Hi Maggie, for people not familiar with you would you mind sharing a bit about yourself?
I always say “I’m old enough to know better,” LOL. I have four grown kids, four grandchildren, a fun husband and a family life I wouldn’t trade for anything. I live on a lake in the
woods, but I’m fifteen minutes away from a T.J. Maxx. Heaven! Maine
What was it like to see you book in print?
Frankly, I was speechless, shaking and crying when I opened up that first box of ARCs from my publisher.
What was the very first thing you did when you heard your book was going to be published?
My agent called when I was at work in a high school library, so I couldn’t scream. Again, I was shaking and crying. One of the students asked me if I was all right (she probably had visions of calling 911) and I told her I’d just sold a book. Considering we were surrounded by thousands of them, she was not really impressed. Then I e-mailed my critique partners. My husband worked a late shift and I didn’t get to tell him until after .
When you received your first email or snail mail from a fan what did you think?
I was stunned! I still get wonderful, wonderful mail (and presents sometimes!) from readers. I feel so honored that people like my stuff, because I like writing it!
Do you believe that social network is a productive way of meeting potential readers? Are there pros and cons to networking with a social media?
I know I don’t spend as much time online as I could, but I’d rather be writing. I find it hard to say something meaningful in 140 characters or less (ask my family—I don’t do well with limits, LOL). I try to stay away from politics, but I love to read what other people are doing. I’ve gotten great book recs from readers and writers online.
What was some of the best advice you were given on your road to becoming a published author?
There is no right way or wrong way, there’s only your way. Write every single day. (I get itchy when I don’t.) Be patient, because publishing is sloooow. Develop a thick skin, because no matter how many people love your books, you will get that one-star review that will crush you if you let it.
What advice would you give to a struggling writer in this day and age of self-publishing?
See above. You are limited only by yourself. Go for whatever gets you out there! But make sure you proofread. =)
If you could write any other genre than your present one, which would it be and why?
Mysteries. But I don’t plot, so that would be a problem.
Do you remember where you were when you first thought up LONDON LIST series?
I read an article online about old newspaper lonely hearts ads…so I was in my desk chair. As usual.
I know that you put your own blood, sweat and tears into every page. So, I’m curious to know if your characters have any of your own traits. Is there one character you think is more like you than any other?
Oh, they’re all bits of me, even the heroes, LOL. Probably the heroine most like me is Caroline Christie from Mistress by Marriage, but I don’t throw things when I get angry. Anymore. ;)
When you began the LONDON LIST series did you have Ben and Evie’s arc figured out? Did you know that before you began LORD GRAY’S LIST that the lovers would end up the way it did?
Ha. I never know anything until I write it. Of course, there’s always an HEA, but I’m awful at planning what comes next. Writing a synopsis before I finish a book is really hard for me. They are so vague, and I always veer away from whatever I said I was going to do!
The London List series is set against the turbulent and glamorous backdrop of Regency era. What about this era drew you to it?
I’ve read Regencies since I was in my early twenties, tons of Heyers. I love the time period—who does not want their own Mr. Darcy with a spotless white cravat? But my new series is set in the Edwardian era—time for cars and phones!
Maggie, would you share with us a bit more about Baron Benton Gray and Evangeline (Evie) Ramsey’s story in LORD GRAY’S LIST?
Benton Gray has worked hard all his life at playing—he’s a big, genial bear of a guy who is never serious, at least in public. Evie is a crusader with a heart of gold and a poison pen. She thinks Ben is wasting his life and skewers him on the front page of her paper to shame him into respectability. It works and then some. =)
What was your premise for writing this story?
I imagined a kind of Regency Craigslist/National Enquirer—in fact the book was called Lord Craig’s List before the Kensington marketing department got a little nervous what with the murder and prostitution scandals! The paper features gossip, employment and matchmaking services—one-stop shopping!
I love the fact that you give us intricate insight to what life is like for a newsie in the Regeny era. In your research was there one thing that stuck out to you? Why?
