#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : The Second Mrs Thistlewood – Dionne Haynes @DionneHaynes_UK

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –


Today I’m on the ‘The Second Mrs Thistlewood’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

HrteDf_0Dionne is a retired doctor, living in Plymouth with her husband. She has a passion for history, the great outdoors, good food and life in general. With her medical career now well behind her, she is enjoying a second career as an author.
In 2015, Dionne finished writing her first novel The Provenance of Lilly, but after careful reflection and consideration of some harsh criticism, she decided not to put it into print. Instead, she worked hard at honing her writing skills, and published her debut novel, Running With The Wind, in 2019. She is currently working on a sequel which will form Book One of The Trelawney Wives series.
Dionne graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992, and started her medical career in the Royal Air Force. In 1998, she left the military to have her son, and worked in General Practice and Occupational Medicine. The opportunity to retire came in 2014 and Dionne did not hesitate to take it, relishing the opportunity to delve into history books and begin her writing career. Although no longer practising medicine, her medical background has some influence in the plotting of her stories.
While keen to maintain historical accuracy in her writing, Dionne creates stories from real events with sparse recorded details, allowing her imagination to take over and tell a tale of what may have occurred.

Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page

Synopsis :

7dpTw7hIRegency England. A land of oppression and social discontent.
Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.
Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.
But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?
Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :


First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I really enjoyed making up stories when my son was a toddler (he’s 21 now!), but in those days life was hectic and I had neither the commitment nor time to write any of them down. As the years passed, I started dabbling with writing children’s stories but never felt they were worthy of publishing. My ambition to write novels for adults then surfaced, and that yearning intensified. Six years ago, I wasn’t happy in my job so when my husband suggested trading my medical career for a new career in writing, I wrote my resignation letter there and then.
It was a long steep climb from that point. My first attempt at a novel was reasonable, but not publishable, so I invested time and money in a writing course which was a good decision! Since then, my creativity has been unleashed and I can’t keep up with my ideas for stories.
Most of my working life was as a doctor. I served in the Royal Air Force, continued in General Practice after that, but later moved into occupational medicine and related roles. Although I fell out of love with my medical career, my medical background often influences a plotline or scene.
In my spare time, I love being outdoors. My husband and I enjoy visiting historic sites and exploring the coast and countryside. I have a habit of stopping suddenly and frequently to take photos, especially of butterflies and flowers. Other interests include attending theatre shows and sports events.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child, I loved the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series. I read every one of them and still have the complete collection stored in my loft in a battered old suitcase! As a teenager, I devoured all of the Winston Graham Poldark books and EV Thompson’s historical fiction. I also loved the classics and read a number of Dickens novels, Jane Austen and books by the Brontë sisters.
These days I read widely across genres, but my favourite authors are historical fiction writers and include Philippa Gregory, Lucinda Riley and Kate Furnival.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to sit down with Lucinda Riley and learn about her plotting techniques – especially for The Seven Sisters series which spans seven books. I’m currently working on the first book in a series and have spent many hours working out how to connect threads through the different novels. It’s a tricky thing to do because sometimes a character takes me in an unexpected direction when I’m writing, and I have to make sure it will work with subsequent books in the series.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I do like to work in a quiet room and without interruptions – unless it’s someone bringing a cup of tea! I often spend 3-4 hours at a time at my desk, absorbed in writing, and I don’t like being pulled away when words are flowing freely. I also like to use a desk diary for planning my working day. My current diary has a page to each day and beautiful nature pictures on every page. The pictures are surprisingly stimulating to keep me working through my lists, so perhaps that has become a ritual, as I already intend to use a similar diary next year.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Most of my ideas are triggered by something I read. The Second Mrs Thistlewood was inspired by a tiny paragraph in a history magazine. I was on a plane and midway between London and Venice when the idea struck! The paragraph referred to the Cato Street Conspiracy, a plot to murder the British Cabinet ministers and not as well-known as the Gunpowder Plot. Arthur Thistlewood was the leader of the Cato Street Conspiracy, and the short article made a passing reference to his wife. That set me thinking about a scenario where his wife convinced her violent husband of her support for his murderous intentions, but her true feelings were quite the opposite.
Sometimes I use traits that I’ve observed in family and friends to bring the characters to life, but no one need worry. At least, not yet!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a plotter. I need to know where I’m going with a story. It’s easier to write a planned chapter, but sometimes a character will take an alternative route to the one I had planned.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
How about these?
Do follow a dream or ambition to write.
Don’t be put off by the scepticism and negativity of others. It’s a wonderful feeling watching a blank screen or sheet of paper fill with words.
Don’t expect to publish your first attempt at a novel. It takes a long time and a lot of words to find your own style, voice and genre, not to mention something other readers will enjoy.
Do be prepared to commit time. My first novel took two years and was not published. My second took eighteen months to research and write, then it was edited, rewritten and published. Of course, not everyone wants to publish – some authors like to write for the sheer pleasure of the experience – but if you do intend to publish, it can be costly both in time and money. When you hold your own book in your hands, every minute invested is repaid with indescribable joy!

