The Secret of Matterdale Hall
by Marianne Ratcliffe
Released: November 15, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Why this book and why now?
I’ve always loved books that transport me to another time and place. However, much as I love classic or historical fiction, it’s rare to find depictions of lesbians, and even rarer to find positive portrayals. The same is true of non-white characters or those with disabilities. I wanted to fill in those gaps and a bring a modern sensibility (and lesbians!) to historical fiction. However, I also wanted my book to retain those elements that I love about the classics – a sense of time and place, a certain innocence in the characters and the perfect excuse to go full-on gothic.
What is a significant way your book has changed since either the first draft or the way you thought it would turn out when you first had the inspiration?
My editors suggested I needed to bring out the romantic subplot, so I added a couple of chapters to develop that a little more. But otherwise, the book remained true to the original concept. I always like to know where I’m headed, even if I give the characters a little leeway on how they get there.
What’s your main character(s)’s favorite book and why?
Susan adores gothic fiction so her favourite books would probably be something like Lady Audley’s Secret, or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (both of which are mentioned in the book).
What 3 things would your main character want with them if they got stranded away from civilization, and why?
A piano (with stool), some books (gothic fiction, of course!) and a cashmere blanket to keep warm.
Publishing a book is a huge accomplishment and it’s time to party! Choose a celebratory beverage for one of your main characters to toast the release of your new book.
Since the weather is turning wintry (at least here in the UK), I’m going to pick mulled wine. Matterdale Hall is draughty and cold, and Susan’s employer is very stinting with coal. I think Susan would appreciate something warm and comforting.