Blog 94 17/04/2020 A LITERARY WORLD: An Interview with Terry Lynn Thomas

Posted in on 17 April, 2020 in News


An Interview with Terry Lynn Thomas

My guest today is multi-award winning author, Terry Lynn Thomas, a writer whose books constantly grace the best seller charts – quite a feat, even more so when they stay there for weeks at a time. I first met Terry when  she wrote the foreward for the USA Today Bestseller, The Darkest Hour Anthology: WWII Tales of Resistance, which I had the honour of being a part of with nine other WWII authors. Since that time, she has written several more books – and yes, they are all best sellers.

Welcome to A Literary World, Terry, it’s great to have you with us. Can you tell us about yourself.

I write two historical mystery series, both of which are set during World War II. The Sarah Bennett Series takes place in San Francisco. The first book in the series, The Spirit of Grace, introduces us to Sarah just as she has been summoned home from the asylum where she has spent a year after witnessing her mother’s death. The people in her small town think that Sarah pushed her mother, but Sarah has memory of that fateful night.


Do you remember the Ace Gothics from the 1960s and 1970s? The books with covers of women running away from castles and Gothic manors in their nightgowns? I rediscovered my love for those books around 2001 and once again found myself reading Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. As I perused used bookshops for these stories, I discovered a wonderful author named Dorothy Eden. Soon I started collecting her books and loved them!

When I set out to write the Sarah Bennett books, I wanted to pay homage to these wonderful gothic writers of the past. But I wanted to turn the table a bit, so I made a pact with myself to always write female protagonists who saved themselves!


While the Sarah Bennett Mysteries are my nod to Gothics that inspired me to write, the Cat Carlisle series represents the British mysteries – both past and present – that I love. I grew up on Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth. Now I love Ann Cleaves (of Vera and Shetland fame), Deborah Crombie, and my new favorite mystery author, Faith Martin. The DI Hillary Greene novels are amazing! I’m also captivated by the period between World War I and World War II, specifically the socio-economic issues that led to World War II.

Cat Carlisle is an independent woman who thinks for herself, and who doesn’t like being told what to do. These characteristics don’t bode well for someone whose husband is not only of the elite class, but who is also very narrow in his ideas about a wife’s marital role.

In the beginning of The Silent Woman we meet Cat, who is desperate for a way out of her marriage. Her husband is cruel to her. He has taken a mistress and despite his wealth, he is not generous with his money. When a friend tells Cat that someone in her house is a German spy and is taking her husband’s classified industrial designs and selling them to the Nazis, Cat agrees to drug her husband and switch his classified documents with forgeries. (The excerpt below is the document switch scene. Hope you enjoy it. It was a blast to write!) Things rapidly go downhill from here for Cat. There are three books in this series. The Silent Woman, The Family Secret, and House of Lies, which has just been released.


Can you tell us about your latest novel – The House of Lies?

It is the third Cat Carlisle mystery, but it can be read as a standalone. In this book I tackle domestic violence, as Cat uses her wealth to start a battered women’s refuge, with an eye towards sheltering women who are fleeing abusive situations and paying for their secretarial training so they can start new lives. Cat has a strict “no men allowed” policy at the refuge, so there’s no on-grounds security. Her friends are concerned that she’s courting danger. Then one of the girls she is sheltering winds up murdered in the woods behind her house and Cat feels responsible.

What sort of research did the stories require?

My favorite topic! When I set out to write a new book, the first thing I do is pick a specific time set for the arc of the story. Once I have a specific date, I read the newspapers during that period of time, paying attention to the small details of day-to-day living. (Sidebar: the personal columns were the equivalent of social media. I’ve come across ads such as this, “Will the woman with the Green Beret please meet me under the old maple tree.” I can’t help but wonder if she met this person, and what they said.)

