Our Pages

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Interview with Aunt Katherine Crossley


Originally, I had intended to interview the heroine and hero of Captain of Her Heart—Harriet Brookes nee Handley, and Captain John Brookes. However, the newlyweds recently departed Tansley Village for London so that Harriet could meet with her publisher. Fortunately for me, Mrs. Katherine Crossley—John's aged aunt--invited me to her flat in Bath for a good chin-wag, as she calls it.

As I sank onto the settee in Mrs. Crossley's well-appointed library, with a fire crackling in the grate and a cup of steaming Darjeeling in hand, I was bemused by this extraordinary woman. Her rings cast rainbows of light around the room, and she gave every indication of being in command though wrapped from head to toe in a fur rug. "Well then, out with it," she asserted briskly, reaching forward for her cup of tea. "I am sure your readers don't have all day, my dear."

Lily George (hastily clearing her throat): Yes, Mrs. Crossley—

Katherine Crossley: Call me Aunt Katherine, my dear. Everyone does. I am not sure what I should do if you called me Mrs. So and So.

LG: Very well then, Aunt Katherine—

KC: And I rather take exception to you referring to me as John's aged aunt. You are only as old as you feel, you know. And at heart, I am still a young woman.

LG (blushing): My apologies, Aunt Katherine.

KC: Think nothing of it my dear, think nothing of it. Now, I suppose your readers want to know more about Harriet and John?

LG: Yes, Aunt Katherine. As much as you care to share.

KC: Well, Harriet Handley is the daughter of Sir Hugh Handley. He died bankrupt, leaving his widow and two daughters penniless. His family refused to help them, and so they left the ancestral home for a poky little cottage in Tansley. But Harriet—wise, resourceful Harriet—knew she must find a way to get them all out of poverty. And so she decided to follow her girlhood dream of becoming an authoress. (She sighs and clasps her hands together.) I admire her courage. When I was a young lady, all one could do was marry well.

LG: That is rather remarkable, Aunt Katherine. Her own sister, Sophie, has been groomed from girlhood for a great match.

KC (waves her hands languidly): Well, Sophie's a great beauty. She was engaged to John before the war. But of the two, John ended up with the right sister.

LG: Why so, Aunt Katherine?

KC: Well, John was a captain in the army and suffered terribly during Waterloo. He lost his leg, you know. He turned to drink to ease his troubles—but his frustration only increased when he returned home and Sophie spurned him. Fortunately, Harriet saw what an amazing man he is and when her sister threw him over, Harriet gained his love and respect.

LG: What makes Captain Brookes an amazing man?

KC (smiling softly, stirring her tea): My John is a brilliant tactician. It's what served him so well on the peninsula. Men trusted him with their lives. He just lost his way, that's all. And Harriet's steadfast nature and strength of character turned him on the right course.

LG: Didn't you have a hand in bringing Harriet and John together? It seems he inherited the gift of strategy from you, Aunt Katherine.

KC (smiling broadly): Oh, tut. I only meddle to set things right. I can't bear to see matters amiss when one word or gesture would make life so much better.

LG: Aunt Katherine, I will of course flog the book, Captain of Her Heart, during our interview. But I have a feeling that my readers would look forward to the chance to speak directly to you. If you have time, would you consider responding to any questions or comments they leave in the blog?

KC: Of course, I shall be delighted.

Well, there it is. Aunt Katherine will be on hand all day to offer advice and answer your questions. At the end of the day, she will draw two lucky winners to receive a signed copy of Captain of Her Heart. So, let's gabble—ask Aunt Katherine anything!

22 comments:

  1. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Mrs. Crossley!

