I have handed my blog over today to the wonderful writer, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, to tell you about her new book, Highland Pursuits. I can’t praise this book enough. It is an exquisite comedy of manners, set in 1920s Scotland, which I found an utterly delightful read. After Emmanuelle tells you about her book and her generous promotion, she was kind enough to answer some of my questions at the bottom of the page. But first, I leave you in Emmanuelle’s capable hands.
Emmanuelle de Maupassant is thrilled to announce the launch of her saucy 1920s romance romp: ‘Highland Pursuits’.
In celebration, Emmanuelle is not only offering three signed paperback copies, via Goodreads here, but has her entire catalogue on sale for 99c/99p from March 1st-8th: Baby Love, Scarlet, Cautionary Tales and Gentlemen’s Club (as recommended by Stylist Magazine)
1920s debutante Lady Ophelia Finchingfield is banished to wildest Scotland to come to her senses, having refused a proposal from the Earl of Woldershire. In the care of her eccentric grandmother, Ophelia is soon caught between rugged widower Hamish and the villainous Comte de Montefiore.
She’s ready to play with fire, but will she burn more than her fingers?
What readers are saying
I can’t tell you how much I love this book. It was a true delight to read. The author has captured 1920s Britain wonderfully, and her detail is exquisite. – Rachel De Vine
As a comedy of manners, this is exceptionally well done. – Fionna Guillaume
Highland Pursuits is a wry, clever, incredibly sexy romp… a completely engrossing, utterly enjoyable read. I can’t recommend it highly enough…fabulously fun – Malin James
The scene was set beautifully… I felt like I went back in time to high society Scotland – Christine of Sweet and Spicy Reads
Emmanuelle sends enormous thanks to her editor, Adrea Kore, for her help in bringing ‘Highland Pursuits’ into the world. She says: ‘Adrea is an incredibly talented writer, and a wonderful friend. Her editing skills helped bring the words alive. She is a marvel and I’m so glad that one day, forever ago, we found each other.’
‘Highland Pursuits’ draws inspiration from a short story of the same title Emmanuelle wrote originally for the charity fundraising anthology Because Beards: all proceeds have been given to the Movember Foundation.
This longer, novella, length offers more scope to explore the wonderful characters’ eye-popping shenanigans. Hamish and Ophelia were in Emmanuelle’s dreams for many weeks, as she wrote this story.
Pssst… if you enjoy Highland Pursuits, don’t forget to leave a review. Reviews make books more visible online, bringing new eyes. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, tag Emmanuelle in your review post and she’ll say hello.
Social Media Links
Explore Emmanuelle’s website here
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Now for some of the questions I asked Emmanuelle:
1) You have captured this 1920s period piece about an aristocratic country house life perfectly. Ophelia is my type of woman – independent, questioning, wanting more out of life than her class and era would normally allow. Is this a period in which you would have liked to live? Or would you miss the life of a 21st century woman?
I can imagine that it would have been marvellous to have lived in the 1920s if you had enough income to support a comfortable lifestyle. It was an exciting time for music and film and, in certain, slightly Bohemian, circles, women had fair license to ‘enjoy themselves’, as long as they were discreet.
It’s lovely to picture being wealthy and young in the 1920s, whizzing about having fun in motor cars, going to parties, dancing and wearing gorgeous fashions. Of course, the reality, for everyone but the elite, was a life of hard slog. No glamour at all.
Moreover, World War One had brought about the loss of so many of the young men who would have become husbands.
Whatever decade women have lived in, there have always been restrictions on what’s viewed as ‘decent’ behaviour, and always expectations placed upon us. Even today, women are often viewed with pity, as having failed in some way, if they don’t marry, and have children. How prescriptive is that! Nevermind the million and one other ways in which we can live satisfying, wonderful, creative, loving lives. Yes, we’ve come a long way… but there’s so much further still to go to change public perceptions of what a woman’s life can look like.
2) Your characterisation is wonderful, and so multi-dimensional. Do you construct the characters before you start writing, or do they evolve in your mind as you are writing?
I tend to begin with only the sketch of an idea, and a clutch of themes I want to explore. The details unfold as I start writing. Characters really do take on a life of their own. It’s bizarre and wonderful, and occasionally startling. I let my fingers run away in my notebook, and see what comes out. Writing ‘longhand’ is an interesting way to begin, as you somehow have ‘permission’ to write outrageously, your characters saying and doing rude, ridiculous, provocative things. I wrote most of Highland Pursuits in this way, and then edited during the typing up process.
3) Are you a stickler for getting your historical details correct, and does this require a lot of research before you write? I know from experience that some readers are very particular about details, like fashion, hairstyles, manners etc., and will soon point out where you are wrong.
For ‘Highland Pursuits’, I set aside a few days for research initially, but mostly tackled it during the editing stage, weaving in the extra little details which set the tone of the story: on films and music, prominent people of the time, and so on. There’s a chapter where Ophelia and Hamish go fishing, which required me to read up for 2-3 hours on various rods, flies and fishing knots! Another chapter describes a typical Scottish country estate grouse shoot: more research again.
I enjoy this part of the process though… so it’s not really a chore.
As long as I have plentiful supplies of tea, I can keep going for hours.
Thank you so much, Emmanuelle, for coming on my blog. I wish you well with your new book.