This week, I’m happy to welcome author Patricia Kiyono to the blog with her newly-released Regency Christmas novella Two Tutor Doves, a sequel to The Partridge and the Peartree. Patricia is an interesting lady with many hobbies, and I always enjoy her weekly blog posts on Four Foxes, One Hound.
First, let’s see the gorgeously delicate cover and the blurb . . .
Robert Townley prides himself as an efficient and indispensible valet to Phillip, Duke of Bartlett. But when Robert is coerced into teaching the poor children at the duchess’ chapel school, he’s out of his element. Thankfully, he has assistance from some of the other servants, including the prickly Miss Brown.
Jeanne Brown is lady’s maid to the Duchess of Bartlett. She loves working with the children but can’t abide Robert’s lofty attitude toward them. She’d love to put him in his place — but she needs her job.
When the duchess decides to hold the school’s Christmas party in her home, Robert and Jeanne must put aside their differences and work together to ensure that the holiday celebration goes off without a hitch. Will they be able to endure the partnership, or will their sparks ignite something more?
And before I chat to Patricia, here’s an excerpt to tempt you . . .
Robert found one of the footmen and sent him out to rent a carriage for the duke. Then he went upstairs to put his master’s dressing room in order. He found comfort in the routine of his duties. Cleaning the duke’s brushes, putting away his bedclothes, assuring the maids had cleaned the room properly; those were things he could control. When he’d appointed himself the duke’s unofficial bodyguard, following and protecting him from dangers, even facing ruffians in the street — that hadn’t fazed Robert.
But a dozen street urchins in the house scared him witless. Why was it he could face a dangerous adult, but had trouble dealing with children?
Because those children have nothing to lose. They’re fighting for their lives, because they need what I have more than I do.
The children in the church school had never given him any reason to fear them. They’d behaved themselves, other than the way they gobbled their treats. They sat quietly in their seats, listened to instruction, and did as they were told. Even the parents who stayed to listen — and presumably learned along with their children — had treated him with nothing but respect. So why did he need a glass or two of port before going to the lessons just to fortify himself?
He knew the answer, but refused to dwell on it. What had happened was in the past, and it did no good to dwell on it.
Welcome to the blog, Patricia! Two Tutor Doves sounds like a lovely Christmas novella. Could you tell us a little about the place and time setting?
Two Tutor Doves takes place in London at Christmas time, 1814. That’s not mentioned in the story, but it’s the date I had in mind. This story is the sequel to The Partridge and the Peartree, which happens two years earlier. I’m not sure why, but I thought it might be fun to focus some attention on the downstairs inhabitants of the duke’s household.
That sounds like a great idea. Why ignore the underlings?! What would you say is your heroine Jeanne’s most admirable quality?
I like the way that Jeanne accepts what life has handed her and deals with it gracefully. She has a wealthy grandfather who has disowned the family, her parents have died and her younger brother disappeared. She is content with her position as lady’s maid, knowing that her options as a single woman are limited.
And your hero Robert’s?
Robert is quite stuffy at the beginning, but he’s not above admitting when he’s wrong. He’s the one who makes the greatest changes in outlook.
I presume you’ve drawn from your experience of teaching when writing this story?
I never thought about it, but I suppose I did, especially the way Jeanne teaches the younger children to form their letters. As for the horn books and how students used them, I found that information from various online sources.
Will there be another in the series? Have you started your next story and could you tell us a little about it?
I started working on a third story, tentatively titled Three French Inns. It’s about Jeanne’s long-lost brother, and a young lady he meets at an inn in France. Other than this, the details are still fuzzy! Four Calling Bards will be about SOMEONE in the Peartree household – I haven’t decided yet.
You’ve written quite a number of books. Tell me, where do you do your writing?
At the kitchen table. There doesn’t seem to be enough light anywhere else in the house! My husband goes to bed right after supper, so I have the house to myself. I’ll pour myself a cup of tea and get to work – as long as I don’t have orchestra rehearsal or another commitment.
You have so many hobbies and interests alongside your writing. Tell me the secret – how on earth do you do it all?
Honestly, I get things done when I schedule them in. My scrapbooking club meets once a month (although I’ll join in on scrapbook weekends with friends from time to time). My quilting group meets twice a month on Tuesday mornings, and another sewing group meets on the other Tuesdays. The three music organizations I participate in meet weekly. And the woman who designs the lovely greeting cards I make holds a monthly gathering when we make them. She also hosts weekly meetings, but I’m only able to do that during the summer.
As far as writing, that has to be scheduled, too. I try to join weekly writing sprints online as well as twice-weekly sprints scheduled by one of my writing groups. I’m also spurred on by challenges. Two short stories were written because of call-outs, either from a publisher (like Clean Read’s call-out for Valentine stories last year, resulting in “Operation Rhombus”) or from a group of authors (like the fall anthology put together by a group of sweet romance authors, resulting in “Autumn Vows”). In addition, my local writing group hosts a Winter Nano (much like the National Novel Writing Month that takes place in November, only we do it in February) and the university where I teach hosts faculty write-ins several times a year – they supply the snacks and coffee/tea and we sit down for several hours of uninterrupted writing time! So as long as I commit to a dedicated time to do one thing, I get it done.
I should probably mention that my children are grown and on their own, with good jobs. My mother is still relatively healthy and independent. And my hubby is a wonderful cook who got bored after his retirement and not only took over the kitchen duties, but the laundry and the shopping as well.
Gosh, you’re a busy lady (with a helpful husband!) I feel exhausted just reading about it – but how wonderful to have so many interests and friendship groups. Thank you so much for visiting, Patricia – it’s been lovely getting to know you better 🙂
Two Tutor Doves is available at these links:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.
You can find Patricia at these links: