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I love the quote from writer Norah Ephron’s mother that everything is copy. This was brought home to me when I was researching the life of Robert Curthose for a magazine article. He was the eldest son of William the Conqueror (remember? Battle of Hastings, 1066?). As well as being a chivalrous knight, Robert was the original party guy. He was a lot of fun, but too easily swayed by his advisors. He could never have been a good ruler, and in the end both his younger brother William (Rufus) and then his youngest brother Henry (I) got the top job instead.
Robert’s travels took in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), which was an amazing place. The luxurious descriptions of a city at the hub of all the great trade routes made me want to use it as the setting for a novel. People have always been resourceful in times of hardship, and I wondered how attraction would work between two people on opposing sides, caught up in a war. My notes turned into an historical romance, Jewel Under Siege. Heroine Elena is a young widow who shelters Emil, an injured Crusader. This puts her in terrible danger, both from the authorities and from Emil’s rugged charm. The tension mounts as their attraction for each other struggles with Elena’s guilt at living a lie. Then disaster strikes – and only Emil can save the situation.
Jewel Under Siege was brought out in print by Harlequin Mills and Boon as part of their Masquerade Historical Romance Line, under my pen-name Polly Forrester. Now the on-line market has expanded, the book has been re-edited by Tessa Shapcott, given a great new cover by Samantha Groom at magicat45degrees and is now available as an ebook by clicking here.
I love the ebook’s cover image, which you can see above. It suggests Elena’s vulnerability, as well as the exotic setting. After all the dreadful weather we’ve been struggling with here lately, the sunlight on the sea is a welcome reminder that warm weather is on the way.
I’d love to know what you think about Jewel Under Siege. If you’d like your name to be entered in a draw to win a review copy, email me at christinahollis(at)hotmail.co.uk, replacing the word in brackets with @. To find out more about Jewel Under Siege, you can sign up for my next newsletter here.