I also research the socio-political climate at the time read proper novels, and watch movies that were playing at the cinema. The National Archives provides a cornucopia of diaries and papers, so I spent some time researching there as well, and usually budget four weeks for this type of effort. By the time I’m finished with this research, I’m well versed on the world my characters inhabit. Then I step away. It’s important to remember that only a fraction of this information will make it into the book. A light touch is needed, as I don’t want to bore my readers with an info dump.

Do you think fiction helps us understand the past?

My dad fought in the Navy during the World War II (I know, dating myself.) and regaled me with stories of his time in the Pacific theater, stories of bravery and courage and the collected effort of the military and civilians to overcome the axis powers. His stories inspired me to memorialize this period of history lest we never forget this global war. As I dug into the research of this time period I quickly became captivated by the events which led up to the war, and the state of the world at that time. In light of the divisive times we live in now, it struck me how united the people were in their efforts to support the war. Citizens made sacrifices in their everyday life, doing everything in their power to help those who experienced battle firsthand. As a writer of historical fiction, my goal is to transport my readers into my story and stay out of their way, so they can experience what it felt like to live in the world at this particular point in time. I believe this is a wonderful hands-on way to not only understand the past, but to actively engage with it.

 When you’re not writing, what do you like to do to chill out?

I love taking walks in the woods and hanging out with my husband my animals. Since writing is my full-time job now, I decided to take up a new hobby, so I’ll be working with watercolors this summer. Vintage botanical watercolors are my passion, so lately I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Bio Diversity library online perusing their collection of public domain vintage prints. There are millions of amazing free books and illustrations of plants, bugs, trees, and birds. Here’s the link, for anyone who might be interested:

Who are your favourite authors? (you can list a few)

Of course, I love your writing. I’ve got Camille in my TBR and hope to get to it soon. Lately I’ve been reading Lisa Jewell, Kath McGurl, Barbara Davis, and Ellie Midwood, a host of others. As for go-to faves, I would have to say, Susanna Kearsley, Elly Griffiths, Faith Martin, and a ton of others. I love hard-boiled detective fiction and golden age detective fiction, and when I want the literary equivalent of comfort food, I reach for Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, and Dorothy Eden.

Here’s a short excerpt from all three books. Hope you enjoy.


The Silent Woman – Excerpt

Someone – Annie probably – had left a generous portion of ham, potatoes in their jackets, carrots and green beans in a warming dish on the stove. There were two plates, which meant that one of them was for Benton. Without thinking, Cat prepared a plate for him. She hadn’t been married for all these years without knowing some of Benton’s habits. When he drank in quantity – which he made a habit of doing more often lately – he liked his food. She also opened a good bottle of Bordeaux, put three glasses on the tray, and carried the tray to his office.

‘Come,’ he said in response to her knock. She opened the door and let herself in.

‘What do you want?’ He sat at his desk with a book open in front of him, reading spectacles slipping down his nose, an empty snifter on the desk. The envelope she needed to switch was on the corner in plain sight. Cat took that as a courage-bolstering omen.

‘I thought you might want something to eat,’ she said. She tried to keep her voice light.

‘Why so solicitous?’ Benton narrowed his eyes and stared at Cat. ‘Are you in some sort of trouble?’

‘Ben.’ Cat hadn’t called her husband by his pet name in years. She set the tray down and took the chair opposite him. ‘I want to talk to you.’

He lit a cigarette, leaned back in his chair, and crossed his legs. ‘So talk.’

‘I wanted to say I am sorry for my part about the way things are between us. We’re both miserable. We don’t have to be.’

‘If you’re going to tell me you want a divorce, you know my answer. No Carlisle has ever divorced. I will not be the first.’

‘Wait,’ Cat said. ‘I’d like it if you would just listen to me, please. Don’t get angry and don’t react. Because, Ben, if we’re going to stay married, I’d like to try and fix things between us. Things would be a lot simpler and easier for everyone if we were civil to each other. I know I’m difficult to live with. I’m stubborn, and am one of those women who are better off unmarried. But here we are. I can live in a loveless marriage, but I don’t think I can live in a cruel one. I always thought we were better than that. I know you don’t love me anymore, but maybe we could find our way back to each other as friends.’ She couched her words as a question, and let them hang in the air between them.

