Today’s author guest is M. C. Bunn to chat with me about her new Victorian romance, Where Your Treasure Is.
During her virtual book tour, M. C. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
M. C. Bunn is a writer of Victorian romance and historical romance novels, a singer (in the indie rock band Mister Felix), and a songwriter. She holds an English degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from North Carolina State University.
“I’ve always loved writing. It’s a joy to do what makes me happy and to share it.
“My father was a great story-teller. He read to us at the dinner table and passed on his love of history. He’d haul me out of bed in the middle of the night if there was a great old movie on the late show, and family trips always included visits to historic sites. His father was born in 1888, and I have Granddaddy’s letters to his bride-to-be in my dresser. I’m working on the story of Daddy’s first ancestor in America. It’s set in Jamestown, 1690. My mother’s grandmother was placed in an orphanage after the Civil War because her father died on the way home, so I always felt that connection to and had a curiosity about the past. Both of my parents read to me before I could walk. Daddy gave me Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama put the dictionary in my hands and let me watch I, Claudius and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She told me I’d be a writer one day.”
Acting was another girlhood passion. “I wanted to play all the characters in the books I’d read, or in the stories I made up, like Dickens and Louisa May Alcott did. I also wanted to be an archaeologist because we knew one who worked on digs in Israel. There was never a time when I wasn’t making up a story, and it was always set ‘a long time ago.’ What I really wished for was the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I could fly back in time and see what it was actually like for women in Victorian and Edwardian England.”
When she’s not writing, she loves reading long old books. “I love Anthony Trollope’s series, and Anna Karenina. Of more recent vintage, I really enjoyed The Forsyte Saga and The Raj Quartet.”
Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down and read. To feed her soul, she takes a walk or makes music with friends. “I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their dog. Where Your Treasure Is is her first published novel.
Please tell us about your current release.
Treasure is the love story of Winifred de la Coeur, a spinster-heiress and Court Furor, a down-on-his-luck prizefighter. They’re thrown together the morning Winifred withdraws her mother’s diamond necklace from the Royal Empire Bank while Court is parked in the alley behind it as the getaway driver for his friends who are breaking into one of the bank’s offices to collect a card debt. Sparks literally fly! There are a lot of plot twists, characters, and action – and of course, romance.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved the Victorian era. Old London and Dickens, gaslight and fog, the fabulous clothes and horse-drawn vehicles. I grew up with the original Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery series. Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett and The Pallisers adaptations were not only influential for their characters and plot twists but their visual wealth and accuracy. As for Treasure, I love an impossible romance but also wanted Winifred and Court’s story to move beyond their feelings for each other and show how their love could impact the lives of their family and friends.
Excerpt from Where Your Treasure Is:
To Virgins, to Make Much of Time
With a howl, the man flung the wash jug against the wall. Winifred stopped crying. A mess of cheap, broken china scattered the floor. Water dribbled down the wall. The man clutched the washstand, his head bowed. “I wanted to wear you out, so’s I could get some rest. You’re so pig-’eaded! I wasn’t goin’ to ’urt you. Couldn’t you see that?”
“No,” she answered in a small voice. “You’re too rough.”
The man nodded and offered a rag from the basin. She shook her head. “I don’t mean to be. I likes softness. I wants it, but it’s roughness I’m used to.”
Winifred considered what “softness” might mean to him. “Well, it’s not the way I’m used to being treated.”
Court heard the quiet defiance and liked her for it. She refused to be broken. He felt in his pocket for his neckerchief and dipped it in the basin. “Your face, let me see what I done.”
“No, don’t!” Her voice wavered.
Court knelt, holding out both his hands. He edged forward very slowly, coming at her from the side. She pressed as far back as possible into the corner and lifted her chin, grimacing and eyeing him with equal caution. Suddenly, he had her. “Let me see,” he said in his low, gruff voice.
“Oh, that stings!” Wincing, she tried to push away his hand. He ignored this. His touch was assured, his tone dry and matter-of-fact…Winifred drew the other blanket around her and huddled inside her cloak. Long minutes passed.
How strange that out of that human tide, this one soul and hers had been swept together. She took off her cloak and tapped his arm.
Court sat up. “What? ’Ere, don’t cry! Geoff won’t be back for ages.”
She wiped her cheeks and held out her cloak. “I’m not! It’s the cold. Here, take half.”
Court was surprised, not to mention grateful. He felt in his pocket for his neckerchief. “You’re not afraid o’ much, are you? Too spoiled or too stupid, I’ll be bound. Not many could’ve stood up to Geoff in that alley. And you gave me ’ell!” He smiled and touched the tip of her nose with the wet cloth, and she gave the smallest smile in return. “There now, that’s better.”
The woman raised her eyes. “You’re not going to let me go, are you?” she whispered.
Court dabbed gently at the bright welt. He almost wished he had never seen those eyes—almost, but not quite. “I can’t.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
The second book in the series, Time’s Promise, brings back characters from Treasure and follows the next generation into World War I. The hero Edward is in love with a young woman he can’t marry for legal reasons, and his best friend Tarquin’s family responsibilities bar that young man’s own road to fulfillment. Both of their attempts to find happiness are baffled by their immaturity and the war. The fact that the women they love have minds of their own is a further shock. These young people are at the age when understanding who they are and finding the right person to love and a meaningful career are so important. All of them struggle to remain hopeful in a world they’re not sure will exist as they know it for much longer.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
By the time I was twelve, my mother had given me a red college-ruled notebook where I could write down my thoughts, and I kept journals and drawing pads full of ideas; so, it was probably long before that.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For the past several years, I’ve more or less worked at this full-time. I say more or less, because life happens. Even when I was teaching, mornings (very early mornings then) were for research and afternoons were for writing. That’s still my schedule.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Walking—my dog sits next to me, or on me, while I work. He’s good at knowing when I need to go out and re-order my thoughts. So often I’m on my feet when the best writing happens. My dog is my personal trainer!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An archaeologist, an actor, a pop star, preferably all at the same time—and in full Victorian costume.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
It’s all about love and hope. Though my characters find themselves in terrible situations, their stories are about how love—all sorts of love—keeps people going even when hope seems lost.
Thanks for being here today!