    Congratulations on using your tactics to set things right for your nephew and Harriet. It sounds as if her sister Sophie could use a guiding hand. Are you considering such a course of action?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Ah, thank you, my dear Miss Marlowe. You know, at first I disliked Sophie intensely for throwing John over. But now that John has Harriet, I am inclined to think kindly of her. She will be in Bath soon, and I shall look out for her welfare. Sophie hardly needs an old woman's help securing a match, pretty as she is--but even so, I shall keep a sharp eye on her. Depend upon it, my dear." ~Aunt Katherine

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a question for you Mrs. Crossley,
    What would be the best way to go about getting a husband when there is a decided lack of eligible men interested in a certain young lady? She is quite an original, with wit and humor but not a single man shows any marital interest. Her brother and guardian is at his wits end in trying to coerce suitors to come calling, but to no avail. What advice can you give?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What an excellent question, my dear. Has her brother considered bringing her to Bath for a Season? I find Bath incomparable. 'Tis much more sedate than the London marriage mart, and the men more likely to be seeking a wife with intelligence and wit rather than a large dowry. I shall be happy to sponsor the young lady should she wish to make her way to Bath." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  4. Aunt Katherine, it sounds like I could use your help. Are you any good with 21st Century men? Hmmm...probably not. Well, perhaps you could help one of my heroes who is a bit stuck at the moment. He, also, is a returned war hero, and he seems to be having difficulty deciding to do the right thing, because it appears to be the wrong thing. What assistance can you give the love of his life in convincing him to change his mind?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "On the contrary, my dear. I am quite an expert on any generation--for you see, men do not change that much, no matter the year. Now, as for your specific question, I think the young lady should state her case fairly and frankly. I am not one to condone coquetry, at least not when so much is at stake. It may sound rather shocking, but she should tell him exactly how she feels. Men respond to honesty. I wish the young lady and her soldier the best." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful. Thank you, Aunt Katherine. I firmly believe it's appropriate to help love along when need be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "My dear Miss Quinn, think nothing of it. It's entirely my pleasure to be here." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  6. Aunt Katherine,

    What an honor to meet you. I wonder what advice you would give to a newly married couple about how to achieve a lifetime of happiness. And do you have any tips on how to get a husband to pick up his socks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Thank you, Miss Grace. I feel it is most important for newlyweds to listen to one another and stay close to each other. As much as I adore meddling, I feel it's best to let a young couple be on their own so they can form a solid foundation. And as for the socks, I highly recommend hiring a butler or a valet for your husband. In my estimation, 'tis much easier to let another person handle the matter." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
    2. A valet! You are so right, Mrs.Crossley, that's what we need around here. And a cook, a housekeeper. And a dashing footman while we are at it!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Aunt Katherine. What excellent advice! A valet is just the thing. Perhaps a manservant would be so kind as to toss out my husband's ripped t-shirts, too. I fear they are beyond repair.

      Delete
  7. Loved this!! I have an Aunt Kathy. Too funny!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Miss Higgins, delighted to make your acquaintance." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  8. There's nothing like a close relative to give you the inside scoop, having a unique perspective and supporting the family. Having tea with Aunt Katherine would be an honor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Thank you my dear. The honor has been mine, I can assure you. What a bright bunch of young ladies!" ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed the interview. Do you any plans to bring other couples together?

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Well, my dear, one doesn't really plan these things. But I must say that I always watch the young people in my circle of acquaintance. And if a word or gesture on my part might bring a young couple together, I am only too happy to oblige." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  11. Hi Aunt Katherine
    It must have been sad for you to see how much your nephew suffered in the war. Do you have any advice for what to do when someone you love is in a blue funk & how to get them out of it? Especially when that someone seems to be determinedly resisting all efforts of help.

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Ah, yes. John was very defensive and resisted offers of help when he returned from the war. But Harriet's kind companionship and compassionate nature finally broke down his defenses. He needed someone to loisten when he was ready to talk. And when we all feel blue, I do think that having someone to listen as we speak is the most valuable help of all." ~Aunt Katherine

      Delete
  12. Hello Aunt Katherine! You seemed to have a great hand in matching this couple, do you draw from your own experiences in matching them up? And you say when you were young all you could do is Marry Well, but was there any other hijinx you got up to as a young woman? You sound like a fun lady! Looking forward to reading about John and Harriet.

    ReplyDelete