Marie-Louise Jensen’s Next Big Thing

Thank you so much, Che , for inviting me and giving me space on your blog for this!
What is the title of your next book?
Smuggler’s Kiss
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was researching Georgian furniture for my current book The Girl in the Mask and came across an illustration of a huge four poster bed. I’d been writing about arranged marriages and I had the thought “What if a girl had been made to marry a man she really hated? How scared would she be when she saw that bed?” And then I started weaving a story in my mind, as I often do, about a girl who was so frightened that she climbed out of the window and ran away and what might happen to her next.  In the end, I wrote the story rather differently. But that was the starting point in my head.
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction, adventure, romance.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Wouldn’t a movie be nice? In that unlikely scenario, I’d like actors who aren’t well known yet, because I get tired of seeing the same few faces again and again. And it would give some young actors a chance.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Smuggler’s Kiss will be published in March 2013 by Oxford University Press. They are a lovely publishing house and I’m very pleased to be working with them.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Spoiled beauty, 15, runs away and falls in love with everything she thought she despised.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Only about six months once I’d finished all the research. But I did a lot more work on it after that.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Other stories of journeys, real or metaphorical, growing up and issues of right and wrong. For example Ann Turnbull’s Seeking Eden (Walker, published June 2012) and Mary Hooper’s The Disgrace of Kitty Grey (Bloomsbury, publishing May 2013).
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have been looking at our current economic situation, the growing gap between rich and poor and the suffering of the poor. It upsets me and I knew from my previous research of the Georgian era that it was similar then. I wanted to take a rich, spoiled character and throw her in with the poor people she despised and make her confront her prejudices and preconceptions. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I wish I could do it to a few people in real life! Isabelle, my main character, is a good person at heart. She had just learned a set of values I don’t agree with. She thought poor people were lazy, dirty, stupid and dishonest.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s all set in real locations in Purbeck, Dorset. I visited the area in January this year and walked every single smuggling trail in the book so that I could describe them accurately. I wouldn’t have liked to have been carrying kegs of brandy on the way up those cliff paths though!
Marie-Louise Jensen