Seducing The Princess: Q&A with Mary Hart Perry
Mary Hart Perry, author of THE WILD PRINCESS is here today to discuss her second book in the series: SEDUCING THE PRINCESS. (What a delicious title, btw!) This book focuses on Queen Victoria’s painfully shy youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Here’s a short blurb:
Convinced she is unattractive and unloved, the dutiful Princess Beatrice finally accepts that she will never marry and vows to devote herself to the queen in Victoria’s waning years. In fact, her mother secretly discouraged suitors for Beatrice’s hand. Then Beatrice meets Henry Battenberg, a dashing nobleman from the Continent who risks his life and liberty to woo Bea.
But Henry isn’t the only man interested in being welcomed into Beatrice’s bed. The timid princess has become the target of a cruel plot. Enemies of England have sent a ruthless agent, a charming Scot, to seduce the naive princess and spy on the queen. Will Beatrice discover which of the two men pursuing her she can trust, before it’s too late?
MADELINE IVA: Your heroine is faced with a choice between a dashing nobleman-good guy and a bad boy Scot. (Yum!) Which are you more drawn to when writing fiction? The good boy or the bad?
MARY HART PERRY: I think I’m initially torn between the man who’s safe and protective…and the one who’s sexy and dangerous. The good guy wins out for me though, because he’s strong and sexy in his own way, and he acts on the heroine’s behalf rather than plotting against her, for his own selfish reasons.
MADELINE IVA: I myself like the sound of the Scot, especially because he’s a spy. Knowing that sometimes people drawing from history have to massage the facts to make the fiction compelling can you tell us if these two men were actually vying for Beatrice?
MARY HART PERRY: The “real” suitor was Henry of Battenberg. According to all accounts, he was quite a handsome man and persistent at winning both Beatrice and the Queen’s approval. He and Beatrice really did fall in love and bring about the match against the Queen’s early objections. So that much is true. It’s also true that Henry’s older brother was foiled by the queen when he made an attempt to catch Beatrice’s interest when she was much younger. Victoria didn’t want Bea to marry at all. The fiction comes in the form of the Scot. After all, we need an antagonist who is a strong match for Henry.
MADELINE IVA: So glad you made him up, then. :> Queen Victoria was a bit of a long distance micro-manager with her daughters. Were you surprised by the lengths she went to in keeping them under her thumb?
MARY HART PERRY: Oh, yes, you’re so right. Micro-managing–she was formidable. As far as Beatrice was concerned, the queen came right out and said Bea would never marry. She was to stay at her mother’s side, as her companion, until the queen was in her grave. And when the young woman showed any interest in breaking this rule, her mother punished her by refusing to speak to her. She reduced their communicating to passing her notes, instructing her how to spend her day, or giving her jobs about the palace.
MADELINE IVA: Sheesh! Meanwhile, how steamy is your novel in terms of love scenes? Do we get to see that bad boy Scot undressed?
MARY HART PERRY: I knew you’d ask-heh, heh! It gets steamy in a few places, mostly because Bea is so innocent so the least bit of touching really shakes her up. The Scot as partially undressed in the climactic scene.
MADELINE IVA: Partially undressed sounds excellent. And talking about stripping down–Queen Victoria seems ready to undergo some revisionist work by feminists. How are our ideas about her changing now that we’re taking a fresh look at her as a leader, a mother, and a historical figure?
MARY HART PERRY: The thing is…everything I’ve read, accounts of her life and her letters, she really didn’t like the idea of women working or even having the vote. She believed, and said, that women should stay at home and let the men in their family take care of them. The problem was, not all men saw that as their duty, so there were literally thousands of women left homeless with no way of supporting themselves. If you weren’t married or didn’t have a father or brother who was able to shelter and feed you, you were in a bad way during most of the 19th century.
MADELINE IVA: Patriarchy at it’s best. Bleah! So Mary, you’ve written about a wild princess and now a shy princess. What’s next in the series?
MARY HART PERRY: The book I’m working on now focuses on a few months of horror that completely paralyzed London. I’m pitting Vickie, the Crown Princess against the famous (but never revealed) serial killer, Jack the Ripper, who roamed the streets for victims. Should be fun!
MADELINE IVA: Yes she does. 🙂 After doing all this research, which child of Victoria and Albert is your favorite?
MARY HART PERRY: How can I choose? They’re all so amazing in different ways. I will always hold a warm spot in my heart for Beatrice. She had to struggle so hard to get out from under her mother’s thumb. She did it, and deserves credit for making a life of her own. Louise the heroine of the first book, The Wild Princess loved art and was determined to get the education she needed, the same as a boy or man would have expected to receive, so that she could be a professional artist. She persisted, bucking not only her mother but Victorian society, and became a talented sculptress. I think that’s just so wonderful. We all should be that brave–focussing on what we want in life, then going after it with a vengeance. Right?
MADELINE IVA: Right! I wish I was Louise–an ideal heroine. Vicky’s got a bit of a wicked look in her eye that beckons to me as well. Meanwhile, I just love the idea of innocent, shy Beatrice having these two forceful men bent on winning her over at the same time. So delicious! Thanks so much for talking with us today–and good luck on your new release.
MARY HART PERRY: Thanks for the lovely visit. I’ve enjoyed our chat!
Hey readers–today we’re having a giveaway of SEDUCING THE PRINCESS in e-pub kindle format. Leave a comment below and you just might get lucky.