Title: Carols and Chaos
Author: Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: October 9th, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
A lady’s maid and a valet become entangled in a yuletide counterfeiting scheme in this romantic Christmas YA adventure.
1817. The happy chaos of the Yuletide season has descended upon the country estate of Shackleford Park in full force, but lady’s maid Kate Darby barely has the time to notice. Between her household duties, caring for her ailing mother, and saving up money to someday own a dress shop, her hands are quite full. Matt Harlow is also rather busy. He’s performing double-duty, acting as valet for both of the Steeple brothers, two of the estate’s holiday guests.
Falling in love would be a disaster for either of them. But staving off their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when a devious counterfeiting scheme reaches the gates of Shackleford Park, and Kate and Matt are unwittingly swept up in the intrigue. Full of sweetness, charm, and holiday shenanigans, Carols and Chaos is perfect for fans of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey.
1. How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
To me, choosing a name is very important. The character(s) don’t come alive in my head until they have some sort of moniker; female protagonist just doesn’t cut it. It is subjective, of course, influenced by people I have met. It’s more about the way a name sounds than it’s meaning. For example, Valentine means strong in Latin and yet the name conjures up a romantic sort of young man. It’s confusing to the reader even if only in a subliminal way. I try to avoid these muddles.
I have fun with the last names of secondary characters, preferring unusual names such as Beeswanger and Belcher. I have several sources for names, on the Internet, I use - http://surnames.behindthename.com which allows you to choose the origin country, and for first names I use https://www.babycenter.ca/baby-names-finder . My other sources are less definitive, such as place names from a map.
2. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you’re finished before you edit? How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over?
I edit as I go. Each time I sit down to write, I start by editing the previous day’s work. It helps me limber up and get back into the story and into the head of the characters. Then, when the manuscript is complete, I read the book in its entirety, editing and revising as I go. After that, I put it away and, in ideal circumstances, I’ll leave it for two or three weeks. Giving it space helps clear my head and allows me to pick up inconstancies when I look at it again. Finally, after having gone over it four or five times, I send it to my beta readers. Phew!
3. Is there a lot of research to do for the historical aspects of your stories? If so, what are some resources you use?
Research? Yes! Again I say: yes!! One of my favorite aspects about writing in a historical time frame is the research—especially social history. I love learning about everyday aspects that are so very different from our own: horse travel—speeding along at 5 to 10 miles an hour; dealing with cleanliness (or lack of), unusual foods, free flowing dresses (Regency), tight corsets (Victorian), manners and rules of conduct—so ridged and controlling etc. etc. Yes, odd though it might be, I like knowing the mundane details of life and when it comes to history that means research.
Most of my resources are books; I have a wall of books behind my desk—information at my fingertips. My research was a little different for Carols and Chaos as it focuses on the household below stairs. So while I still used: An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray and A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace.
4. Where is your ideal place to write? Do you have an office, or do you like to go sit in a coffee shop/library, etc.?
I have an office in our basement but I can easily write in the living room or at the kitchen table. What I do have, however, is a place that I can’t write: that being anywhere that is noisy and bustling with activity. When I edit, I can listen to music but not during the creative process.
5. Since this is a Jane Austen type of story, what is your favorite Austen book?
I am one of the masses enamored with Pride and Prejudice. I enjoy Elizabeth’s spunky character and her ability to deal with a very imprudent family (thank heaven for Jane). Reserved Mr. Darcy is a perfect foil to all of the Bennet nonsense.
6. Since this is a romantic story, what are your favorite romantic books, movies, tv shows? Do you have an all time favorite romantic couple?
I enjoy Mary Balogh’s books as well as those by Amanda Quick, however, my favorites would not be considered romances, and yet the main characters are wonderful and their relationship is romantically charged throughout their series of twenty-some books. I speak of Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson in the Amelia Peabody Mysteries (my all time favorite couple). As to movies (where do I start) Princess Bride, Stardust, Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, Fifth Element and, of course, the many adaptions of Jane Austen’s books.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.