Well, it was very hard work to put out a newspaper physically—running the press was labor-intensive. I found out how many copies could be produced manually per hour, fun stuff like that.
I would like to take a moment and thank Gray and Evie for dropping by with Maggie. Hi Guys, (waving above the crowd) I am so excited that you both were able to drop by today. I hope you do not mind, but I would love to ask you some need to know questions that readers are desperate to know.
I am one of those readers that love to find out what people think the moment they meet the love of their lives. Evie, I will start with you. What was the very first thing you thought when you saw Ben after all this time?
That the bas—uh, man was going to put me out of business for just telling the truth. And that he was as handsome as ever, damn him.
Ben, you are up. =) What was your first impression of Evie?
I saw her bottom in those breeches, and I just knew it was her, even though she’d cut her hair and her hands were covered in ink.
I know your love story started when you were young.(Pulling the besotted couple into a secluded corner) in the interim years what have you both been doing? Do you believe this time shaped you into the person you are today?
Evie: I followed my father around
as he gambled. I’m afraid it wasn’t much fun, and I saw a lot of injustice.
When he won the newspaper, I found an outlet for my desire to help people.
Ben: At my expense!
Evie: Well, you were a popular subject, always getting into some scandal or other.
Ben, the day you charged into the offices of THE LONDON LIST and found Evie at the helm and the one print out all your nefarious antics in its Tuesday issue. What was your main purpose for confronting the editor? Did you confront her/him? =)
I wanted to close the paper down. A man is entitled to some privacy, what? And then when I found out Evie was the one behind everything, I knew I had to shut her up, one way or another—kissing is my preferred method, naturally.
Evie, what is it like being married to a notorious scoundrel? Is it true that rogues make the best husbands? Would you please share with readers the moment you knew your scoundrel was the man for you.
Ben is totally reformed, except in the bedroom. While I might like to expose other people’s private lives, you’re not getting another word out of me.
Same question for you, Ben. When did you know you couldn’t live any longer without Evie?
I’ve loved her since I was twenty. Old habits die hard, even after everything she put me through. And she looks adorable in trousers.
What is one thing you, Ben and Evie, would like readers to walk away with after reading your love story?
That sometimes a second chance at love is the best chance.
Now back to Maggie
Thank you, Maggie for bringing along Baron Benton Gray and his beautiful wife, Lady Evie Gray with you today to chat about their love story. I truly appreciate you letting me take a few moments to ask them some need-to-know questions. Now, I am curious, Maggie, when you wrapped up with them and typed THE END to your LORD GRAY’S LIST transcript, what did you do to celebrate?
Nothing, LOL. I started the next book in the series.
When your readers read the last word of LORD GRAY’S LIST what do you hope they take away from it?
That a book can be sexy and funny at the same time. This is a romp, meant to be light-hearted enjoyment.
When that fleeting free time comes your way what do you like to do? Are there any authors you would recommend to readers until we have the next book in your London List’s series in our hands?
I love spending time with the kids and grandkids most. I read, of course. We travel a lot, too. This year we’ve been to
Scotland , England ,
France , Las Vegas Bermuda,
and ! Florida
My critique partners J.K. Coi, Tiffany Clare and Elyssa Patrick all have books out, so if you’re interested in paranormal, historical or contemporary, you’re in luck!
Where can we connect with you on the great wide web?
@MaggieLRobinson on Twitter
Maggie Robinson on Facebook
One more thing before I let you skedaddle. The holiday season is upon us and I was wondering if you had a special recipe that you make Every holiday season that you would like to share with RCJR eZine readers?
I make the easiest. most delicious dip. One block of cheap sliced American cheese plus one can of chili with beans. Layer everything up and nuke for about 9 minutes. Serve with Cool Ranch Doritos. It’s idiot-proof.
