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.
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
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: http://www.margarettaner.com/
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 AussieAuthors.com.
Margaret is married and has three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter.
Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.