Author Archives: Sarah

About Sarah

Sarah Mallory is an award winning novelist with more than 50 books published. She writes Georgian and Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, and also writes as Melinda Hammond.

The Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2024

Celebrations for the RNA Awards 2024

This week, the Romantic Novelists’ Association announced their shortlists for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2024

…which means I can now share the news that The Night She Met the Duke is a finalist in the Historical Romantic Novel category. Woohoo!

And it’s not just me: there are any number of familiar names amongst the finalists, this year, including Louise Allen and Kate Hardy   I am in illustrious company!

Wow. Just…wow

There I was, minding my own business one evening when my phone pinged. It was an email from the Romantic Novelists’ Association, informing me that I am a finalist in the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2024: Historical Romantic Novel category.

For those who might not know…

Sarah Mallory Historical Romantic Novel finalist, RNA Awards 2024

The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) administers the Romantic Novel of the Year awards and their website says this:

“The RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Awards are presented annually, recognising and celebrating the very best in romantic fiction.”

Let me just say that again:

woman in bed uncorks exploding champagnerecognising and celebrating the very best in romantic fiction… What romantic novelist would not want to be included in that? Woohoo!

I confess, I was surprised. I had submitted a book last year and since Christmas I had forgotten all about it. Which is the best thing to do, really – one cannot sit there biting one’s nails.

Then it sank in.  My book – my baby – had been read, and liked, by other people. Strangers. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling like this about my work

Writer in despair

Authors spend their lives…

…making up stories and putting them out there, hoping readers will like them. You have put in all the hard work: lived, loved, laughed and suffered with your characters.

Now the story is out in the big wide world. On its own.Sarah Mallory, looking shocked

Then you find out that someone likes your book. Not only that. They think it’s good enough to go on a shortlist, a finalist for an award.

Suddenly I feel like this…

Historical Romance

The Night She Met the Duke by Sarah Mallory, Finalist for RNA Awrds 2024

Finalist for the Awards 2024

To quote from the RNA’s own website, the Historical Romantic Novel category is “for stories set in the past (pre-1980) where romance forms a substantive and crucial part of the story.” Well, there is no denying my book is full of romance, but it has its share of history, too.

Although Pru and Garrick, my main characters, are fictitious, the background to their story is based on events that were happening in London in the summer of 1814.

For a start, there was the visit of the Allied sovereigns to England in June, to celebrate the defeat of France and Napoleon’s abdication. Then there was the centenary of the Hanoverian Monarchy. And as if that wasn’t enough, Princess Charlotte was going to marry the Prince of Orange!

Well, none of that could be allowed to pass unremarked, could it? The Prince Regent decided on a party. A big one.

And nobody does parties like the Prince Regent

Regency, party

Cruikshank. Inconveniences of a Crowded Drawing Room 1818

Prinny needed glamour; he needed glitz. With no luxurious royal residences such as Versailles or the Hermitage for his guests to enjoy, the best he could do was to evict his brothers from Cumberland House and give the place a makeover.

The great and the good of Europe arrived in Dover at the beginning of June. Just like today, people turned out to line the roads, waiting to see all these royal dignitaries as they made their way into London.

Phillips, Thomas; The Allied Sovereigns at Petworth, 24 June 1814

The crowds cheered for Blücher, hero of Waterloo. They fell in love with Tsar Alexander, regal and handsome.

There were military reviews, illuminations, balls, balloon ascensions, banquets,  soirees, a visit to Woolwich Arsenal, a trip to the races at Ascot, honours to be bestowed on Blücher at Oxford and Cambridge.

It wasn’t all plain sailing

The public loved all this, but Prinny wasn’t quite so happy. For a start, the Tsar didn’t like the accommodation in Cumberland House and decided to stay with his sister, the Duchess of Oldenburg, at the Pulteney Hotel. Not only that, but the Duchess was against Princess Charlotte’s marriage to the Prince of Orange and persuaded Charlotte to call it off. Entente Cordiale it wasn’t.