‘I know you won’t divorce me, and I don’t care. I’m going to go live with Lydia. I can’t bear this house any longer. You can have your freedom. You’ll be happier without me here – you know that. We used to love each other, Ben. I’m asking for your understanding on this one issue. I’ll be the dutiful wife when you need me by your side. But there’s no need to live in the same house. You’ve got Isobel to run things for you. You don’t need me anymore.’

The fact Benton didn’t belt out an immediate and vociferous no encouraged Cat. He stared at her, as if scrutinising her request for any underlying deceit. Providence chose this minute to smile on Cat. A wave of nostalgia washed over her; she thought back to the time so long ago when they loved each other, when they looked forward to the future. She hoped that Benton would see that.

‘Have you taken a lover?’ he asked.

‘Of course not,’ Cat said. She didn’t mention Benton’s well-known affair with Trudy Ashworth. It seemed there were two very different sets of rules for men and women in British society. Men were allowed to take a mistress, and if a man had enough money and influence, he could even be seen in public with her. A woman could take a lover, but discretion was mandatory.

‘Will you stay with Lydia permanently?’ Benton asked.

‘For now at least. After a while I’ll rent a flat somewhere, away from your circle of friends.’

Benton didn’t say anything for a long time. He smoked his cigarette and stared at her. Cat got up, and with her back to him, she poured out two glasses of Bordeaux. With sleight of hand, she dumped the packet of powder into one of the glasses. It disappeared into the thick red wine. She turned and handed Benton the glass. He took it from her, held it up to the light, and studied it.

Cat’s heart pounded. My God, he’s going to notice that something is wrong with the colour of the wine.

‘My favourite Bordeaux,’ he said, lowering the glass again. ‘Our marriage wouldn’t have failed if you hadn’t been so stubborn. But I married you. And I will stay married to you.’

‘I know.’ Her words came out as a whisper. This wasn’t the time to communicate how she felt, to pick a fight. Cat reminded herself that her little speech was simply for the benefit of getting close enough to slip Benton the sleeping powder.

She thought of the years she’d spent waiting for Benton to come to her, waiting for him to realise that he still loved her, and that their shared grief could make them stronger. In her fantasy, he would apologise and say what a fool he had been to let their love slip away. She had continued to love him, despite the pain of his indifference towards her. Even though she boxed the emotion away and tucked the box deep in her psyche, she could have pulled it out. With a word from him, the love could have been rekindled. She would have forgiven Benton his trespasses and resumed their relationship as man and wife. The box lay open before her now, but it was empty. And much to Cat’s surprise, the love she felt for her husband was no more.

‘Go and stay with Lydia. I’ll have my banker arrange a sufficient allowance for you first thing tomorrow. You’re obviously miserable here. At least Isobel will be pleased.’

‘Thank you,’ Cat said.

‘Civility.’ Benton held up his glass.

‘Civility,’ Cat said. They’d struck a bargain and drank to it.

They were discussing the financial arrangements when Benton’s speech started to slur.

‘What’s the matter?’ she asked.

‘Need to get some fresh air.’ Benton stood up on wobbly legs. When his knees buckled, Cat eased him back down into the chair behind his desk. When he slipped into unconsciousness, she gently arranged his head so it rested on his arm, a position she and Isobel had found him in on more than one occasion of late.

The Family Secret – back story and excerpt

The Family Secret, my second Cat Carlisle mystery, has a character who wasn’t planned for the story and who blossomed to life before my eyes. Carmona is the daughter of a village solicitor father and a wealthy heiress mother. The Family Secret (Cat Book 2) finds Carmona contemplating her future as her eighteenth birthday draws near. A spoiled child, Carmona’s passion has always been science. Her parents gladly paid for tutors and bought her esoteric books on anatomy and physiology, not realizing that Carmona had every intention of becoming a doctor. Her mother had different plans. The except below is the scene where Carmona broaches the subject of her future with her domineering mother.

