Tag Archives: Jane Lark

Hall of Fame Party with Jane Lark: ILLICIT LOVE

Roll out the red carpet!

Open the champagne!

It’s time to enter the Hall of Fame!

Hall of Fame

Today is launch day for my Sapphire Star Publishing sister, Jane Lark! Jane’s here with a fascinating guest post on captivating characters and an intriguing introduction to her debut novel. Take it away, Jane! 🙂


Captivating Characters – what difference does a historical setting make?

One of the hardest things to get right when writing, is your characters, and they are rather critical aren’t they?  A story is no story without the people you’re spinning a tale about. As I write historical fiction, you would expect my characters to be very different to Nicky’s, but then again, why? It may be controversial to say this, but I don’t think there’s any reason they should be. For instance, women in ancient Rome, idolized gladiators, in the same we might idolize rock stars today.

To research the setting for the scenes in Illicit Love, I read a mass of letters and memoirs from the 17th – 19th Centuries, and the people speaking to me from these pages, use old-fashioned  language, and are living a different way of life, yes, but their personalities are no different than ours are today.

Did you know, the majority of today’s psychology theories stem from one, which was developed in Ancient Greece, by Hippocrates. He said, hundreds of years ago, there were four characteristics to people’s personality.

When I read the memoirs of a 19th Century Courtesan, Harriette Wilson, the truth of this shouted at me from the page. She talks about walking out to a park, simply in the hope of seeing a stranger she liked the look of. When Harriette discovered who he was, she would then walk past his house, trying to look through his windows. Then that stranger had to have a drink before he had the confidence to speak to her.

Harriette Wilson's Memoirs

There are a couple of quotes from Harriette’s memoirs I’d like to share with you. The first one is;

“The idol of romantic passion, in some unlucky moment of common sense, or common life, is discovered to be the last thing their worshippers would wish the idol to be found—a mere human being! With passions and wants utterly unprovided for by the statutes of romance.”

– Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs, quoting “a celebrated French writer,” published 1825.

Even Harriette says in her memoirs we are all, only human. And here;

“Suppose he were to love me! Thought I, and the idea caused my heart to beat wildly. I would not dwell upon it. It was ridiculous. It would only expose me to after-disappointment.” – Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs, published 1825

Harriette wrote this sentence of the stranger she fell in love with. He became the love her life, but he was already married, and she was forced to give him up.

In Illicit Love, I’ve sought to capture the intensity of this love affair, and replicate the emotion Harriette shared, in my characters; though their story is not Harriette’s.  But the question is; can love redeem a life of sin?

Illicit Love

Illicit love

Here’s the sound track to get you in the mood to read Illicit Love

And here are the details of Illicit Love:

‘Hiding her self-deprecating smile behind her fan, Ellen glances over its top at the gorgeous man across the table. Is it very wrong for her sinful body to want a man like that? How would it feel? How would it feel to be free from her so-called protector for an hour or two and play his games with a man of her choice? Choice was a holy grail; a cup fallen woman longed to drink from. And she’d love defying Lord Gainsborough.

 As though pulled by an invisible cord winding between them, Lord Edward’s gaze lifted to her while he contemplated Lord Gainsborough’s call. His eyes widened, darkening, perhaps reading hers, and what appeared to be amusement twitched his lips before he looked back at his cards.’

Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame. When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee. He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

In the words of Harriette Wilson, the real 19th Century courtesan, who inspired this love story, ‘and then – and then – and then…’

If you read Illicit Love I value feedback, so please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or any other site you like, and you can also let other readers know what you think on the Illicit Love Book Club page.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak about Illicit Love, Nicky.

Best wishes

Jane Lark

Jane, what a fabulous post! I am thoroughly intrigued even though Regency romance is not normally my cup of tea. But you are absolutely right ~ why shouldn’t it be? Roman Gladiators, Edward Marlow, or a rock star: they’re all men women are drawn too, men to bring us romance and possibly… illicit love. Thank you for visiting and I wish you every success on your big day. Rock ON!





About Jane Lark

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional love stories. She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write a bookNow Jane is writing a Regency series for Sapphire Star Publishing and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development, and uses her knowledge of people to bring her characters to life.

‘Basically I love history and I’m a sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction, and my understanding of people helps me write the really intense relationships I enjoy developing. I like writing characters who will capture your attention from the moment you open my book.’



Are you tempted?

My Next Big Thing

Oh yes. My Next Big Thing. Are you ready? It’s going to be big. Huge. Fantabulous. If I say so myself!

Preamble: I was invited to take place in The Next Big Thing by several lovely people in the past few months, and I had to regretfully pass on each invitation as I was in the throes of launchig Sophie’s Turn. You know who you are and you know how much I appreciated your invitation! This most recent invitation came at the tail end of my blog tour and therefore I couldn’t resist taking part and shouting about my WIP. Thank you for your understanding, my friends!
🙂 xxx

Last week, my Romantic Novelists’ Association friend and writer of family sagas and historical novels, Freda Lightfoot, tagged me in her post The Next Big Thing ~ and this week it’s my turn! The idea is that I answer ten questions about my current Work in Progress (my Next Big Thing!) and tag five other writers to tell you about their latest work next week!

So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?

~ Sophie’s Run ~

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sophie’s Run is the sequel to Sophie’s Turn. The ideas inside the book have been inspired by events in my own life, whether they happened to me, were witnessed by me, happened to others, or were a fancy flight of my imagination based on something I read, heard or saw on television.

What genre does your book fall under?

The obvious answer to this question would be that it is a contemporary romance, or even chick-lit. However, the entire trilogy is also so much more than that. There is a big element of self-discovery going on here, especially in Sophie’s Run. And undeniably, Sophie travels a lot. So I’d say it’s romance with a twist!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither, nor. The book will be published by my wonderful publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing (how many ‘publish’ words can you fit in one sentence, Nicky?) but we have a direct relationship without an agent involved. Oh, and before I forget: release date is 7 February 2013 ~ not long to go!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Fourteen weeks exactly. 🙂

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Do you know, I don’t know how to answer this questions. There are elements of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones in there, just in terms of the bizarre situations Sophie finds herself in. Obviously the rock star theme likens it a little to Public Secrets by Nora Roberts. But the Trilogy as a whole charts Sophie’s life over a period of almost ten years so that reminds me of some of Maeve Binchy’s great works. So ~ a tough one to answer.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Evidently, Sophie’s Run being a sequel, this inspiration arose from the first part of the story. However, I can pinpoint the impetus for actually writing it very precisely. It was 12 July 2011, a few days after I launched Sophie’s Turn onto the world (in indepenedent publisher format). I had temporarily exhausted all promotional avenues, or so I thought (little did I know!) and when I had a bit of a tearful conversation with my long-time friend, Shirley Mukisa, she had only one answer to my conundrum. “The next logical thing will be to write the second book.” So I did. 🙂

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Apart from being fun, sexy, wildly romantic and an absolute page-turner, Sophie’s Run also is a story about keeping the faith when life takes you down its long and winding road. I hope it inspires faith and patience in everyone whose life, like Sophie’s, doesn’t seem to work out to plan. Sophie’s message is that you are in charge of your destiny, ultimately, and if life doesn’t follow your intentions, you have to make it so. (Goodness, that sounds deep!)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ah, Sophie’s Run, the movie! This is obviously after we’ve made Sophie’s Turn, right? So… the dream cast would be:

Dan the Rock Star…. Played by Ewan McGregor! (Or Jon Bon Jovi, but he’d have to adopt an English accent!!!)

Sophie… Played by Keira Knightley!

Rachel … Played by Emma Watson!

And that’s my Next Big Thing. Here are the writers I’m tagging: rock on!

The amazing Jen Tucker, who writes hilariously funny biography giving amazing insights into family life and parenting.

The fabulous Jane Risdon, who posts some very intriguing articles-with-a-difference on her blog, who’s acting as my chief adviser on all things to do with rock-star lifestyle, and who’s been secretely slaving away at her WIP: I’m dying to see what it’s all about!

My brilliant Sapphire Star Publishing sister,  Jane Lark, who writes historical fiction and has just started a brand new author’s blog.

Wonderfully candid ‘scarlet woman’ Tanith Davenport, who I met through Freda Lightfoot and whose blog has me thoroughly intrigued.

The fifth spot… is open for YOU, if you want to take part. Don’t be shy, go on, I’d love to hear about your WIP! 🙂