Today, I have with me fellow author extraordinaire and hilarious friend in real life, Margaret Locke. I’ve interviewed Margaret at her previous book releases for A Man of Character and A Matter of Time, and I always love her responses, so I was super excited to have the chance to talk to her about her new release (tomorrow!!) of A Scandalous Matter.
I love many things, but high among them is history, romance, and wit, and Margaret supplies these in spades. Come see what she has to say about the making of A Scandalous Matter!
TS: Give us a three-sentence synopsis of A Scandalous Matter. To make it interesting, be sure to include the words love, time, and bonnet in your answer.
ML: Scarred by scandal, Amara Mattersley time travels from Regency England (bonnet and all) to present-day Virginia, to pursue her dream of a full education and desire for independence. Not love. But when she finds herself entangled with very sexy and somewhat befuddling computer science professor Matthew Goodson, complications ensue.
How’s that? 😉 (*Editor’s Note: Perfecto. I admit to wondering where you were going to stick the bonnet in your synopsis. Well done.) 🙂
TS: You write time-travel romances, among other things. Tell us about your decision to place your book in Charlottesville, Virginia. Did you travel to Charlottesville to research your setting? What were some of your favorite places you include in the book that you walked through in real life?
ML: Charlottesville felt a natural choice, because:
- I went to grad school there, so the area was familiar, and
- I fell in love with my husband there, so C’ville = love.
But though Charlottesville and UVa were familiar, the familiarity dates to the 1990s, so, uh, yeah, I had to head across the mountain from the Shenandoah Valley to see what’s changed—and what’s blessedly stayed the same.
Ironically, I never went into the Colonnade Club Pavilion in my grad school days (perhaps because it’s a place intended for faculty, and I was too chicken to encroach), so when I stumbled across it and dared enter, you bet I soaked up every bit of the interior, and was sure to weave it into A Scandalous Matter.
I also included bits about the Fashion Square Mall, driving along Orange Barrel Road (technically called 29/Emmet, but it was covered with orange barrels for construction when I lived there, and my mom always referred to it then as Orange Barrel Road. The name stuck.), and walking the Ped Mall, but it’s UVa and particularly the Lawn and Academical Village that always call me back, time and again.
Sadly, the UVa Rotunda has been closed for the past two years for renovations – and to be accurate to the time setting of A Scandalous Matter, that little tidbit made it in there, too.
TS: What was one of the most difficult things about writing this book? Was it harder than A Matter of Time (which is more of a traditional Regency romance, although not completely) or A Man of Character, which is also set in Virginia?
ML: Harder? Yes and no.
Yes, it was harder, in that I wrestled with the plot and where things were going to go (and what was going to happen once they got there) quite a bit more than my first two books – in part because I started this book as a NaNoWriMo (*Editor’s note: that’s National Novel Writing Month–the month of November where you scramble like crazy to crank out 50,000 words in a month’s time) book last fall and therefore wrote most of it in thirty days. While simultaneously preparing to launch A Matter of Time. In other words, I was crazy.
I pantsed (rather than plotted) far more of the story than I would have liked and agonized over all of it. As I joked with friends, this was “the book that would never end” – the original first draft clocked in at nearly 117,000 words! I did manage to shave 10,000 words off of that, but still, the story definitely had a life of its own. An Energizer Bunny life that wanted to just keep going and going and…
No, it wasn’t harder, in that I was back writing about the present, which meant less research. Kind of. I did spend a lot of time looking up words to try to ensure Amara was speaking, at least at first, like a woman from 1813 England. It’s amazing how many modern idioms sneak in when I’m not looking!
TS: One of the things I admire about your characters is their ability to carry out effortless and witty back-and-forth banter. Do you create dialogue based on conversations you’ve had in real life, or does the conversational portions flow naturally from your mind into your manuscript?
ML: Oh, gosh, that’s a kind assessment. I love you. (*Editor’s Note: Why, thank you! I love you, too!) 😉
It’s been my ultimate goal to create dialogue in the vein of Julia Quinn, who writes some of the best, most hilarious banter around. I will admit, there are a few bits I’ve included from real life, but much of it is just my brain going, “Hey, that’s kind of funny!” as I write. It’s nice to know others think I’m witty, too. Because my husband never finds me as humorous as I want him to. The rascal. I’ll, uh, admit that a few of his and my exchanges made it into A Scandalous Matter – points to you if you can guess which ones. (*Editor’s Note:
Verbal exch anges or… Um, I’ll pass, thanks!) 😉
TS: Do you have someone who inspires you for certain characters? For instance, is there a Matthew out there that you could look at and put parts of him into the story, or an Amara?
ML: Are we talking physically, or more internally/personality?
