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11.19.2011

Marian's Christmas Wish Virtual Tour is Here!

         
Marian's Christmas Wish
 By Carla Kelly
Sixteen year old Marian Wynswich means to enjoy this Christmas as last year's had been one of mourning her father’s death. But her plans are soon undone when her mother, Lady Wynswich determines that Ariadne should marry soon and well to save the family from financial ruin! But Ariadne is in love with the local vicar Sam Beddoe who is poor. Marian is determined to save her sister from the fate of a love-less marriage!
When her brother Alastair is sent home from Eton in disgrace, Marian is determined to smooth the way for him. Marian hides Alastair in the second best guest room with a pregnant cat until she can explain Alastair’s situation to her oldest brother Percy. But Percy doesn’t arrive home until well after midnight and brings two guests instead of one! Marian’s secret is quickly discovered when Sir William (who is Ariadne's suitor) runs shrieking from the guest room and faints! Lord Ingraham finds the entire situation amusing and helps Marian remove the mother cat and kittens from the guest room.
When the time comes to make the traditional wish upon the Christmas pudding, Marian’s wish is for Lord Ingraham to have the best Christmas ever! What ensues is one hair-brained scheme after another.
Mariam is continually annoying Sir William with her comments and her appetite. It is only through Lord Ingraham’s assistance that she doesn’t find herself in trouble with Percy. Then Gilbert (Lord Ingraham) determines to grant Marian’s wish to save Ariadne from marriage to Sir William. Gilbert has Percy, Ariadne, Lady Wynswich summoned by the family’s solicitor and with Alastair’s help scares Sir William. The pair manages to convince Sir William that madness runs in the family so he promptly leaves the house! But as Sir William leaves he passes Percy and mentions something about the family’s “mad uncle”
Percy is beside himself, as is Lady Wynswich, when Sam Beddoe bursts into the room declaring his love for Ariadne. That night as the family celebrates the engagement of Ariadne and Sam, Marian tells Alastair that she wishes Gilbert would go home for Christmas. Alastair is determined to fulfill Marian’s wish so he drugs Gilbert!
The next morning with the family again visiting their solicitor, Alastair awakens Marian telling her what he has done. The two rush into Lord Ingraham's room where he is still alive but unconscious of his surroundings. So Marian and Alastair borrow money and load Sir Ingraham into the Mail Coach to Bath. But a snow storm waylays them so that they must spend the night beneath the stairs of an inn.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, Lord Ingraham is recovered and determines that the three of them can walk the 10 miles to Bath. The three-some arrive in Bath in time to go to the Christmas Eve service, which Lord Ingraham insists they all do.
Alastair and Marian spend Christmas with Lord Ingraham and his family. Gilbert’s sister and brother-in-law manage to make Marian feel like she and her brother are nothing and have no accomplishments to speak of. That night Gilbert challenges Marian to a chess match, which Marian vows to win. To the horror of his family they make a wager on it. If Marian wins she will get a rare book; if it is Gilbert he will get a kiss under the mistletoe! The match goes on for so long, everyone goes to bed before Marian wins. Gilbert asks for a consolation kiss and Marian agrees.
Gilbert then has to go to London and during his Marian realizes that she has fallen in love. But before she can act on her feelings Lady Ingraham tells her that Gilbert is engaged to Lady Amanda Calne! The engagement is expected to be announced at the New Year's Party Marian is helping Gilbert's mother arrange.
But all is not as it appears. Somehow Marian and Alastair have become entangled with spies and their very lives are endangered.
When Lord Ingraham tells Marian what she was longing to hear, will she say yes or will she deny her heart to keep it safe?
But when word reaches Lord Ingraham that Marian and Alastair were attacked by French sympathizers, he rushes to their home. He is determined to marry Marian and to help secure her “yes” Marian’s family aids Gilbert in his quest.
Overall Marian’s Christmas Wish is a delightfully lighthearted story. If you combine Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett and Molly Gibson of Wives and Daughter with a quick wit and a pinch of mirth and mischief and you would end up Marian Wynswich – an endearing heroine. Find a quiet spot with a cup of tea and settle in for a good weekend read!
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
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Hi Carla.     First off I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview and to let you know how much I enjoyed reading Marian’s Christmas Wish. I really felt for Marian and some of the situations she and Alastair found themselves in were truly unbelievable!
