Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Margaret Tanner

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s featured guest is Margaret Tanner. Margaret is here to chat about her latest historical romance from The Wild Rose Press:
And with spring in the air, we are sitting on the terrace overlooking the beautiful English rose garden where love doves coo from freshly budding lilac trees. Hearing the doorbell, Oliver puts his watering can aside, plucks up a handful of the Lasting Love roses he has clipped, and saunters off, whistling in harmonic rhythm with the birds.
A few minutes later, Oliver escorts Margaret onto the terrace, blushing and giggling like a school girl over Oliver’s endearments.

Sharon: Hello, Margaret! And how are you on this fine spring morning?

Margaret: Wonderful Sharon. Thank you so much for asking me to share your beautiful garden. It is an honor and a privilege. I don’t half mind having a handsome man escort around, either.

Sharon: And we are so excited to hear all about your latest book, a historical romance. Isn’t that right, Oliver?

Oliver struts out, pushing his silver caddy of Earl Grey tea and a heaping bowl of juicy, red strawberries and fresh cream. After pouring the tea into two pretty floral cups and feeding a succulent berry dipped in cream to Margaret, he reaches for his copy of Wild Oats. With a roguish wink and a bone-melting grin, he presents the book and a pen to Margaret with a sweeping bow. If I might have your autograph, my sweet little pet?

Margaret: Certainly, Big Boy. Doing anything on Saturday night?

Sharon: sips her tea and rolls her eyes. And while Oliver sows his wild oats, here’s a blurb and excerpt from Margaret’s latest.

Captain Phillip Ashfield toasted his elevation to fatherhood, as a barrage of artillery pounded the battle scarred fields around him.

English aristocrat, Phillip Ashfield, comes to Australia to sow some “Wild Oats”. After seducing Allison Waverley, he decides to marry an heiress to consolidate the family fortunes. Phillip has made a fatal choice, that will not only ruin his own life, but the repercussions will be felt by the next generation.

To save Allison from the disgrace of having Phillip’s baby out of wedlock, Tommy Calvert marries her. Mortally wounded on the French battlefields, Tommy is found by Phillip who learns that Allison has borne him a son. He vows to claim the boy when the war is over, because his wife cannot give him an heir.

In the meantime, Allison finds happiness from an unexpected source.

Wild Oats is the prequel to The Trouble With Playboys.

Phillip Ashfield uncrossed his cramped legs and stood up to reach into the overhead luggage compartment. What an imposition, having to manhandle his own luggage.

“Good God, man, when you’re in the colonies you have to look after yourself.” He remembered the advice he’d received from Tony, one of his friends from Eton. How true. Godforsaken bloody backwater.
If his father hadn’t been so ill, he would have refused point blank to come out to Australia. Had his mother not been so distraught about the old man, he would have ignored her entreaties to visit relatives at the back of beyond.

God, it was hot. The temptation to loosen his collar became almost unendurable. He wore the latest summer fashion for 1914, a three-piece suit with a shaped coat that had a vent down the back. His linen, as always, was the finest money could buy. Neither one helped keep him cool in these temperatures.
The door leading from the carriage slid open and, even with the swaying of the train, he started moving down the narrow passageway, glancing out the window as he did so. They would reach Dixon’s Siding in ten minutes. The conductor had assured him of this a few moments ago, but he was taking no chances of being carried on. If he missed his stop, God alone knew where he might end up.

“Damnation.” The train shuddered and slammed him against a window. As he straightened up, he watched without much interest as two horsemen broke out of the forest. No, it was called bush in Australia, he reminded himself. One must get the colloquialisms right. More advice from Tony. Young fools were racing the train.

“What the hell!” He almost went sprawling over a small battered suitcase dumped in the middle of the corridor. Steadying himself with one hand against the wall, he gazed into a pair of the clearest blue eyes he had ever seen.

“I’m sorry, but you should have watched where you were going,” the girl said with a humorous lilt to her voice. She looked about seventeen or so. Her hair, the colour of ripe corn, rippled about her shoulders in a tangled mass of wayward curls.

“Now look here, Miss...”

But she wasn’t listening. “Come on, Tommy! Come on,” she urged, her head and shoulders poked through the open window. She waved and jigged about so much Phillip feared she might fall out of the train altogether.

Thunderous applause explodes. Margaret stands and blows kisses to her adoring fans.

Sharon: Intriguing, and very fetching. And it ties in so well as the prequel to The Trouble with Playboys. Are these books considered a sequel series, and if so, is this your first?