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Excerpt of The Family Secret

Carmona and Edythe met for a night at the cinema, but Edythe was so excited about her upcoming move to London, the two had forgone the movie, choosing instead to spend the evening at Edythe’s making plans. The girls reckoned their parents would rest easier knowing they were together. They would find a flat together. They would look out for each other as they made their way in the big city. It seemed so easy when Carmona discussed the move with Edythe. Now all she had to do was tell her mother and father of their plans and convince them to let her go.

Making a point to be home promptly at a quarter to ten, fifteen minutes before her curfew, Carmona found her parents in the drawing room, sitting before the fire as they often did of an evening. Her father wrote something on a legal pad, while her mother thumbed through a magazine, turning the pages too quickly to read the words on the page.

‘Hello, dear one.’ Her father had smiled when she walked in the room. Her mother smiled at her before she went back to her magazine.

She stood before the fire and faced her parents. ‘Mum, dad, I want to speak to you about my future.’

Her mother looked up, surprised. Carmona had never allowed her mum and dad to see her serious side. She had kept that part of her psyche protected, secluded in her room with her medical books and studies. Her mother closed her magazine and tossed it in the basket at her feet. Her father put the cap on his pen while Carmona pulled up a vacant footstool, and sat before her parents, eager and expectant.

‘I want to go to medical school.’

She remembered her father’s eyebrows had flown upward and her mother had gasped.

After a moment’s pause, her mother spoke first, taking command of the situation, like she always did. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Carmona. Do you know what you’re saying? Do you have any idea what medical school entails?’

She glanced at her father, hoping for some help. ‘Of course, I do, mother. Why do you think I’ve been studying so hard these past few years? I’m ready.’ Encouraged now, she stood up before the fire. ‘I’ll go to the London School of Medicine for Women and do my clinical studies at the Royal Free Hospital. I’ll have to move, but Edythe and I can share a flat or a room, if we have to. She’s going to London as well. In January. That will give me a few months to get ready. I won’t be in the city alone, so you won’t have to worry about me. I’m eighteen now. It’s time for me to do something with my life. I want to be a doctor.’

If Carmona could have seen herself, passionately persuading her parents about her future, she would have been pleasantly surprised. Her thick brown hair glimmered in the dim firelight, and her cheeks glowed with passion. She spoke in a clear and concise way that showed her intelligence, education, and breeding. A shame she was too preoccupied to notice the tale-tell glimmer of a proud smile on her father’s lips.

‘Absolutely not.’ The Broadbent family was not a democracy. Claris Churchwright Broadbent had long grown accustomed to running her family like a tight ship, handing down edicts she expected to be followed by her husband and her daughter alike.

‘Why?’ Carmona demanded. ‘Tell me what you’ve got against me moving? There’s nothing holding me here. I know you want me to marry, but all the eligible men are off fighting. Edythe’s mother is letting her go. She cried when Edythe told her she wanted to go, but Mrs Hargreaves just hugged her and promised to help in any way she could.’

Carmona’s father opened his mouth to speak, but her mother interrupted him.

‘Carmona, darling, sit down.’ When Carmona complied, her mother changed her tone. Carmona knew she was trying to sound reasonable, but to Carmona’s ears her mother sounded condescending, bossy, and authoritarian.

‘Edythe Hargreaves doesn’t have the opportunities you have, darling. She has no chance of securing a husband from a fine family. While I’m glad that she and her mother are now financially secure, the circumstances are completely different. I’ve gone along with your educational whims because you are so passionate about them. You should see yourself now, Carm, you look beautiful. But no, dear. No medical school, no London, and no college. You’ve a responsibility to this family, to your father and to me. You must marry well and settle down to domestic life. Surely you can see that?’