I would like to thank you one more time, Maggie for bringing readers into the fascinating and opulent Regency world once again. Ben and Evie’s love story in LORD GRAY’S LIST (book 1 in the
will bring your legions of fans and new fans rushing to know more about this
incomparable loving couple. London
Thank you so much for having me here!
OverviewFrom duchesses to chamber maids, everybody's reading it. Each Tuesday, The London List appears, filled with gossip and scandal, offering job postings and matches for the lovelorn--and most enticing of all, telling the tales and selling the wares a more modest publication wouldn't touch. . .
“This is the outside of enough.” Baron Benton Gray tossed The London List on the floor beneath his breakfast table, where the new footman quickly scurried to pick it up.
“Burn it! No, wait. What is the business address of the infernal thing?” He should have paid attention to that two years ago, when the first of the scurrilous stories about him appeared in print. Ben had assumed the attention would eventually fade away.
He’d assumed wrong.
Callum the footman blanched and smoothed the newssheet between his spotless white gloves. “I dinna know, my lord. I canna read, my lord.”
“Enough of the my lording, if you please. Tell Severson you want some reading lessons after your duties. All men should be allowed to read. Except I devoutly hope they turn the pages of something far more edifying than this rag. Give it over.”
“Aye, my l—” Callum blushed and thrust the wrinkled paper into Lord Gray’s large hand. His gloves were now streaked with gray from the cheap ink that was spilling into Ben’s life every Tuesday and ruining it.
“I need nothing else, leave me be. Colin, is it?”
“Callum, my l—Lord Gray.”
“Come down recently from Castle Gray, have you?”
“How is the old place?”
This gave the young footman pause. “Old, Lord Gray.”
Ben didn’t doubt it. His ancestral home in the wilds of
had begun as a humble fortified tower on a rocky promontory overlooking the
sea. Centuries of wind and neglect had driven his mother back into the bosom of
Scotland society as soon as his
bellicose father had the courtesy to meet an early end. Consequently Ben had
not been raised to tramp the hills in a kilt and kick sheep out of the way. No,
Baron Benton Gray was a modern, cultured man, prosperous with his investment in
Sir Simon Keith’s railroad scheme and suitably celebratory. How dare The London
List make him sound like he was the veriest devil? Veronique had had no
objection to—well, Ben reflected, she never objected to anything. She was paid
well not to. London
Perhaps it was time to give her her conge. Let the talk die down. She’d been his mistress for seven months and that thing she did with her hips was beginning to feel old hat.
Ben scowled. How did his morning decline from smug satisfaction over his bacon to this depressing state? He was not going to give up Veronique!
Unless someone better came along.
Not a wife. Ben had avoided the slavering mamas—except for his own—for over a decade. He’d been successful, for the most part. One did not reach the advanced age of thirty entirely unscathed, however. There had been that misunderstanding with the Crittendon chit a few years back, and he didn’t allow himself to ever think of Evie.
She must be over thirty now herself. Probably running and ruining some poor man’s life so that he longed for an early death. Ben hadn’t heard a thing about her for ages. He’d stopped looking for her dark head in a
crowd once he’d found out she’d gone back to London .
Evangeline Ramsey was one reason he enjoyed living in Scotland
so much as a confirmed bachelor and as many mistresses as he could handle. London
Enough of the sentimental journey down memory lane. Ben poured himself another cup of coffee and opened up the distasteful newspaper. He skimmed the advertisements, chuckling only briefly when he came upon “A young woman from a respectable family, honest, hard-working, country bred, would like to correspond with a city gentleman for amusement and possibly more. Physical attributes are unimportant, though it would be helpful if said gentleman is under forty and in possession of most of his teeth and a modest fortune.”
Ben swiped his tongue over his even, fully-intact teeth, dislodging a morsel of toast. He supposed he was a prime candidate, not that he was going to mix himself up with some uncivilized wench who probably had a hairy mole on the end of her chin. He pitied the poor people who were desperate enough to use The London List to try to solve their problems.
