Friday, June 29, 2012

A Character Interview With Lady Serena Buxton from Always a Lady

A Character Interview With Lady Serena Buxton

VC: We know you are married to Lord Randolph Buxton, but what about your life prior to your marriage?

LSB: I was born in India where my father was a Colonel in the 6th Dragoon Guards. I don’t remember too much of that time, only that I was very sad when we came back to England and I had to leave my ayah.

VC: Do you have any siblings?

LSB: No, I was an only child. Once we were settled in England I had a succession of nannies. I must admit to not being the best behaved child. But I did enjoy the tutor my father engaged for me. He considered that if my mind was occupied I might be less boisterous. He was actually correct in that assumption because I learnt very quickly and loved reading.

VC: What is your favourite book?

LSB: Oh, I couldn’t pick just one. There are so many. Buxton Hall is favoured with a particularly fine library, but I must admit to enjoying being a little bit scared so Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are high on my reading list. If I didn’t love my husband so much I think I could be quite taken with Van Helsing.

VC: What first attracted you to Lord Buxton?

LSB: Oh, that’s easy. His brown eyes and his laugh. We met at the Berkeley Hunt Ball and it was love at first sight for both of us. That’s a little boring perhaps, but true.

VC: Do you have any hobbies or interests you would like to tell us about?

LSB: I love to dance. I saw Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty when I was eleven years old and studied ballet. Then in 1900 I met Isadora Duncan at a charity performance at the home of Lady Daneforth in London and everything changed. Isadora was the most extraordinary dancer who focused on a more natural form of movement than the rigidity of formal ballet and from then on I tried to emulate her freedom of expression, much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin.

VC: What did you do?

LSB (giggling): I danced barefoot on the lawn in front of Buxton Hall. It was early morning and I wanted to feel the dew on my feet and so went out and danced. Poor mama-in-law. She went into paroxysms of anxiety that any of the servants should see me. I suppose the sight of my bare feet and ankles would shock them, but how she could object to my naked feet yet personally oversee the breeding of all her mares, which can be a noisy, smelly, er – very active business, is beyond me.

VC: Do you think that freedom of expression made it easier for you to learn to belly dance?

LSB: Oh, absolutely. When I first saw the belly dance, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could move their body in such a sinuous way, but my friends in Medina were very patient with me and I soon learnt the way of it.

VC: How did you come to be in Medina?

LSB: We were going to Australia where Randolph’s father had interests in the gold mining operations in Kalgoorlie. But Randolph’s mother requested that he act as her agent and stop in Arabia to purchase Arabian stallions for her stud. We made port at Jeddah, and travelled to Medina to meet a Sheik that the Dowager Lady Buxton knew. She had bought horses from him in the early 1890s. My mother-in-law had a long and very exacting list of what she required in her horses but it was considered inappropriate for me to travel through the desert with Randolph, and especially to observe stallions breeding their mares, so I stayed in Medina.

VC: How long were you there?

LSB (smiling): It felt like forever but in truth just a little over two months. When Randolph returned he made arrangements for the stallions to be shipped home to England and we continued our journey to Australia.

VC: Have you always enjoyed travelling?

LSB: I wouldn’t say I particularly enjoy it. Much of a journey can be very tedious and uncomfortable, but I do like seeing different countries and learning about their inhabitants.   

VC: What goal would you most like to accomplish in your lifetime?

LSB (considering): There’s actually two. I want children of my own and I would like to set up a program to educate women so that they can make better choices for themselves.

VC: Well, Lady Buxton, I must say it has been an absolute delight spending time with you and I wish you the very best in your endeavours. 


By Victoria Chatham

Lady Serena Buxton follows her husband from England to Bandit Creek, Montana. Randolph is a partner in the Ellis gold mine, but when she arrives, she is horrified to find that Randolph is missing.

Sheriff Wilson seems to be keeping a watchful eye on her. Why? Douglas King, the mine manager, treats her as if she is already a widow. What does he know? The bank manager refuses her request for access to Randolph’s account. With no husband and no money, what is a girl to do?

Serena has an unsuspected and quite shocking talent. She can belly dance. With the help of two enterprising local ladies, Serena prepares for a public performance. But when the news leaks out, she finds the only venue she can secure is in the Men’s Club owned by King. Like it or not, she has no option but to ask him regardless of what terms he may insist on. Billed as Ayesha, Oriental Dancer Extraordinaire, she prepares for her show which she hopes will make enough money for her to stay in Bandit Creek until Randolph is found.

The whole town, as well as a train full of people from nearby Missoula, turns out for her performance. The Club is packed. But who is in the crowd, watching? Will King insist on exacting his fees? And will Serena be reunited with the husband she loves?

About the Author:

Victoria Chatham is a writer of Regency romance and credits her late husband for giving her a well needed push – make that kick-in-the-pants – to take her writing seriously.

It was his opinion she should write a historical novel but, having disliked history at school because she couldn’t remember dates, was an idea she firmly resisted. Her first completed novel was a contemporary romantic suspense, but she never quite felt comfortable with the book. But then a glimmer of an idea grew into a Regency romance, a genre she always felt comfortable with. Her favourite books are those of that doyen of the Regency era, Georgette Heyer, and more recently Mary Balogh, Sabrina Jeffries, Stephanie Laurens and others.

Victoria was born in Bristol, England and grew up in an area well known for its Regency style architecture. She frequently visited both Cheltenham and Bath, the latter famous for its water. She and her cousins, under the eagle eye of their grandmother, learned what many a young Regency lady may have learned. Manners, deportment, elocution and what knife and fork should be used for which course at dinner and which wine is served in which glass – and why. A writer is encouraged to ‘write what you know’ so many of these early lessons have proved extremely useful in adding small details to her writing.

Already at work on her second Regency novel, Victoria has also written a historical novella for the Bandit Creek book series, and a short story for the April Fool’s Bandit Creek Anthology, Fool’s Gold to be released on – when else – April 1st, 2012.

Apart from her writing, Victoria is an avid reader. Her love of horses gets her away from her computer to volunteer at Spruce Meadows equestrian centre and Dare2Dream, a horse-rescue ranch. Her constant buddy is her dog, Jay, who allows her to take him for a walk every day. As Jay is now 105 years old in people years, she firmly believes she is the only seeing eye person in existence.



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