Margaret: These are only the two books in the series. I actually wrote them out of order. The Trouble With Playboys set in 1939 came first, and is the story of Paul, (Allison and Phillip’s son), and his rocky road to love during the 2nd World War. Then Allison started to niggle at me, she wanted her story told. Wanted the reader to know that what happened to her could quite easily have had diabolical ramifications for her son’s generation. So, I wrote it.

Sharon: Tell us more about the heroine and hero of Wild Oats.

Margaret: The heroine is Allison Waverley, an innocent farm girl who is seduced then abandoned by an older man (Phillip). She has to battle on alone because her father is the town drunk, she has no mother, and her brother has enlisted in the army to fight in World War 1. She triumphs over terrible heartache, the horrors of war, the kidnapping of her child, and the great depression.

The male protagonist is Phillip Ashfield, a wealthy English aristocrat, but I wouldn’t call him a hero, quite the reverse. If there is a hero it is Tommy Calvert, who has loved Allison since childhood. It is he who marries her to save her from the disgrace of having a child out of wedlock. After Tommy is killed in action, another man steps into the breach, and Allison finds happiness and contentment with him.

Sharon: You know I love the title. Wild Oats is so simple and rather primitive, yet evokes such strength and character at the same time. How did you settle on this title?

Margaret: That was easy. In the early days wealthy young Englishmen would often come to the “colonies” (which is what many still considered Australia to be), to sow their Wild Oats. In other words they could have fun times with the ladies, return to England and not have to put up with any “inconvenient little consequences nine months later.”

Sharon: Hmm. Very convenient. Now let’s talk about the Australian setting. Isn’t it great to write in a setting in which you have first hand knowledge? Tell us about the part of Australia where Wild Oats takes place.

Margaret: Wild Oats is set in the Wangaratta area of North Eastern Victoria, which is very close to my heart because I was born there, and I still have family living in the area. My family’s connection goes back more than a hundred years.

Sharon: A true historical setting. And what’s next for Margaret Tanner:

Margaret: To keep on writing historical novels, but much longer ones. And I would like to be able to find an Agent.

Sharon: Sigh. Wouldn’t we all! Speaking of your homeland, how is your weather now? It is so amazing when we spoke at Christmas and New Year’s, it was summer in Australia. So rather than getting ready for spring, is this your winter now?

Margaret: No, it is still summer, but we are heading towards autumn (or Fall as my American friends call it).

Sharon: (smiles as Oliver pours more tea) And you know I have to ask about my obsession, my friend. How are my kangaroo buddies and koalas? You know I have a fascination with both.

Margaret: Well, the kangaroos are thriving, and they are coming closer and closer to the suburbs looking for food because of the drought conditions. They are actually in plaque proportions.

Ah the poor old koala isn’t doing so good, loss of habitat is affecting them in many parts of the country as they live in, and eat only the leaves of special gum trees. And with the terrible bushfires we had last year, plus the spread of suburbia, there are less and less of these trees left for them. They are also being decimated by an animal form of Chlamydia.

Sharon: I’m sorry to hear that. The wild life is so terribly affected by global warming. But let’s change the topic to flowers. As a historical romance writer, I picture you out in the garden, primping with vintage roses. Did I come close to one of your passions? Because, I adore old fashioned roses and primping with freshly cut flowers.

Margaret: Sharon, you must have a crystal ball. I adore roses, particularly the old-fashioned varieties, as they have a much stronger perfume than the newer ones. My backyard is full of them. Hubby hates them, but I love them. And I can honestly say, that it doesn’t matter
what time of the year it is, I rarely not have a vase full of roses sitting on my crystal cabinet.

Sharon: I agree. The more vintage the rose and deeper the color…the stronger the perfume. And roses in or outdoors add so much essence to a home. Well, sadly, this brings us to the end of our hour. As usual, you have been a delightful guest. I wish you mega sales and luck with all future writings. But before you leave, I ask my guests to share a favorite legend or superstition with me. Since we’re out in the garden, how about something befitting to spring and flowers?

Margaret: I am not really into superstition, so the only one that comes to mind now is – It is bad luck to walk under ladders.

Sharon: Where can readers buy Wild Oats and get in touch with you:

Margaret: Wild Oats is available from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

My website is:

Oliver takes Margaret in his burly arms, gazes into her eyes and waltzes her around the English rose garden, singing in her ear.

Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia. She once spent a couple of hours in an old goal cell so she could feel the chilling cold and fear

Her favorite historical period is the 1st World War, and she has visited the battlefields of Gallipoli, France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. She won the 2007 Author of the Year at

Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.


Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Margaret Tanner. Hello, Margaret! What a lovely day in the garden. And here comes Oliver to serve tea and crumpets with a smile!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon,
Thank you for welcoming me to your beautiful rose garden.
And Oliver, thank you for the tea and crumpets. How did you know that I liked them? And don't be naughty and say, "everyman likes a bit of crumpet"

Sharon Donovan said...

