Wednesday 9 April 2014

Meet My Main Character

I am honoured to have been invited to participate in the Meet My Main Character blog hop by the estimable Debra Brown. Although I blog every day, sharing a glimpse into my fictional world is a big moment for me, so I do hope that you enjoy meeting Georgie Radcliffe, aka Madame Moineau, The Mistress of Blackstairs

If you would like to, you can read a short extract here. This is the first time I have shared even a tiny bit of my fiction with the world at large, so a somewhat fan-fluttering moment for me!

If the tale of a colourful character from the 18th century is more to your taste, do gad across and meet the notorious Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, who was the last man to be publicly beheaded in England.

At the end of this post you'll find links to some wonderful authors who are also joining the hop, do visit them when they publish on 12th April and meet more wonderful characters from the pages of new fiction!

I have always been fascinated by the world of masks and the painting below, The Fair Nun Unmasked by Henry Robert Morland, is what put the original germ of Moineau's character in my head. She has gone through many different iterations since that date but I present the painting here as my initial inspiration for The Mistress of Blackstairs.

The Fair Nun Unmasked by Henry Robert Morland
The Fair Nun Unmasked by Henry Robert Morland

1) What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?
My main and entirely fictional character is known to society as the mysterious Madame Moineau, the keeper of a brothel named Blackstairs.  A former courtesan, she now runs an establishment catering to the finest clients London can offer. This cultured, poised lady of Paris was actually born the daughter of a Yorkshire clerk and was better known in those days by the considerably less exotic moniker of Georgina Radcliffe, or Georgie to her friends. 

2) When and where is the story set?
It is set in London during the chilly autumn and bitter winter of 1785 and takes the reader from the finest salons to the heart of the darkest rookery.

3) What should we know about her?
The world sees the masked and veiled brothel keeper, Madame Moineau, as an impossibly mysterious figure. Whilst some say she hides her identity because she stole a king's ransom or is an exiled queen escaping a vengeful sultan, in reality her elaborate masks conceal the scars deliberately inflicted by Viscount Edmund Polmear, the man she once adored.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
Nearly ten years after he slashed Georgie's face and left her for dead in Paris, Polmear returns to London and his arrival throws Georgie into turmoil as she is forced to confront the horrors of her past. There is a more pleasing conflict for our heroine in the shape of artist, Anthony Lake, who fate throws into her life in the middle of a Covent Garden card game. Always irreverent and utterly unimpressed by her celebrity, the roguish Anthony  is refreshing company even if he does insist on counting cards.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
At the beginning of the novel, Georgie is dedicated only to her business. However, as the story progresses she finally acknowledges that she cannot truly move on until she deals with the legacy left by the years of suffering Polmear inflicted on her in her teens.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title is The Mistress of Blackstairs; you can read a short extract here.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?
I am working very hard to finish the novel, so one day, I promise!

Thank you for visiting; it is my honour to pass the baton to the authors below and they will publish their posts on 12th April:
  1. Anna Atkinson
  2. MM Bennetts
  3. Jen Corkhill Hunt
  4. Jacqui Reiter
  5. Antoine Vanner
  6. Stephenie Woolterton


Debra Brown said...

Oooh la! I love it! She is a mystery in herself, and your writing is lovely. So glad to have met the cryptic Madame Moineau. Thank you.

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you so much; I was rally nervous about posting this and the writing excerpt, I really needed to break through that anxiety and now I have!

Unknown said...

It's fantastic! Much looking forward to the final product!

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you, I am blushing!

Farida Mestek said...

That was very interesting and full of promise of a delicious tale, but poor Madame Moineau! I feel so sorry for her. I wonder if she ever reveals or will reveal her scarred features to anyone... Good luck to you with your novel!

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you so much! Revealing her face is something Moineau certainly believes she would *never* do but as she will find, one can never say never!

Unknown said...

Please keep us informed! It sounds fascinating.

Catherine Curzon said...

I will, thank you!

Unknown said...

I so enjoyed the twist of a woman masked--in the tradition of Phantom of the Opera it is invariably a man--and thus you have my attention. Look forward to the grand finale.

Catherine Curzon said...

It's funny how one painting or something similar can prove such an inspiration!

Blue said...

I'm ready to buy a copy.

Catherine Curzon said...

You are too kind!

Gem Twitcher said...

More,more,more Madame!!!

Catherine Curzon said...

I might well, sir!

Barbara Monajem said...

Very enjoyable -- I want to know what happens next!!

Catherine Curzon said...

I will share a little more in time, now I have broken my anxiety of sharing *any*!

Jess @ Jessticulates said...

This sounds like a fantastic story - I'll definitely be picking up a copy when it's published! ;)

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you so much!

Green Dragon said...

Sounds fascinating!

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you!