Hi, I’m Heather Hiestand. I’m 43 and live in south Washington State with my husband and four-year-old son. Both of them keep me on my toes. Technically I’m a full-time writer, which means I mostly get to work when my son is at preschool. I first sold in 2004, a mystery short story, then sold my first novel in 2006. Marquess of Cake is my 9th novel (I think). I’ve written many novellas and shorts too, under two names, Heather Hiestand and Anh Leod.
Marquess of Cake is the first book in a new historical romance series, The Redcakes? Tell us about the series.
My ideas for the series came from two places. A dream I had about an austere, yet charismatic hero, who I dubbed Michael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, and an overindulgence in cake decorating competition shows, which led me to invent a Victorian tea shop/bakery/market called Redcake’s Tea Shop and Emporium. From there it was a matter of fleshing out the hero’s family and the people surrounding my tea shop.
So the series is about the Shield family and the Redcake family?
Exactly. Michael is the eldest of three. He’s twenty-eight, his brother Judah is twenty-five and an army captain serving in India, and Beth is seventeen, planning for her first Season. Their father died two years before the story begins, but their mother is still alive.
Alys Redcake is my heroine. She’s twenty-six, and a career girl. Originally, she was one of five children. The oldest three worked in their father’s factory. The problem is, her father’s businesses became very successful a few years before and now he’s being knighted. Alys has two younger sisters who have been raised far more gently than she was, and they want to find well-born London gentlemen to marry. So Alys’s family has to figure out what to do with her, while she’s holding onto her cake-decorating job at the family bakery as hard as she can.
How would an aristocratic gentleman even meet an ex-factory girl turned cake decorator?
At Redcakes, of course! The marquess is a huge fan of the pastries at this popular London tea shop. But there’s more. His brother, Judah, and Alys’s twin brother, Gawain, know each other from the army.
Of course there is no hope of marriage between these different worlds.
The first book is set in 1886, and the world is changing. Remember Downton Abbey, which is set around the next generation, basically. My characters are about the ages of the parents, you know, the earl who marries the wealthy American? Impoverished aristocrats did look to marry wealthy men’s daughters to bring money into their families at this time.
However, while Alys’s money might make her an acceptable bride, her age, interest in working and lack of refined education make her an unlikely choice. She doesn’t fit into her family’s plans any more than she fits in to the Marquess of Hatbrook’s life. Frankly, her own life plan has been getting confused, now that she’s met the marquess. She’s changed from a woman who never fantasized about kisses to being desperate for them, from one special man. But if she becomes his mistress instead of his wife, that will destroy her sisters’ chances for good marriages. She’s under a lot of pressure from her family to either marry or get out of the way.
So how can these two unsuitable people ever find a way to be together?
When love is present, it will triumph in the end. Read Marquess of Cake to find out!
The Marquess of Cake is the first in the Redcakes series from Kensington. It is a historical romance, set in 1886 London.
Here’s the blurb:
Coffee. . .tea. . .or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection. . .
Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .
With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?
To read about Marquess of Cake go to http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22722 You can purchase there or find all the links to your favorite etailer.
Heather is on a blog tour during the month of July. Check her blog to find out where she is. Many of the blog spots have prizes!