‘Dad?’ Carmona turned to her father for help. David Broadbent didn’t even look at his wife. He didn’t dare go against her. If he did, there would be hell to pay. Carmona would have felt sorry for him if she weren’t so angry. ‘Dad, surely you’re not going to agree with her on this one issue? This is my future we are talking about.’ Carmona turned to face her mother. ‘I won’t get married. I won’t do as you say, and I won’t be treated like chattel in a medieval fiefdom. My god, who the hell do you think you are?’ Her rage, now released, sprung forth like a gusher.  ‘And don’t think you can stop me. I don’t need your permission, mum. I am of age.’

‘You’ll not get a penny from me, Carmona. Nor your father. Not one penny. So if you want to live on the streets—’

Carmona remembered the trust fund, set up long ago by her grandfather. Surely there was enough in it to pay for her schooling. A part of Carmona, the childish part that would have cherished a moment of vengeance against the overbearing woman who had ruled the family roost with an iron fist, wanted to tout her victory. But Carmona kept quiet. The stakes were too high. Claris Broadbent would seize the knowledge and use it to sabotage Carmona’s plan. Taking the high road, she stuffed her anger aside and forced a congenial smile. The look on her father’s face shifted from surprise to curiosity. David Broadbent wasn’t used to his headstrong daughter giving in so quickly. Carmona looked down at her feet, smoothed her skirt, and forced an acquiescent smile. ‘Can’t blame me for trying.’ She kissed her father’s cheek and then her mother’s.

‘I’m tired. Good night.’ She turned and walked out of the room, leaving her parents in stunned silence. Had her parents not stared at each other in shock at Carmona’s sudden change of emotion, had they happened to turn their glance to Carmona’s reflection in the mirror over the fireplace, they would have seen the devious expression on her face. Had they seen the expression, they would have been very concerned indeed.

House of Lies – Excerpt

Cat Carlisle hurried home from Emmeline Hinch-Billings’s secretarial school, the large ledger tucked under her arm. Autumn was in the air, along with its accompanying chill. She was so proud of all that Emmeline had accomplished, training the young women who enrolled in courses as bookkeepers, secretaries and shorthand typists, and then securing them good jobs. At first Cat thought participating as a silent partner, with generous cash donations when necessary, would be fulfilling enough. When Emmeline Hinch-Billings needed a bookkeeper, Cat had taken over keeping the ledgers. Numbers didn’t lie, and Cat had soon discovered she enjoyed the satisfaction of balancing the books.

Try as she might, going over the ledgers in the tiny office at the school proved difficult today. A handful of the young women had received job offers in Scotland. Their excitement had been contagious, their success an inspiration to the new young women who hoped to acquire the skills necessary to earn a living. While encouraging, the thrum of excitement had proved a distraction, and Cat decided she’d be better off doing the books in the privacy of her office at home. The school had been in operation almost a year, and it was already turning a tidy profit, much to the surprise of the bankers who had refused to give Emmeline Hinch-Billings a loan. Cat had stepped in with the financial backing and was happy to have done so.

As she stepped from the lane onto the path that led to the front door of Saint Monica’s, Bede Turner was busy hanging linen pillowcases on the clothesline. When she saw Cat, she picked up her laundry basket and headed in her direction.

‘You’re finished early,’ Bede said.

‘Couldn’t concentrate at the school, too noisy. I thought I’d work here. How’s Mrs Grenville doing?’ Cat said.

‘Not good. She’s been in her room crying a good part of the day. I took her a tray with tea and toast about an hour ago. The poor woman’s scared to death. And her face is terribly bruised.’

‘Should I get her a doctor?’

