Thanks so much for having me as a guest today, Kara! I’m thrilled to talk about my new book, Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play.
Last year I was invited to be part of a group project with other Regency romance authors, the Love after All Tragic Characters in Classic Lit project.
Or should I call it a “challenge”?! Here’s the official description:
With complete artistic license, and an abundance of hubris, a group of Regency romance authors are retelling some of the great stories of literature, setting them in Georgian England, and giving these tragic heroes and heroines a happily-ever-after.
I am not super well-read in tragic fiction, so I settled on a story I do know: Macbeth. The real Macbeth was a relatively successful (though bloody) ruler of Scotland for about ten years in the eleventh century. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and his lady are tragic characters indeed, their stories ending in death! Quite the challenge.
As I plunged into planning this story, I quickly decided that the action would begin twenty years after their “demises”—when a failed lawsuit, allegations of unfaithfulness and a disastrous divorce send Macbeth off to bloody war and his lady into a tailspin of depression. Older and wiser, they meet again in London in March 1815 during the worst of the Corn Riots.
This being much more of a Romantic Suspense, there’s danger from an old villain plaguing them. Writing this, I often had to wrest my hero back from the darkness of his story. Or, as my editor gently suggested, I had to “moderate his fatalism”.
All-in-all, it was a very fun story, requiring a deep research dive into the Peninsular campaign, the Corn Riots, and best of all, men in kilts.
Other heroes being reformed in this series include Frankenstein, Colonel Fitzwilliam, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Heathcliff.
This is just such an awesome idea! And yes, men in kilts are always a plus!!!!
I had fun writing the opening scene where Macbeth first sees his ex-wife, as well as his encounter with Lucie, the daughter who he believed was the product of his wife’s alleged infidelity twenty years earlier. Lucie was one of those characters we authors often encounter, a young lady who insisted on leaping from the page and surprising me.
I also loved writing the epilogue, which takes place in June 1815 in Brussels, after the Battle of Waterloo. This being a romance, our hero and heroine are together. But there’s a secondary couple whose story is yet to come.
Oh! I love it when secondary characters get a story!!!
Can you share an excerpt with us?
A crush was what they called these suffocating occasions, and the term was apt.
Major Finnley Macbeth, Scottish baron and late of his majesty’s Highland Brigade, shifted his weight from the leg that still ached like the devil, and scanned the room for his quarry, an undersecretary in the Home Office who he’d met at the army’s winter quarters in Frenada.
From his spot near a damask covered wall, he measured each breath, trying to calm his rising unease. The heavy scent of perfume mixed with fine beeswax and hothouse florals unsettled more than his stomach. The shimmering silks and waving plumes threatened to stir the disquieting visions plaguing him lately.
Fire, explosions, rain, the screams of men and horse.
He squeezed his hands into fists. These were not the hellish memories of the recent past, dammit, but rattling visions of some battle yet to come.
Or not. Foretelling the future was for Travellers and crones, wasn’t it? Not battle-hardened men like himself.
He inhaled slowly, holding the breath for a count, and then eased the air out. Best keep his purpose in mind—he was here to track down Sir Thomas Abernathy, lately arrived in London, and rumored to be attending this rout.
His gaze swept the room, seeking the distinctive bald pate. In spite of his own forty-three years, his eyesight was still keen enough to make out a sniper or spot the dust of a fleeing stag. Keen enough as well to relish the deep décolletages and clinging, delicate, almost transparent skirts on display this night, a vision far more cheering than the one the Sight was showing him.
A more modestly clad woman stood alone halfway across the ballroom, her back turned to him, surveying the room as he was doing.
A memory stabbed him, laced with an old shame. He’d once known a lass with hair like this, so abundant, so near to black. The lady tonight had crowned all the loveliness with dark feathers, like a glorious cormorant. His hand itched to pull out those feathers and rake his hands through the tumble of hair, as he’d once done…
He caught a steadying breath. It couldn’t be her. He’d simply been without a woman too long.
And these visions plaguing him of he knew not what? That foolishness grew from naught but fatigue, the wages of war, and the steady company of too much death. Napoleon had been defeated. He must put the memories of battle and that more distant passion aside. The lovely lady with feathers atop her head was only a stranger wondering where her man had got to.
Yet he couldn’t turn away. As he watched, she pivoted one way, and then the other, allowing a glimpse of dangling earbobs and a firm chin.
Drawn to her, he stepped out on his bad leg just as she turned.
Pain shot through his hip. The room threatened to fall away but he held onto the pain, let it shore him up whilst he swore a silent curse.
It was her.
More than once during the writing of Fated Hearts, I worried about taking on one of the Bard’s famous tales. But I took heart from the fact that Shakespeare made free with the facts for the sake of a story. Here’s my dedication:
With grateful thanks to William Shakespeare, the master at adapting history, myth and legend to meet the requirements of his audience.
Thank you, Ms. Field! And thank you for writing this romance. It sounds so intriguing!
Ms. Field will give away a book to a lucky commenter!
Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.
They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?
Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a spunky, blond rescued terrier. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY
Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3