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November 12, 2013

DO YOU HAVE A NOTORIOUS AUNT? by Kathleen Baldwin

Do you have a Notorious Aunt?

This week I am launching my award-wining Regency romantic comedy as an eBook. LADY FIASCO was voted best Traditional Regency by the cataromance readers, and won 2nd place in the prestigious Molly. It’s book one in the series, My Notorious Aunt.

It about and unusual heroine. Fiona Hawthorn grew up running free. Without a mother to restrain her, she spent her days riding her horse neck or nothing across her father’s fields and swimming like a sea nymph. But in a sitting room she’s bound to overturn the teapot or accidentally trip the footman. Her notorious Aunt Honore decides to takes the hoyden in hand, but amidst the strictures of society, Fiona is a fish out of water.

When she was younger, Lord Wesmont was her hero. But he came home from fighting Napoleon a hardened man. Nothing can breathe life back into his cold heart, nothing except, perhaps, the love of an unusual young woman who regularly turns his life upside-down. Can a lady with a reputation for disaster, stumble into love?



I’ve gotten many letters from readers remarking on the unexpectedness of the plot, and asking where I got the idea for the story. As with all ideas, it was a fusion of elements.
First, I must confess, the book is based on a dream. The closing scene was a poignant tender image that I couldn’t get it out of my head. So, I wrote a book to support that one delightful scene. Prior to LADY FIASCO I’d only published in short story and non-fiction. So I began writing my first full length novel backwards.

Second, I drew from real life. The truth is I had a very eccentric aunt. She was as wildly unpredictable and outrageous as Lady Alameda. Probably worse. One never knew what to expect when she blew into town. It is only natural that my aunt’s bigger than life personality seeped into my creative id and played havoc there, too.

My aunt passed away many years ago - not a surprise given her flamboyant lifestyle. They say not to speak ill of the dead, so I will tread lightly here. Let us just say my aunt was not a model citizen. No, scratch that, I’ll be completely honest, she was dreadful. For instance, she tried to murder one of her husbands, and on several occasions she abandoned her young children and they had to come live with us. Not really the motherly sort. BUT Aunt Zelda was exciting! (Name changed to protect the survivors.) She gave me my first glass of champagne (age nine) and my first taste fresh caught lobster. My mother was careful, fastidious, and uber-responsible. Aunt Zelda lived life on the sharp edge of disaster. She encouraged messes. For instance, she had no problem with her five children powdering her steep wooden stairs with baby powder, and then we kids sat on rugs and took turns sliding down. Great fun until it ended in one of us taken an inevitable bad tumble.

Once, when I was away at college, Zelda called and asked if I would like to go to dinner. She picked me up at my apartment in a gigantic Peterbuilt semi. She’d decided to become a trucker. Instead of her normal skinny self she’d blown up to three times her weight – I hardly recognized her. Dinner turned out to be fifty miles away and by the time the evening ended, she was roaring drunk and fell asleep in the cab of the semi. The next time I saw my aunt she was skinny again. This time Zelda was raising Appaloosa horses and running around with a bull-riding rodeo cowboy. (It didn’t last long. Even he couldn’t manage my aunt.)

There… I’ve told you way too much personal stuff. (There are more Zelda stories, but I dare not tell them.) The point is: inspiration comes from unlikely sources. I feel sad for my aunt’s children. They deserved a better mother. My mom deserved a better sister. But I couldn’t help but find Zelda fascinating, dreadful but fascinating. The whacky weird people in my life provide rich fodder for stories. Would I be able to write my stories if she hadn’t been part of my life? What about you? Do you have a notorious aunt? How have the abnormal characters changed your life? It isn’t always the good things that make us better people, or better writers.

I’ll be giving away a free book to someone who is brave enough to comment.

Visit KathleenBaldwin.com for more info

Read an excerpt of Lady Fiasco on Amazon

11 comments:

vicki batman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vicki batman said...

Hi, Kat! I had no notorious aunts. Just normal ones who had a tough life when young and grew up with great character. They sewed, knitted, quilted-great at crafts. I learned so much. At times, I had "many mothers" because they knew and cared for each child. Hugs

Elizabeth Essex said...

I just love the Aunt Zelda stories. And as a reader, I am glad that you can take the not-always-so-nice slices of your life and turn them into a wonderful Happily=Ever-After. What a wonderful gift.

Thanks so much for sharing Lady Fiasco with us today. Cheers, EE

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Vicki!

It must've been nice to have such sweet aunts!
You were blessed, and that goodness comes out in your stories, too.
thanks for stoppping by!



Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hello Ms Essex!

A delight as always.

Thank you for stopping by. You always have such delightfully mischievous characters in your stories. Makes me wonder where those ideas sprang from?

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kat,
What interesting stories you have about your aunt! My aunt was perfectly normal and responsible, no crazy stories there! Your release sounds like a great story. Here's to many sales!!!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Karilyn!
I'm glad you had a aunt you could count on.
So where do you get the ideas for some of your fun characters?

Barb Han said...

Congrats, Kat! How exciting. I had a couple of aunts but 11 uncles (all from the same grandmother). There were a few outlaws in that bunch. :-)

Sylvia said...

Love this story Kat! You are so right about everyone has a crazy aunt.

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It is this type of interesting thing with this post of yours. I had been interested with all the topic along with the flow in the story. Keep up to date the truly amazing work.

Vikki said...

My whole family is full of notorious beings, outlaws, con-artists and scaliwags. One of my favorite aunts is not really notorious, more like constantly surprising. To give you an example she learned to roller blade and started mountain biking as an octogenarian!