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? - It was one of those things that came on gradually, I suppose. I have always loved to read, and in my mind, writing seemed naturally to follow. But no, I never dreamed about becoming a writer, mainly because I'm lazy and it's a hard thing to do. Seriously, my first interest was history, and remains so. I have a BA in Latin American history, and an MA in American History, with emphasis on the Indian Wars. In high school, I had a heavy dose of excellent journalism, which has paid off in many ways. I taught history and journalism on the university level, worked as a ranger in the National Park Service, worked in PR at a tertiary care medical center and a hospice, served as a contract researcher for the state of ND, was a journalism for a ND daily. And all the time I was doing this I was writing novels, too. I feel restless and out of sorts when I'm not writing something, so on some level, I have to be a writer.
Do you identify with Marian and if so, how? - Marian is a dear thing. She is an amalgam of my three daughters. The edition you're reading now first came out in 1989 with Signet. My daughters were in elem school and high school then. I have always been touched by the way girls on the edge of becoming women will be childish one moment, then grown-up the next. Marian's that way. By the end of the book, she has definitely put off childish things, but she also has a streak of fun that will never leave her. I'm sure Gilbert is delighted. 
Where did you get the name Ariadne from? I have to admit I've never come across it before and was intrigued by its origin. Remember your Greek mythology? Ariadne was the winsome lass who fell in love with Theseus. She gave him a sword and a ball of yarn to use to find his way out of the Minotaur's lair. People 200 years ago liked to give their children somewhat pretentious names.
What was your favorite moment in Marian’s Christmas Wish? - I like the part when she's come home after the climax of the story, and everyone is trying to cajole her into seeing Gilbert again. She wants to desperately, but she's a bit proud, and still not certain she wants to hitch her wagon to that particular horse, because she knows what loving Gilbert Collinwood will entail.
Do you have a favorite character? I guess it would be Percy, the oldest brother. He's modeled after my oldest son, who feels a certain responsibility for his younger sibs. Percy's trying so hard to hang onto the family home, and his failure pains him greatly.
Where did Sir William come from? He is just too much especially when he is introduced to the household! Sir William was modeled after a boss at that major medical center that I truly, truly loathed. Bill L. was lazy and stole ideas from everyone. When the administrator finally fired him, there was general rejoicing throughout the hospital. All I did was channel all that ill-will into one silly man. Ridicule is the sincerest form of fun for a powerless employee. Of course, Bill L. never would have suspected that Sir William was "him," had he read the book. People like that generally don't.
Lord Ingraham is interesting and complex is he based on anyone or is he a composite of several people? No, he's a writer's character. During the Napoleonic Wars, a lot of people had to do a lot of things they wouldn't ordinarily have done, to serve king and country. Such was Lord Ingraham. I expanded on this theme of unflinching service in my Channel Fleet series (Marrying the Captain, The Surgeon's Lady, and Marrying the Royal Marine).
If you compared Marian’s Christmas Wish with any other title what would that title be? Not sure what you mean. I rarely - if ever - read romance, so I know I didn't have any influence that way. It's an original, just like Marian herself.
Is Lady Amanda Calne based on any historical figure that you are aware of? Her brother Sir Reginald? No. I just needed some nawsty people.
Did you know before you wrote Marian's Christmas Wish what Lady Wynswick's reaction to Sir William would be after Ariadne was engaged? Or did her backbone surprise you? Oh, I knew. A writer has to know these things. I've noticed that when the chips are down, sometimes otherwise silly/characterless people can rise to the occasion. (Prime example: Oskar Schindler)
How much research did you have to did to write Marian's Christmas Wish or is this a time period you are very familiar with so that it came naturally? The nice thing about writing in the Regency period is that I was able to do my homework - i.e. lots of research, early on, both about the period and in the period- and use that "homework" in book after book. The same held true for the Channel Fleet books. I've written a number of books about the Royal Navy, because I know a lot about it. You should see my reference library.
Is there a question you wish someone would ask you about your writing and never has? Good question. I haven't a clue how to answer it. Maybe it's "What makes writing so hard?" or "What was your favorite writing moment?" - I can answer that one. It was when I got a copy of my first full-length novel (I had written a number of short stories earlier), and held it in my hands, and turned the pages, and knew that every word was mine. Sheesh, what an ego, maybe, but I think writers would understand.
And finally, Carla, are there any plans of turning Marian's Christmas Wish into a movie anytime in the future? Not that I'm aware of. Wouldn't it be fun, though?
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I'm sure your readers are eager to learn more about this delightful Christmas story!
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Want to know more about Carla and her books?  Be sure to check out Carla's Blog and Facebook page at these links
Be sure to post a comment about Marian's Christmas Wish to be entered in the giveaway!  Giveaway ends @ midnight November 24th!  One lucky poster will receive a copy of Marian's Christmas Wish!  North American readers can choose an eBook or the paperback edition; International readers will win an eBook!   Be sure you enter your correct email address if I can't contact you, you can't win.  The winner will have until November 27th to reply or an alternate winner will be selected.