‘Given her current state of mind, a female nurse would probably be better. She does need medical attention though, Miss Catherine.’ Bede shook her head. ‘I hope you know what you’re doing. These women have violent men in their lives who will eventually come looking for them. Have you given any thought as to what might happen when an angry husband shows up on our doorstep? You can’t protect these women alone. Can’t you at least ask Mr Charles—’

‘Bede, I don’t want to talk about this. No one is going to find the women we’re sheltering. Their batterers live in other counties far away.’

‘And what if they tell them where they are? What if they write to them out of guilt or misplaced loyalty? You don’t know what’s going on in their heads. Are you going to monitor the post every day?’ Bede pulled her jumper tighter around her stout body.

‘Why would they tell the men who battered them where they are?’

Bede gave Cat a knowing look. ‘Because they feel guilty about leaving. Because maybe they still love their husbands, despite the brutal treatment.’

‘But they’ve taken the first step towards freedom by coming here. Doesn’t that count for something?’

‘I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. We’d be better off with a man around here. That’s all I want to say about it. Oh, and that Lucy Bardwell still hasn’t done the breakfast dishes, even though it’s her turn. I did as you said and left them for her.’

Cat bit back her irritation. Lucy Bardwell had been nothing but trouble since she came to Saint Monica’s. She frequently missed her classes at Emmeline’s school and rarely did her chores, leaving the others to take on her share of the work. ‘Thanks, Bede. I’ll deal with Lucy.’

Bede nodded her approval and hurried back to the clothesline, her laundry basket resting on her hip. Cat watched her go, certain she was doing the right thing for these unfortunate women, despite Bede’s misgivings. Currently there were only two women in residence at Saint Monica’s. Elaina Masterson had shown up for her first day of secretarial training with a fresh scar down the side of her face. 22 years old and the daughter of a farmer, Elaina had married early at the encouragement of her parents, who were eager to have one less mouth to feed. It didn’t take long for Elaina to discover her husband’s violent side. Over the course of a few months, the beatings increased to a daily occurrence. Elaina had fled back to her parents, but her father had encouraged her to stay by her husband’s side and be a better wife. When she returned to her marital home, her husband, who was so drunk he couldn’t stand up straight, cut Elaina’s face with a knife. The next day after he’d left for work, Elaina took all the money she had, packed her meagre belongings and bought a one-way bus ticket to Rivenby, secure in the knowledge her husband would never find her there. She had taken a room in Miss Foster’s boarding house and immediately enrolled in secretarial school. Cat had taken one look at Elaina and knew she needed help.

Shortly after that, Jennie LaGrange had come along. Jennie kept her story to herself, but she was a kind soul, got on well with everyone in the household and didn’t shirk at doing her chores. Jennie and Elaina, along with the women who had come before them, had used the sanctuary of Saint Monica’s to recover from their brutal home life. Every day they grew mentally stronger. The courses at Emmeline’s school engaged their mind. Bede fed them well and gave them chores around the house, so they could feel useful.

Tomorrow Jennie and Elaina would move to Scotland, where good jobs and a new future awaited them. Lucy Bardwell and Alice Grenville were the newest arrivals. Lucy had been at Saint Monica’s for six weeks, while Alice Grenville had only arrived two days ago. Although Cat and Bede were both concerned about Alice, who was frightened of her own shadow, Cat believed with time she would heal and the promise of a fresh start would bolster her, like it had for Jennie and Elaina.

Cat stood inside the front door for a moment, savouring the quiet solitude. She carried her ledgers up the stairs, pausing before Alice Grenville’s room. She pressed her ear against the door, glad to hear the soft sounds of Alice’s snores. Thank god. The woman needs a good rest. Her mind was so preoccupied when she stepped into her own bedroom that it took her a moment to see Lucy Bardwell, who stood before the looking glass, dressed in one of Cat’s suits.

‘Oh!’ Lucy cried out.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ Cat snapped at the same time. She tossed the ledgers on her writing desk and surveyed the clothes that lay scattered on her bed. ‘You’d best explain yourself.’

