Today I’m interviewing historical romance writer Kit Marlowe and I’ll make it easy by asking her to respond to James Lipton’s famous questions. At the end, we’ll have a taste of her novella The Big Splash, now available from Noble Romance. It’s a wild tale of Jazz Age London’s bright young things. Without further ado, let’s turn things over to Kit:
What is your favorite word?
Oooh, that’s a hard one, but I’d have to go with sesquipedalian. Mostly because to use it is to explain it, as it means “given to using long words”, which is kind of wonderful. Even more wonderful: I learned it from the Muppet Show!
What is your least favorite word?
Administrative: I was going to say “no” but truly I hate paperwork, I hate rules, I hate regular hours and administrative means that to me.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Intelligence and a sense of humour: one without the other doesn’t really interest me. But the two together always intrigue me.
What turns you off?
Small minds, closed minds. Smugness and arrogance. Small spirits. Negativity. Complaints.
What is your favorite curse word?
O’Landy. Just kidding. It’s really the f-word, but this is a PG-13 rated site, I’m told. But I do like antiquated swearing: I use a lot of period slang and cant, so I enjoy having characters who explode with “‘pon rep!” or “Fiend seize it!”
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of the kantele, the Finnish lap harp. It has a beautiful, bell-like sound. Very soothing.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The buzzing of fluorescent tubes that are dying really annoys me. Any kind of repetitive harsh sound grates on me: hammering or drilling outside my office makes me crazy.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Does millionaire count? I almost worked for the State Deparment, which I can’t really imagine now (or, I suppose, then really or I would have done it). Sometimes I think it would have been interesting to work in advertising, but I would probably have hated it. I never really wanted to be anything but a writer, I just knew I was unlikely to make a living at it.
What profession would you not like to do?
Almost all of them: anything that kept me in an office during set hours — that’s what I used to do and I hated the routine of it, the endless pushing of paper. I don’t like repetitive tasks, I can’t bear having one day the same as the next. I crave change.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
My goodness, what a brilliant career you’ve had!
And now, here’s a taste of The Big Splash. The charming young heiress, Constance Wynn Hare, started her day with a panic: her lady’s maid had quit in a huff, leaving her stranded an hour before she was due to lunch with her gentleman friend. She’s been rescued in the nick of time by the amazing Collier, a veritable angel of efficiency, and can’t wait to share the good news with Mr Wood. He, however, has other things in mind:
It would have been quite impossible for Constance to account for such a thing, but about forty-five minutes later, she slipped into the table next to Mr. Wood at the Lorne Acorn. “Darling, what a day I’ve had!”
“How late you are, Constance,” Mr. Wood drawled every word, exerting as always as little effort as possible to make conversation, though his dark eyes caressed her form.
“I would have been much later had salvation not appeared this afternoon,” Constance said, perusing the menu with an eager gaze. “You’ll never guess what happened! How many martinis have you had?”
“Only two,” Mr. Wood said, leaning toward Constance to rest his rather large hand upon her thigh.
Constance hid a smile. “Do be a dear and order me one immediately. I think I ought to have some kind of beef for lunch. Meat will bring me back down to earth after my extraordinary good luck. I am quite giddy!”
Mr. Wood nodded to the waiter who whisked himself off to accomplish this task. Her companion’s fingers slipped across the ruffled length of her skirt to hook under its edge and begin drawing the fabric back to expose her stocking.
“Need I remind you that we are under the bright glare of luncheon lights, Mr. Wood?” Constance spoke severely even as the familiar tingle of desire warmed her thighs.
“I don’t know what you mean, Constance,” Mr. Wood said with a nearly believable tone of innocence. “Why don’t you order the brisket? I have enjoyed it many times.” Why did nearly every thing he said seem aimed to raise a blush? Or could it be merely his hand on her leg?
Constance closed her eyes to enjoy the sly touch of his fingertips along the top of her stocking and sighed happily. To think only this morning her life had been in disarray. Now everything had gone back to normal—well, as normal as her days ever got.
“Your drink, miss.” The waiter set the delicate stemmed glass before her.
“Very good,” Constance said with a sunny smile, picking up the beverage. “I shall have the brisket.” With practiced ease, she threw back the martini, which struck her throat with a cool thrill then warmed the path to her stomach. “And another martini,” she added. The waiter smiled, took her glass, and backed away in silence.
“You’re lucky they have long tablecloths here,” Constance scolded quietly. Mr. Wood said nothing but leaned in to kiss her cheek sweetly even as his hand slipped deeply between her thighs, his pinkie just tickling the silk of her knickers as he did so. With an effort, Constance maintained her composure.
“Care for a cigarette?” Mr. Wood asked, a wicked smile curling his lips.
“Not at present,” Constance said. “I feel a trifle warm. Ah, here comes my second martini.” She put the cold glass to her lips and tried to ignore the insistent touch of Mr. Wood. “Don’t you even want to hear my news?”
“No, not especially at present,” Mr. Wood said, wiggling his defiant finger in such a delicious manner that Constance no longer wanted to discuss the changes in her household staff, important though they might be.
“Can we have the brisket to take away?” Constance asked the waiter with a sweet air when he arrived with the steaming plate. Within a few moments, the two were headed out onto the busy street where a cab arrived at once as if aware of their urgency. They made it all the way to her parlor before Mr. Wood dropped the neatly boxed lunch, grabbed Constance, and pulled her into a kiss that was anything but polite.
“My mother does not approve of you,” Constance whispered fiercely when Mr. Wood extricated his tongue long enough for her to do so.
“Your mother can go hang,” Mr. Wood said.