The sovereigns left England by the end of June, but the Prince Regent didn’t stop there.

Jubilee Fair 1814

Jubilee Fair 1814

On 21st July 1814, he hosted a lavish fete and ball in the grounds of Carlton House. Then a Jubilee Fair was organised to celebrate both the centenary of the Hanoverian monarchy and the 16th anniversary of the Battle of the Nile. It celebrated The Treaty of Paris as well, which was supposed to herald the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Such a busy summer!

Yes, there was a wealth of material to choose from. However my characters have their own story and I needed to concentrate on their romance.

Tsar Alexander by Gerard

Tsar Alexander, by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the parties I used for Pru and Garrick was the White’s Club Ball, at Burlington House on 20th June. Over two thousand people sat down to supper and the triumph of the evening was that Tsar Alexander joined in the dancing. Then, in July, they attended the Carlton House Fete, another lavish affair. If you want to know more about these sumptuous events, there are brilliant descriptions on the Regency Dances website.

There were so many events that summer that it was impossible to include them all, although I will just mention one more. The Jubilee Fair provides the backdrop for some of the most exciting scenes in the story, involving villainous abductors and heroic rescues. However, there just wasn’t space to mention everything that was going on. Which brings me to a serious point:

How much history is too much?

blue question marksA big question!

When I was a new author with a passion for the historical romantic novel, I became aware of the dreaded information dump — putting in too many facts to the detriment of the narrative.  I am writing romance, and much as I love the history, it is the tapestry into which I weave my characters’ stories.

I shall leave it there

The RNA’s judges think The Night She Met the Duke good enough to be a finalist in their awards 2024 and I am very happy about that. I know these things are subjective. We don’t all like the same thing, thankfully. My own reading tastes can change depending on the mood I am in. For now, it is enough that someone liked it.

Sarah

Sarah Mallory research

Lord Byron : what I didn’t know about the man

A few years back I took part in an event at this venue –

Rochdale Town Hall 1909

Okay, not quite that long, perhaps. This is a postcard of Rochdale Town Hall from 1909 and I was there in 2012. However the building is still as impressive as it was at the turn of the 20th century. It has recently undergone a massive restoration project and is well worth a visit, if you are ever in the area.

So why was I there?

I was taking part in a celebration for this man on his 224th birthday.

Lord Byron

It’s Byron. Of course. He was 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale, in case you were wondering about the connection. Continue reading

Bristol research: Cricket, Cary Grant, Banksy…and Dracula?

It’s not often Cricket, Cary Grant and Dracula come up in the same conversation. Oh, and Banksy. But they do here, following my Bristol research trip.

Why Bristol research?

Bristol research curved terrace

Why not? It’s my home town so a research trip really appealed! It’s the city where I spent the first decades of my life. I am currently writing a book, set in the Regency, with scenes around the docks and in what was then South Gloucestershire, now just outside the city centre…

But more about the book at a later date

For today’s blog, I want to share with you my delight in a Bristol research trip where I discovered an area of the city that I only knew by name. Montpelier. Continue reading

Women’s Fiction Festival 2023

I promised so many people I would report back on this inaugural festival of Women’s Fiction. My apologies for not doing it sooner, but here we go:

The first  Womens Fiction Festival was held over two days in early October.  It was a celebration of popular women’s fiction and the line up of authors was very impressive. This was women’s fiction in many of its forms – historical, feel-good and rom-com, to name a few.

The weather decided to do its worst. Rain disrupted trains and flooded roads that  weekend, but it didn’t deter a great many  women’s fiction fans from making their way to Morningside. They turned up in force to listen, learn and enjoy the varied programme put together by the organisers.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city was impressive, too, despite the rain. Continue reading

The Major and the Scandalous Widow: Rebirth of a book…

Audiobooks, explosion of delightI have a new book out! A rebirth!