What are your future plans as an author?
I plan to have another book out towards the end of the year. It’s set in the early seventeenth century and is the first of a series, bit also works as a sequel to my debut novel Running With The Wind. The second of the series will be released next year, and hopefully the third too. I also have a novel set in the Tudor era which needs a little more work but may be ready for release in 2021.
And there are plenty of book ideas to follow those…

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Ooh, I like that question! I’d invite Alinor from Philippa Gregory’s Tidelands. Alinor is a peasant woman, abandoned by her husband to raise two children. She’s a strong, determined woman and a midwife with a knowledge of herbal remedies, but as was common for the time (1648), there were whispers that she was using witchcraft. I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been and would love to speak to her about the shift in attitudes of the local women from wanting her to deliver their babies to demanding she be ducked in a river and tried for use of sorcery. I would also like to delve deeper into what motivated her to strive so hard to make ends meet and listen to her talk about when she fell in love with a man who was considered out of her reach.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Here’s a section you can use. To set the scene, Arthur Thistlewood is growing increasingly violent towards his wife, Susan. Susan wants to leave the marriage but in Regency England, divorce was rare and difficult to achieve. She’s determined to find a way to leave him, but fears the consequences for her stepson. The extract begins with Arthur speaking to his son:

‘I hope to have splendid news for you within the next few days.’
‘What news, sir?’ asks Julian, eyes bright with expectation.
‘Thanks to a worthy contact or two, I expect confirmation of a place at Charterhouse.’
‘What’s Charterhouse?’
‘A school. It’s time you had a decent education. Your stepmother has performed well, but her breadth of knowledge is limited.’
I clamp my lips together and work hard to keep my expression impassive.
‘If things were different, I’d oversee your lessons, but I’m occupied with affairs of my own and cannot commit the time required for a proper schoolroom, therefore you must go away to learn.’
Julian’s face drops.
I place the tip of my index finger beneath his chin and force him to look at me. I want him to understand this change will be good for him. ‘Charterhouse has an excellent reputation.’
Although we’ve heard tales of bullying at such institutions, Julian will fare better there, for neither of us is without bruises these days.
Arthur is oblivious to Julian’s disappointment. ‘I see a glorious future for you, son. I hope you’ll continue your studies at Oxford or Cambridge before embarking on a career that will improve the lives of our fellow countrymen.’
‘What type of career, sir?’ Julian asks, his voice cracking.
‘Perhaps law, or politics?’
Julian hangs his head. ‘I had hopes for an office apprenticeship. I’m competent with numbers and my handwriting is tidy.’
‘You want to sit at a desk all day, hunched over a page of numbers? Has your stepmother turned you soft?’
Arthur pounds his clenched fist against the solid oak table top, causing us both to jump. I study scars left in the wood by the previous occupants of this house. There are deep gouges and black scorch marks, and I wonder if they appeared during happy family gatherings or volatile confrontations.
Julian clears his throat. ‘Just a passing thought, sir. We must all do our bit to help those who are less fortunate and a career in politics would achieve that. My stepmother has often said I should use my knowledge for the greater good.’
The boy is a wonder. For several years, we have supported each other against Arthur’s volatile moods. My heart will fracture when he goes away to school. But with Julian absent from the house, it will be easier to leave Arthur and not worry about the repercussions for my stepson.
‘Thank you for securing this opportunity, sir. I promise to work hard at my studies and make you proud.’
Arthur’s eyes are alight with pride and Julian forces a smile.
Arthur excuses himself from the table. Julian waits for creaking sounds to announce Arthur’s ascent of the stairs. He rises from his chair and hesitates long enough for me to see tears in his eyes, then hurls himself at me and clings tightly.
‘Will you be safe here without me?’ he says.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Dionne Haynes.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds




P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

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