by Anna Campbell
Hey, check out the fabulous new cover for the Australian trade paperback edition of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER which goes on sale in June. Isn't that just delicious?
One of the things I love (yeah, all right, he's so handsome, I definitely love him, but that's kinda taken as a given, snort!) is that the house plays such a prominent part in the picture. In MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, Cranston Abbey where the heroine Diana grew up as the bailiff's daughter is like another character.
My vision of Cranston Abbey, the family seat of the Marquesses of Burnley, was more baroque and formal than the charming stone manor on this cover. That charming stone manor is more like Penrhyn, the house in CAPTIVE OF SIN with its history of smuggling and Elizabethan pirates and windows opening onto the ocean.
In my mind, Cranston Abbey is more like Chatsworth in Derbyshire, pictured here with its spectacular fountain. Or in setting, like Blenheim Palace which I must say for all its magnificence, was one of the most offputting stately homes I've ever visited. It's terrifically interesting but it's cold and so big, you can't really picture anyone living there and being happy. Given the history of some of the past residents, like the beautiful Consuelo Vanderbilt who became Duchess of Marlborough in 1895, that was definitely true.
The grounds of Blenheim are glorious, just like the grounds of my fictional Cranston Abbey. Here's an aerial view of that wonderful landscape, designed by Capability Brown.
One of the fun things about creating these fictional stately homes is that you get to steal bits from all over. Inspirations for the abbey's interior were the famous Heaven Room and Hell Staircase from Burghley House. I wanted that feeling of oppressive magnificence. I mean, look at this! I think it would be a bit much to face first thing in the morning before I'd had my cup of tea! And the idea of stumbling down this when I'd imbibed a little too much claret gives me the willies!
I love 'house' stories. A few that spring to mind are Manderley in REBECCA and Thornfield in JANE EYRE and of course, Wuthering Heights. The list goes on and on. Pemberley in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Tara in GONE WITH THE WIND.
It was such fun writing the house in CAPTIVE OF SIN and a different sort of fun (because Cranston Abbey isn't altogether a benign influence in the story) with MY RECKLESS SURRENDER.
Oh, and don't forget I'm giving away an advance copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER in my website contest which closes at the end of April. The question is really easy! Check out the details here: http://www.annacampbell.info/contest.html
So do you like stories that feature old houses? Do you have any favorites?