Blast! Where were their offices located? He began squinting at the front page again of the slender publication, avoiding the prominent article mentioning his recent activities in such lurid detail. He might have all his teeth, but he wondered if he was becoming eligible for reading glasses.
There was nothing the matter with his nose however. His mother was on her way into the dining room, her lily-of-the-valley perfume announcing her arrival quite a bit before she stepped through the door. He hastily shoved the paper underneath his bottom and plastered a smile on his face.
darling, good morning!” Benton
Ben angled a smooth-shaven cheek for his mother to kiss. Lady Emily Gray was a well-preserved forty-seven, her nut-brown hair only beginning to silver. She had practically been a child when she married and was brutalized by his father. The fact that Ben was the image of the man—large, tawny-haired, green-eyed—did not seem to stop her from holding her only child in deep affection. Sometimes too deep. She was most anxious to become a grandmother, and never ceased to remind Ben of his duty to his title, such as it was.
Lady Gray’s slate blue eyes swept the table. “Where is it?”
“Where is what, Mama?”
List. It’s Tuesday. For that matter, where is Callum? Though I suppose I’m
still capable of fetching my own breakfast.” London
“Let me get it for you, Mama.”
Ben recognized his error immediately. If he rose to get her a plate from the sideboard, she would see the newspaper he had taken such pains to hide. For the life of him, he could not see its appeal. But everyone from the loftiest viscount to his valet seemed addicted to the thing. Tuesdays could not come soon enough. There was much speculation in the clubs as to the identities of the blind items, and servants were always seeking greener pastures in the employment columns. Ghastly young poets could pay to have their ghastly poems published, too. Something for everyone, whatever their station in life.
There were plenty of people to write for and write about. Ben was extremely tired of finding himself on the front page week after week. It was almost as if the List’s publisher had a particular grudge against him.
He was saved from discovery as his mother waved him away and attacked the sideboard herself. She was pleasantly plump, convinced that she kept wrinkles at bay with a few extra pounds. Ben watched her pile her plate high with eggs, mushrooms, bacon and toast, then returned to his own food, which was sadly cold after his paper-pitching fit. But if he got up for a fresh helping, he’d be right back in his pickle. Sorry now that he’d dismissed Callum, he took a sip of lukewarm coffee.
“Did The London List not come with your post this morning? I knew we should have ordered more subscriptions.”
Ben clinked his cup into its saucer. “More? Just how many do we get?”
“Well, Cook insists on her own copy. Severson as well. The maids share theirs, except for my dresser Barnes, who is far too top-lofty to share with anyone. I doubt she’d share with me. I believe a copy goes out to the stables. One for the footmen—”
“Callum does not read,” Ben interrupted.
“Oh? I’ll make sure Severson is apprised of that, although I’m sure he knows. He knows everything. He mentioned as I came downstairs that you managed to make the front page again.”
Damn. So much for keeping his household, especially his mother, in the dark. If he’d counted correctly, he was paying for seven bloody subscriptions to announce his every peccadillo to the world.
“It’s all a pack of lies!”
His mother raised a sculpted brow and took a forkful of egg. Once she swallowed, she said, “You are a grown man. How you choose to spend your time is, I suppose, your business. But you will never get a decent woman to marry you unless you curtail your notoriety. As it is, you’re verging into desperate widow territory.”
“Mama, I don’t want a decent woman or a desperate widow. I have no interest in marriage, as well you know.”
“Just because your father was a brute does not mean you will follow in his footsteps,” his mother said, her tone remarkably mild.
Ben’s father had died when he was a child, but not soon enough. He could remember every blow he and his mother suffered under Laird Gray, and the pervasive feeling of hopelessness and helplessness had never quite gone away. His father’s temper had been legendary, which was one reason Ben worked so hard to control his. To cultivate an attitude of laissez-faire. To permit the unpermittable without much fuss or bother. He was the epitome of utter affability. Nothing would ruffle his feathers.
Except for the damned London List.