Physically, Matthew Goodson was originally based off of Matthew Goode, the British actor who’s quite fetching in that slightly geeky way I adore. A fierce, unsmiling Jennifer Lawrence was the physical model for Amara Mattersley (I say unsmiling, because Ms. Lawrence looks much different when she smiles, and that’s not how I imagine Amara).
But personality/temperament-wise, uh, well, Matthew does share a lot of traits with my husband. Hey, they say write what you know. But Matthew’s also a blend of other people I’ve known, just as Amara is. In fact, Amara started out merely as the idea of someone opposite of Cat and Eliza. I wanted someone bolder, someone more confident in and desirous of her sexuality, because neither Cat nor Eliza are like that in most ways. Some of Amara’s emotionality and struggles with wanting independence versus accepting love probably reflect my best friend from college’s and my own struggles and conversations about that very topic, way back in the day.
TS: You now have three books in your Mattersley family series. Are you planning to continue creating stories based on this family, or will you branch out into other romance series soon? Will all of your books have a paranormal (time-travel and magical) element, or will you write straight romance at any point?
ML: Both! And all!
Most of Deveric’s siblings from A Matter of Time will, at some point or other, get their own stories – and those will be pure Regencies, without the magical aspect (*gasp*). Some of the Mattersley siblings will find themselves in my new Put Up Your Dukes series, featuring (surprise surprise) dukes and their foibles in life and love (including Grace Mattersley, whose story comes in The Demon Duke, my fourth book and first in this new series. James Bradley and Morgan Collinswood, my beloved sidekicks from A Matter of Time, also need their own tales!). Other Mattersleys not messing around with ducal folk will be part of the Matters of Love series, again straight-up historical Regencies without magic.
But will the Magic of Love series end here? I think not. For one thing, there’s a character in A Scandalous Matter for whom several beta readers have already demanded a story, as well as one from A Man of Character who deserves a happy ending, I do think. And I can’t let go of Cat for good, can I?
TS: Quick answers: don’t think more than a second about any of these.
Tea or Coffee?: Tea. Not that I really drink it, but I do fancy Earl Grey, I’ve discovered. Plus, tea is quintessentially British, is it not?
Dress Boots or Sneakers?: Dress boot? What the heck is a dress boot? (*Editor’s Note: See pic for details.) For style, I’d go with those, as I’m imagining the smart little Victorian-esque heeled boots we wore in the 80s (no, Madonna did NOT invent them – she just made them popular again). But for comfort, and I’m all about comfort, well, sneakers.
Siri or Cortana?: What the heck is Cortana? (*Editor’s Note: Come, my dear, and allow me to instruct you in the differences between Apple and Microsoft.) Siri – because she’s got the best answer for what’s 0 divided by 0.
Sweaters or Sweatshirts?: Sweater, unless the sweatshirt has an open hem. I don’t like sweatshirts whose bottom hem curls halfway up my belly.
Cadbury or Hershey?: Give me all of it. Right now.
Twilight or 50 Shades?: Twilight. Though I read both series. I was a total Twi-Mom (Team Edward) – though I admit I wouldn’t want my daughter thinking many elements from the Twilight book were to be idealized as far as relationships go. Uh, same for 50 Shades, actually.
Frozen or Tangled?: Tangled. Because I love Flynn Ryder.
Austen or Bronte?: Austen, of course. Not that Bronte is bad. It’s just that Austen is so good.
Cats or Dogs?: CATS! Cats! Give me all the cats! And maybe one Golden Retriever. But CATTTTTSSSS!
University of Virginia or James Madison University?: UVA. Can’t beat Mr. Jefferson’s university.
Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton?: Jefferson. Not that he was a perfect man, by any means, but I became obsessed with him and Monticello at the age of nine – and look where I ended up! Plus, it’s possible he might have been a bit Aspie, which makes me like him all the more.
Harry Potter or Mark of Four (oh Mortal, beware, for the ground on which thou treadest has most rapidly turned to quicksand…): There is no quicksand here. The obvious answer is BOTH! GO READ THEM NOW!
A SCANDALOUS MATTER
Independent, spirited Amara Mattersley may live under scandal’s shadow, but at least the nineteenth-century Regency society judging her is familiar. That’s all about to change when she finds herself in twenty-first-century Charlottesville, Virginia–and locking horns with one very befuddling, very male, UVA professor.
Computer science professor Matthew Goodson has no time for love–no time for anything, actually, but his quest for tenure and his obsession with the screen. The last thing he expects is to get side-swiped by this adorably odd British miss. Yet something in her calls to him, pulls at him, in a way unknown–and uncomfortable.
Can the past and the present blend together into a mutual future? Or will old wounds and new complications sabotage any chance at a twenty-first century happily ever after?
Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window); she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person. She is the author of A Man of Character, A Matter of Time, and A Scandalous Matter.
Margaret loves to interact with fellow readers and authors! You may find her here: