflowers, the beach grasses, the environment? I have no idea. But I’ve devoured books set both there and further along the south coast, and I felt the ruggedness, the isolation, the crumbling decay of their lives, those that lived there, and I realized that what drove them into this world might lend itself to a book someday.
And it has. Finally. Set in Cornwall at a point when the government was beginning to fight back and seriously crackdown by every means at their disposal, is O’Roarke’s Destiny. I hope this book trailer roughly explains it.
Pam, thank you so much, not just for inviting me to your wonderful blog which does so much to highlight the need to look after the planet we share, but for your friendship and support. You should know, you rock. x
Synopsis for O’Roarke’s Destiny:
Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might…
Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backward glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing: Everything she touches withers to dust.
He’d cursed her with ruin.
Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.
Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no one and nothing is what it seems. Him most of all.
And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts? Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all?