Born and educated in the Potteries in Staffordshire, Margaret Kaine now lives in Leicester. Her short stories have been published widely in women’s magazines in the UK, and also in Australia, Norway, South Africa and Ireland. Ring of Clay, her debut novel, won both the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 2002 and the Society of Authors’ Sagittarius Prize in 2003. She has written several romantic sagas about life in the Potteries between the 50’s and 70’s,and translations include German and French.
Your novel is called ‘Dangerous Decisions’ please could you tell me about it?
I found this novel a joy to write. I’ve always been fascinated by the Edwardian era, loving the fashions, the formal manners, the romance of it all. And yet beneath lay another world, one of poverty and vice.
In Dangerous Decisions, Helena, charmed by the wealthy and enigmatic Oliver Faraday yet haunted by the image of an attractive young doctor, mistakes infatuation for love. Despite a sense of unease, she accepts Oliver’s proposal, but he’s deeply flawed and she finds it hard to forgive the travesty of her wedding night. The novel is set ‘Upstairs’ and ‘Downstairs’, with one major character a prostitute in a top class London brothel. Described as ‘Downton with a twist’, it is cosmopolitan in its background, and deeply romantic with an underlying menace.
‘Dangerous Decisions’ is about Helena Standish, please can you tell me about her?
Helena, educated at home, has led a sheltered life until she goes to London to be presented at Court. A romantic at heart and loyal to her father and the aunt who brought her up from birth. She is musical, tenderhearted but has a much needed inner core of steel.
They say the journey to being published is one of the hardest an author can take, please can you describe the journey that you went on?
I’m a Taurus, often described as stubborn – I prefer determined. I nicknamed my first novel ‘boomerang’, because it went out and came back on a regular basis. I failed to get either an agent or a publisher despite multiple submissions and was at a loss where to try next. Then I saw an article in Writers’ News that a top Irish publisher, Poolbeg, was asking for submissions. With several weeks I was offered a 4-book contract. That book was Ring of Clay which went on to win literary awards.
Writers put so much time and energy into their characters and I have been told in the past that a writer carries their characters around with them.
So my question is if you could go out for a day with any one of your characters: who would it be, what would you do and why did you pick this particular character?
I think it would be Nicholas. I have a weakness for tall men with dark hair and although ambitious he is sensitive and caring. And to accompany him on his rounds, to witness first hand medical care – or the lack of it due to poverty – was like a hundred years ago. We are so fortunate today.
If you were told that you could live any day without repercussions for your actions, what would you do and why?
I’d pamper myself, indulge myself with chocolates and dine out in style, ordering dishes I’m normally unable to eat, and exult in wine and liqueurs without a resultant migraine!
If there was one saying that could sum up your life to date, what would it be?
It’s never too late to achieve your dream.
What can we expect next, any future books in the pipeline?
I have already begun another novel set in the Edwardian era, it’s lovely to spend your days – at least in the mind – drifting around a luxurious stately home. However, this one begins in a workhouse and I was rather relieved when my heroine was able to leave. I’m an organic writer, so the plot is still developing. But I’m loving the characters.
What or who in life inspires you?
Malala Yousafzai – the courageous young Indian girl. I foresee a great future for her.
Please would you share who your 5 dream dinner party guests would be?
Prince Harry – he’s a born aristocrat so could give me authentic details, he would also bring a sense of fun. Andre Rieu as he is a true romantic and I love his concerts. Colin Firth on the condition he comes dressed as Mr Darcy. Emma Thompson whose creativity I admire, and Oprah Winfrey, a powerful woman who must know many secrets.
At your dinner party, there’s a cocktail in honour of ‘Dangerous Decisions’ what are the ingredients?
A Champagne Cocktail would be served.
3 drops Angostura bitters poured over 1 sugar cube, then add 1 ounce Cognac and 4 ounces of chilled Champagne.
A big thank you to Margaret for talking to ‘The Love of a Good Book’