Daisy Abbott is an author as eccentric as she is successful. She's also used to a certain rhythm when it comes to her writing: she sits at her desk, the hero speaks, she writes. Book done. After all, that's how she wrote thirty titles and she doesn't expect anything to be different during the working of her thirty-first manuscript. Daisy is convinced the protagonist of her newest book isn’t speaking to her and when he appears in the flesh to challenge her, she is transported to his time and place to better understand things from his perspective. The question is, whose story is it?
Daisy watched William retreat down the path toward the tent and took his instructions as permission to hide behind the rose bushes, and also to accept the Champagne offered to her by royal servants floating about the gardens. From where she stood, Daisy could see everyone but she was certain not everyone could see her. She watched William bow to the King and Queen and then offer another bow to Georgina. For someone who seemed so sure of his love for the girl, he certainly hid it well. Georgina didn’t even blush when she looked at him. She was on her second. Champagne and prepared to stash the flutes at the base of the shrubbery when a royal servant with a tray appeared beside her, again. She didn’t jump or seem surprised even as his presence caught her off-guard. The alcohol had already begun to seep into her reflexes.
“Oh, it’s you.” She looked at the tray he was holding with a further ten flutes of Champagne but when she saw the servant looking at the ones she’d stashed in the bushes, Daisy slowly lowered herself in the large gown and collected the flutes before depositing them on the tray. The servant cleared his throat and promptly turned like a toy soldier and marched away. Daisy watched the royal servant ascend a set of stone stairs nearby leading to a side entrance into the palace.
She raised her eyebrows. “Guess who will have the most accurate description of a palace in modern writing? This girl.”
Before Daisy could abandon the wall of rose bushes, but the sight of William approaching caused her to stay put and pretend to be inspecting them carefully. She assumed he wouldn’t approve of her following the servant into the palace. She narrowed her eyes when William got nearer but a hiccup gave her away.
Daisy suddenly abandoned the practice of being interested in the roses. “You left me unattended.”
William put his hands behind his back. “I was doing my duty by greeting the King and Queen. I will soon need to speak to others in my father’s absence.”
“Do I have to stay on your arm and fan my face?”
“No. You need to observe. We will go over it all this evening after you’ve written it out.”
“Parchment and ink. There is no fire wall here.”
Daisy knew he was referring to electricity and was even a little impressed he had the right words and intention, even though the idea wasn’t quite correct.
“So you want me to spy?”
William stepped closer. “You must stop using questionable terms, Daisy.”
“Unless you have already forgotten the year, you will keep words like Georgina, spy, my flat last night and questions like may I remove my bonnet? out of conversation, especially in public. It is not appropriate.”
I am a British writer of niche market fiction in the domestic discipline genre. My first duty is to write a compelling story with strong characterisation and dialogue that makes you feel involved. It just so happens that all of these elements are in a genre that is otherwise on the underside of the internet and is given very little credit for its literary merit.
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