“Perhaps I’ve not yet met the right woman,” Ben parried, his tone equally light. “Maybe I’m not holding out for a desperate widow but a buck-toothed virgin with spots.”
“There are plenty of those this year.” His mother laid her fork down. “Let us be serious for a moment. I made a mistake in my marriage—or rather my parents made it for me. There were whispers about your father, but they ignored them. The Gray fortune was temptation incarnate.”
“It still is.”
“I’m not questioning your stewardship,
Everything you touch turns to gold. Which is why if you put your mind to it, I
know you could be an adequate husband. And father.” Benton
The portion of his breakfast he had eaten turned to a hard lump in his stomach. “I will count that as a compliment, Mama. High praise indeed.”
“It is meant to be. I have faith in you.”
His poor mama. He supposed all mothers were easily gulled. Even his paternal grandmother had probably loved his father.
Ben changed the subject. “What are your plans for today?”
“Well, I’ll have to cadge a copy of The London List from one of the servants. One can’t start one’s Tuesday morning without it.”
With a sigh, Ben shifted in his chair and drew out the crumpled copy.
Alexander Dunbarton Gray! You devil!” Benton
“I wanted to protect your delicate sensibilities, Mama. The article about me is pure rubbish.” Mostly.
“My delicate sensibilities have gone the way of your good judgment. Hand it over.”
His mother slipped her reading glasses out of a pocket sewn specially for them. For the next five minutes Ben was subjected to his mother’s pursed lips and head-shaking. It seemed she needed to read the story about him four times, if following the pattern of her finger was any indication. But she was mercifully silent. Ben was relieved when she turned the page to the paid advertisements.
“If you don’t plan to give me a scold, may I be excused from the table?”
His mother looked up, her eyes wavery under the thick lenses. “I’ll scold you later. I wonder who is in need of “a strapping young valet whose hands and teeth can make quick work of neckcloths and falls?”
“Oh, do be quiet,
It’s not as if I can shock you.” Benton
A pity she had such a low opinion of him, but she was right. Mostly.
Ben left his mother to her gossip and speculation. Braving the kitchen and Cook’s opprobrium, he snagged an extra scone and her copy of the newssheet. Over his crumbs he found the offices of the paper buried between advertisements for the improvement of manly vigor and custom reupholstery.
R. Ramsey, Publisher. An odd coincidence that the bane of his existence shared the surname of his lost and unlamented love.
He had nothing better to do today but defend his honor and demand satisfaction or retraction. He was not going to sit in his club and endure the jibes of his so-called friends as they reminded him that he was the number one topic of conversation in the ton. Bad enough Severson gave him a gimlet eye as he assisted Ben with his coat against the raw December wind.
It would do him good to walk the distance to the newspaper’s office. Work up his umbrage and indignation. His calves would get exercise too. Ben wouldn’t let a few nights of dissipation wreck his carefully-crafted body. It was damned hard to stay fit in Town, but Ben did by fencing regularly at a private salle d’armes. Using his fists was far too reminiscent of his father’s proclivities, so he left Gentleman Jackson’s to others.
In a matter of half an hour, he had traversed quite a bit of fashionable
and stood before
the impeccably scrubbed front window of The London List. He could see clear to
the back of the rear brick office wall and the hulking black printing press
which would be idle for the rest of the week. A young gentleman, his black hair
cropped brutally short, shirtsleeves rolled up and jacket discarded, appeared
to be tinkering with the source of Ben’s choler. If the infernal machine was
broken, that would save him the trouble of smashing it himself. London
No. Ben had other methods of persuasion. He would make the fellow, or his employer if he had one, an offer no sensible person could refuse.
Ben startled at the tinkle of bells over the door as he entered. The printer turned abruptly to him, his welcoming smile quickly draining away, looking ready to faint onto the wide pine floorboards.
By God and the saints and all that was holy. The young gentleman was no gentleman. Ben felt light-headed himself as he stared into Evangeline Ramsey’s parchment-pale face.