in the book Virtue’s Lady.
About the Book
Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.
being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home
only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her
to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think
about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.
Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving
on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter
he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and
improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his
dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire,
he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing
for the impossible.
turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just
how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing
feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set
aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for
herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life
if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to
her than meets the eye.
Introducing Mark Virtue
any unique features such as dimples, freckles, or scars: Mark is on the tall
side with the muscular build of a man in his profession. He’s blond but tan
from working outside much of the time. His nose has been broken a few times, he
has dimples you’ll see if you’re very lucky, and scars around his wrists and
his ankles from the couple of times he was in prison.
other in your character’s life?
daughter of the Earl of Hereford. She’s nineteen, gorgeous, and more than a
little bit mad. He meets her for the first time in Tyburn, but Virtue’s Lady is
housekeeper and a stable hand, and grew up in the Earl of Somerton’s household
until he started his apprenticeship at a carpenter’s Southwark. He completed it
and took over the business. Unfortunately for him, the Great Fire of London
happened in 1666. People no longer wanted wooden houses, so carpenters were out
of work by the hundreds. Mark started robbing coaches as a highwayman at this
point, putting his apprentices to work building coffins to smuggle their
takings out of the city for sale. By the beginning of Virtue’s Lady, Mark has
given up highway robbery and is trying to build an honest life for himself as a
carpenter in Southwark, one of the poorest slums outside of London. He loves
his town and tries to look after his neighbors, but his life and his livelihood
are threatened when Lady Jane comes back into his life. He’s crazy about her,
but not crazy enough to believe an heiress would ever want to live in
and wool work clothes to anything else. He has a long coat with deep pockets,
tall leather boots, and a tricorn hat. He doesn’t put a lot of stock in
appearances, and he’s very active, so he likes to be comfortable.
this character’s voice (but not see him) what characteristic would identify
as Cockney today. He swears often, he’s funny and blunt, and you can hear the
hint of a smile in his voice if you’re listening carefully.
household and had lessons with his half-brother, Nick, the earl’s son, until he
started his apprenticeship. He can read and write, he’s good with numbers, and
he’s an excellent carpenter.
comfortably, live extravagantly?
to be comfortable. He has a rickety old house he’s trying to renovate, and
enough money from his days as a highwayman to supplement his income as a
carpenter. He’s careful with his money and indifferent to luxuries, but he
always keeps his kitchen well-stocked with coffee. He’s not wealthy, by any
means, but he’s happy with what he has.
does your character rely?
and women love him. His popularity with women has gotten him out of–and
into–some very bad situations. He’s also very well-connected. He knows a lot
of very useful people from his time in prison and living within the criminal
underworld. Some of them, such as the executioner Jack Ketch, still owe him
does your character always carry (in pockets or purse)?
hard), and he wears his late father’s signet ring on his right forefinger.
long dead, and his half-brother, Nick, is his only surviving close relative.
He’s very close to the family he has and the people he considers himself
responsible for, such as his apprentices, Jack and Harry (who is also his
cousin), and his business partner, Will. He also adores Nick’s wife, Sally.
involved in his community?
very seriously. His neighbors are among the poorest people around London, and
he does what he can to help them. He tries to find work for other carpenters in
need, repairs homes and builds coffins, often at a loss to himself. He wants to
build a school for the town, too, and takes it upon himself to try to find the
money to do it. He tries to look after them, and they love him for it.
morality as black-and-white, or with shades of gray?
necessarily agree with the law (hanging someone for stealing a few pennies is
ridiculous), but he has a very strict moral code of his own. He’ll steal from
the very wealthy, but he won’t hurt them. On the other hand, if someone
threatens someone he cares about, he has no problem hurting them whatsoever. He
is fiercely loyal and honest to a fault, and never takes more than he needs. He
puts what he can back into his community to help the poor directly.
biggest personal flaw?
life to know better. He questions motives and sees things through a very
cynical filter. He also has a very strong aversion to the wealthy (girls in
particular) because of a trauma from his past.
About Your Writer
writer chose to write about you?
kept showing up, stealing scenes until I won her over. Before long, I was all
she could think about. I have that effect on women. Jess was different, though.
She didn’t didn’t just want to write ballads to my biceps–that has actually
happened, don’t ask–she wanted to know what I was thinking about, and what
made me the way I am. Not a lot to it, I told her, but she kept digging until
she found the things I didn’t want anyone to know about. She didn’t tell Jane,
to be fair, but it wasn’t easy having to go through all of that again.
writer had not told others about you?
I’m good at that make girls like me as much as they do. Anything that happened
in Newgate. There are some things people don’t need to know about. I wish she’d
have left out some of the more, erm, intimate details about me and Jane. I’m
the only one who gets to look at her now, and I don’t need all and sundry
picturing her without her clothes on. Christ wept, that’s my wife!
from your book do you think your writer should write a book about, and why?
walking around in his brain. He thinks he knows everything, but Jess’ll put him
through the ringer, make no mistake. Jack, too. He’s a good lad and he deserves
to be happy, but he’ll never figure out Alice fancies him on his own. He’s
clever for a boy his age, but he doesn’t understand a thing about girls.
writer loves to write?
the day, telling her what we want, what we think, what we’re afraid of. We
couldn’t help it since we figured out someone was listening. If she didn’t put
pen to paper, we’d just be voices and she’d be dragged off to Bedlam.
like to say to your writer?
things buried. You know the ones I’m talking about. For a romantic hero, you
could have made me look more heroic. I got the girl and you know I love her,
but did you have to make things so bloody difficult? Jane didn’t have to be an
earl’s daughter. If she were in actress in truth, I’d have dragged her off
months before and nobody would have gotten shot! You knew how I feel about rich
birds, and still you went and found me the only one I had to have. You have a
curious sense of humor, Madam. Having said that, you let me do what I was going
to do anyway, and you didn’t try to change me into something I’m not,
Buy This Book
Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina.
Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she
earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles
and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her
very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after
with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.