Shannon here: Historical Romance author, Jillian Kent shares how she met her husband and how her characters meet from her latest release. Every time you comment, your name goes in the drawing for a copy of her first book in her Ravensmoore Chronicles, Secrets of the Heart. Deadline: Feb 11, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jillian:
I was attending West Virginia University in 1980 and working on my masters degree in social work. The campus got hit by a snowstorm and though the students showed up for our Social Work and Law class the professor didn’t. Little did I know that my future husband was in that class too. While we were waiting I saw this guy with big, puppy brown eyes and a great smile. Love at first sight? No. But definite like. We started talking to each other in the hallway while we were milling around waiting to see if class was going to take place or not. Of course we were all hoping for an evening off. We all waited the required length of time for our professor to show and then trudged through the snow together to a restaurant in downtown Morgantown.
It was a fun evening. We listened to the band, enjoyed talking to old friends and had fun making new friends in our class. We put away more than a few pizzas as a group that night. About three hours later we called it a night and I knew I’d see Randy again. He gave me a Coke bottle with a carnation in it and asked me out. I was twenty-six and he was twenty-eight. Thirty years later in 2012 we are still happily married.
Here is the meeting between the hero and heroine in my new book, Chameleon. Excerpt:
We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
—Henry David Thoreau
London, 29 March 1818
St. James Park loomed in front of them, shrouded in a heavy mist that created difficulty for horse and driver as the coach and four maneuvered its way into the park.
Inside the vehicle, Victoria leaned toward the window, straining to see the outline of trees. “Such a disappointment,” she sighed. “This is not what I expected my very first morning in London. I’d so hoped to see more on the ride through the park, something exciting to tell Devlin when we get to his home.”
“Don’t despair, my lady.” Nora, her maid, pulled a heavy shawl tighter about her shoulders. “’Tis sure to be the same mist that abounds in Yorkshire. This nuisance will lift eventually. It always does.”
Victoria patted the sleek head of her dog. “Even Lazarus grows bored.” She marveled at her best friend, a behemoth of a mastiff, as he lowered his bulk to the floor of the coach with a loud groan and laid his head across her slipper-covered feet, creating a comfortable warmth. He’d been with her for years, and she couldn’t leave him behind. The poor dear would cry himself to sleep every night.
Victoria allowed the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves and Nora’s penchant for humming songs to lull her into a light sleep. Nora’s humming had comforted her all those years she’d been sick at Ravensmoore. While everyone else lived their busy lives out around her, she’d done little but survive, taking comfort in the small things that brought her joy.
A sudden crash caused the coach door to vibrate. Victoria screamed and bolted upright as Lazarus pressed his nose and giant paws against the carriage window. A low growl rumbled in his throat.
She grabbed Lazarus by the collar. Heart pounding, she turned to Nora. “What was that?”
“Highwaymen!” Nora’s hand crept to her neck, and fear filled her eyes.
The coachman drew the horses to a halt and opened the top hatch. “I fear I may have run someone down, my lady, but in this fog I can’t tell.”
“We must find out at once. Someone may be hurt.” Victoria threw open the door, and Lazarus bounded into the mist. “Lazarus! Find!” She called after him, but he was already well on his way. She stepped from the coach, nearly tripping in her haste.
“Wait, my lady,” Nora cried. “’Tis not safe. Come back!”
The driver’s voice echoed through the mist. “You’ll lose your way, my lady. Stop where you are.”
But the warning wasn’t necessary. Victoria could hear Lazarus snuffling the ground someplace nearby. She bit her lip and told herself to be brave, even as her heart pounded.
At the same time Lazarus let out a warning bark, the mist shifted.
Victoria’s hand clamped over her mouth.
A man lay on his side only a few feet in front of her.
She shouted back to the coach. “I’ve found him! I need help.” She dropped to her knees and touched his shoulder. He didn’t move.
She touched his arm and gently shook it. “Sir, are you conscious? Are you injured?” But before she could investigate further, strong arms lifted her and turned her away from the sight. She assumed it was Mr. Smythe, the carriage driver.
“This is not something a lady should see,” the man said.
But as he turned her from the body, she caught a glimpse of the man’s head. She gasped. There was just enough light to see streaks of blood upon one deathly pale cheek.
“We hit him,” she cried. “The coach—” She lifted her head expecting to see the kind eyes of Mr. Smythe and met the warm, brilliant, grey eyes of a stranger. “Who . . . who are you? Who is he? Did we kill him?” She buried her face in her rescuer’s shoulder to rid her mind of the sight.
“It does not appear so, my lady,” he said, his voice low and comforting.
He deposited her inside the coach. Before she could speak, Lazarus bounded in next to her, rocking the vehicle precariously. She patted his head to calm him, and when she looked up at the man again, she saw only icy grey eyes and a rigid jaw line.
About Jillian: I’m Jillian Kent. I’m more than enthusiastic about the release of my first book, Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One that hit the shelves on May 3rd, 2011 and now Book Two of the series titled Chameleon debuts on May 15th 2012. I’ve been writing for years and it’s incredible to see my dreams coming true. I’m also a full-time counselor for nursing students and have a masters degree in social work. I’m fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work. Because I work in contemporary society I thought it would be fun and interesting to explore what might have happened in a lunatic asylum in Regency England. I hope you will escape into the past with me and I pray you will a bit of faith for the future along the way. I think you’ll enjoy the journey.
In August of 2011 I started a column for the Christian Fiction Online Magazine. This is a column titled The Well Writer and the topic is a passion of mine. I want to help those of us who write to remember that we need to take care of ourselves. I have a team of other writers that contribute but in February you’ll be able to read the column I wrote for the month called, Heart Rhythms. I hope you’ll check it out and tell your friends about it. Learn more at: http://jilliankent.com , http://jilliankent.blogspot.com/ , http://justthewritecharisma.blogspot.com/ or, http://www.christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/.
About the book – Secrets of the Heart: Madeline Whittington, daughter of the deceased Earl of Richfield, emerges from English society’s prescribed period of mourning in the winter of 1817.
Madeline believes that she no longer belongs in a world of gossip and gowns after experiencing multiple losses. When she rescues a runaway from Ashcroft Insane Asylum, her life will be forever changed as she discovers the dark secrets within the asylum walls. Because of his elder brother’s unexpected death, Devlin Greyson becomes Earl of Ravensmoore and struggles between two worlds: one of affluence and privilege and one of poverty and disease.
Torn between his desire to become a doctor and the numerous responsibilities of his title, he wrestles with God’s calling for his future.Will he be able to honor this God-given gift and win the woman he falls in love with in a society that does not value gentlemen who work? And will Lady Madeline be able to honor her father’s memory when she is attracted to the man she holds responsible for her father’s death?
Come back Feb 1 for the story of Jillian’s wedding.