Cause for celebration, certainly, but this one is extra special.
Here’s why:

In 2010 this  rip-roaring romantic adventure was published as Disgrace and Desire, but only in the UK.  I am thrilled now at its rebirth: Harlequin/Mills & Boon are releasing the book in the USA, with a new title and a new cover, and I hope even more readers will love it as much as I do.

I have put both covers here, so you can compare them for yourself, but the story hasn’t changed 🙂

covers of original and rebirth books

In 2010, Cataromance’s Juilemi wrote:

“Sarah Mallory continues to thrill with Disgrace and Desire, a fabulous historical romantic adventure brimming with gusto, verve and flair!”

Romance Junkies said:

Ms. Mallory, you really outdid yourself with Eloise and Jack’s story.”

Woohoo!!!!

This is a book that has always been close to my heart. Continue reading

Deadlines, Distractions and Displacement Activities

There I was, trying to find something to blog about, but my head waswriters staring into space, distractions too full of deadlines and other distractions. It’s difficult finding time to write the darned book, let alone anything else.

Then inspiration struck. I am a published author. I have been writing to a deadline for decades. What on earth is my problem? So I decided to share some of the tricks that have helped me over the years.

Words from the wise?

Well, maybe. These are things that have helped me avoid distractions: some are tips from fellow writers, but they come from other sources, too. It’s a little tongue in cheek, perhaps, and it’s tips that helped me most when I was a working mother. Not all of it will work for you, but it helps to clarify the mind (or at least, it does mine).

Let me start with a quote:

Continue reading

A Brief Encounter with Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott by H Raeburn

Sir Walter Scott by H Raeburn

To quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica:-

“Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, (born August 15, 1771, Edinburgh, Scotland – died September 21, 1832, Abbotsford, Roxburgh, Scotland), Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and biographer who is often considered both the inventor and the greatest practitioner of the historical novel.”

So why do I know so little about Scott?

I confess I have only read one of his books (Ivanhoe).

Roger Moore who played Scott's Ivanhoe

Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

I suspect that was because I’d had a girlish crush on Roger Moore, who played the Eponymous hero in a long-ago TV series.

Scott’s Scottish tales use a lot of old Scots dialect, which can be baffling (nay, impenetrable) to many readers.

But that’s changed and now I know more about Scott

A couple of weeks back, I came pretty close to the man himself. Well, to his tomb. And his books. Continue reading

Scottish myth, history and engineering

Falkirk Wheel. Marsupium photography via Wikimedia Commons

Those of you who dropped into the Liberta Blog over Easter might have noticed I was a tad slow with my replies to the comments…

That’s because I was busy exploring a little more of Scotland. The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies, to be exact.

Most of you will know that my main interest lies in the history of the 18th and early 19th century, but although the Falkirk Wheel did not open until 2002, its heritage and engineering dates back way beyond the Industrial Revolution.

As far as Archimedes, in fact.

Let’s go back a bit for more engineering

Continue reading

Rumour and Scandal – Pru and the stuff of romance novels!

Libertà launches with fanfare of trumpets

It is always an exciting moment for an author when their new book is published, so I hope you will forgive me for indulging in a little fanfare today! I’d like to introduce my heroine, Pru.

Who doesn’t like a bit of gossip? Pru, for one

Illustrated London News

Prudence Clifford is one of the main characters in my latest Regency, The Night She Met the Duke. It hits the shelves at the end of this month.

So, here’s a little bit about Pru and her story. Continue reading

Not Mrs Beaton: Sarah Mallory tries Regency cooking

Fellow authors will understandWoman businesswoman working, files, clock this foray into Regency cooking.

I was having a very busy time, planning a holiday, sorting out the family, finishing one book, starting another, looking at the dust highlighted by the spring sunshine…

So what to do first?

I decided to take part in an online course on Regency cooking. What else??? Continue reading