With a wicked wink, Oliver leans over and whispers something in Margaret's ear. Leaving her with a radiant smile, he saunters off, humming a happy tune...

Barbara Edwards said...

Wonderful post, Margaret. I didn't know roses are popular in Australia. I'm collecting antique roses myself and have three great plants. They smell like heaven.

Linda Swift said...

Good morning Margaret and Sharon,
How lovely to have a visit to the rose garden in the spring. I always learn something new about Australia from you, Margaret. And I love your books. Your characters live and breathe and your stories always have such depth. I'll be adding Wild Oats to my M.T. collection. I wish you continued success. You deserve it.

P.L. Parker said...

Good morning - running by to say "hi." Enjoyed the post and the info. Good luck on sales and congratulations. "Agent." What a wonderful word.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Margaret and Sharon,

Great interview, as always. Roses are my favorites, too!

Love the cover for "Wild Oats".

Sharon Donovan said...

There's plenty of coffee and tea in the rose garden. And Oliver serves it up with a smile. Stop by and smell the roses, ladies!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sharon and Margaret

(Oh thanks Oliver you must have known I was 'gasping' for a cup of Earl Grey!)

What a lovely post, and what an intriguing book wild Oats sounds!

I love roses too, and am looking forward to the first buds on my dark red ones. It's a bit early here in the UK at the moment, though, although spruing does seem to be just around the corner (fingers crossed).

Very sad to learn about the problems the poor koala is having, they always look so cute in pictures, although I don't think I've ever seen one, except on tv.

Thanks so much for sharing such an interesting excerpt and glimpse of Australia with us.

Tiffany Green said...

Wonderful interview, Margaret! Your books sound wonderful. They are definitely on my list of books to buy!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello, hello. My goodness, Linda, Patsy, Debra, Lyn and Tiffany. Margaret will be so thrilled to see you all when she pops back. In the meantime, enjoy the warm sunshine and refreshments.

Sharon Donovan said...

And not to forget Barbara, hiding behind the antique roses, checking them out with Oliver's help.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Tiffany,
Thaks for dropping by, I appreciate it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for dropping by.Oh yes we have roses here in Australia, well in most states except perhaps the Outback where it is too hot. I have a deep red rose called Oklahoma, it has the most glorious perfume.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Thank your for dropping by and for your kind words, I truly appreciate them.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Patsy,
Thanks for dropping by. Yes Agent is a nice word, especially if you have got one.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Debra,
Thaks for dropping by. Another rose lover. What is there not to love about roses. Well my hubby hates them, reckons the thorns jump out and snag him every time he walks past.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Hywela Lyn,
thanks for dropping by. I already have roses blooming. Have been for months, although in the hot weather they didn't last for long.
It is sad about the koalas, but the scientists are working on the problem, but it all takes time. The authorities have been moving the unaffected ones to other places to try and slow down the spread, hope it works.

Sharon Donovan said...

Margaret, I agree with Lyn. What a shame about the cute little koala bears. They
are so adorable and here's hoping things improve for them. I think we're all rose
lovers. Do you know of or have the Lasting Love? I have them and they are so gorgeous,
a deep red with vintage perfume. They're a hybrid and are real climbers and quite

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon,
No, I haven't heard of Lasting Love, not in rose for anyway. Mr Lincoln is another red rose that I like.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Margaret and Sharon,

Smashing interview ladies, much enjoyed. NOthing like a little Earl Gray and cream-dipped strawberries to whet my appetite. Wild Oats sounds like another great read, Margaret. You're on such a historical roll here. Wishing you all the best!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Maggie,
Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. Nothing like a nice cup of Earl Grey tea. Always have one at breakfast time.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Maggie, thanks for dropping by to chat with us. Here comes Oliver with a nice cup of Earl Grey for you, and there's plenty of snacks. I agree. Wild Oats is one for the always growing TBR list.

Sharon Donovan said...

Well, that brings us to the end of another Wednesday Spotlight. I'd like to thank all of you for dropping by to visit. Special thanks to my guest Margaret Tanner. Margaret, it's been a pleasure chatting with you today about Wild Oats and your roses and the koala bears and kangaroo. Best of luck with sales!
As always, a big thank you to Hywela Lyn for adding the beautiful graphics to my blog. Thanks, Lyn!

Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,

Mary Ricksen said...

Sorry to be late. Hi Margaret, was Oliver a gentleman? I hope so Sharon, great blog! Takes for the interview and I loved the excerpt. My list just gets bigger every day.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mary,
No need to apologise. Nice of you to drop by.