Lucy sat down on the chaise under the window, buried her face in her hands and burst into tears. Cat stood silently by, not taken in by Lucy’s dramatic display.

Cat handed her a handkerchief. ‘Here.’

‘Thank you,’ Lucy said. She dabbed her eyes and wiped her nose. ‘I’m so sorry, Mrs Carlisle. I know I shouldn’t have come in here.’

‘You’re right. You’ve no business going through other people’s things.’ Cat bit back her anger. ‘How do you expect anyone to feel safe here if we can’t trust each other?’

‘You can trust me!’ Lucy said. She jumped up and faced Cat, her cheeks pink with either rage or shame, Cat couldn’t tell which. ‘I haven’t had a new dress for as long as I can remember.’

‘Neither has anyone else,’ Cat said. ‘You’re not the only one affected by rationing.’

‘It’s not the rationing,’ Lucy said. ‘My brother thinks nice clothes are a waste of money. I’ve had to buy all my things second-hand.’ She ran her hand over the fabric of Cat’s suit. ‘The first thing I’m going to do when I start working is buy a new suit.’ She gave Cat a shy smile. ‘I mean brand new, as in never worn by anyone else.’

‘Lucy, why won’t you let me help you get your money? We could get you a solicitor, at least to look into it.’

‘Oh no. You mustn’t! Ambrose would be so angry.’ Her eyes had a frantic look Cat recognised all too well. ‘Please. Promise me you won’t speak to Ambrose. And I’m sorry I came in here. I know I shouldn’t have.’

‘Go and change into your own clothes. And when you’ve finished, there’s a sink full of dishes waiting for you.’

‘Yes, ma’am,’ Lucy said.

‘I don’t want to have to discuss missing chores with you again, Lucy. I mean it. Another mishap like this, and you’ll have to leave.’

Lucy nodded, not meeting Cat’s eyes as she grabbed her clothes and hurried out the door.

Cat sat down and tried to focus on her bookkeeping duties, but her mind kept wandering back to Lucy Bardwell. After finding a room in which to lodge, she had registered for school. Cat had noticed the dark-haired, outspoken woman right away, but had never thought she came from a difficult home, until she’d come to school one day with a black eye and a swollen lip. Emmeline and Cat had taken the young girl into a private room to find out what had happened to her.

‘It’s my brother,’ she’d said. ‘I went home to get some money out of my bank account. He got angry. Ambrose doesn’t believe women should manage their own money.’

Cat had immediately offered Lucy Bardwell a place in her home and a scholarship for school, thinking Lucy could save her money for her future. But Lucy hadn’t saved her money. When she didn’t show up at school one day, Cat and Bede Turner became worried her brother had found her and taken her away against her will. They had been in the process of formulating a plan to rescue her, when Lucy returned home, laden with shopping bags.

‘Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick about you,’ Cat had said.

‘I took the day to do some shopping.’

Cat had opened her mouth to chastise Lucy about being reckless with money, but the girl had interrupted her.

‘I only have one suit,’ Lucy had said. At least she’d had the grace to look embarrassed. ‘I don’t have anything to wear when I clean it, so I bought another one. Second-hand, mind you.’ Lucy had given them a wan smile and hurried out of the room.

‘I don’t trust that girl one bit,’ Bede had said.

Now Cat stared at the ledger before her. She agreed with Bede. Lucy Bardwell couldn’t be trusted. More importantly, Cat’s intuition said that Lucy was hiding something. Cat would have to find out what that something was.

How important do you think historical accuracy is when writing fiction?

Writers who delve into the world of historical fiction have an obligation to be impeccable with their research. Readers are so sophisticated, it’s important to triple check your facts and have a beta reader or editor who is adroit at historical fact checking. As writers, we are obligated to bring our A game to our stories.


I do have a website,, but if you want to find out when I have a new release or when I have a book on sale, follow me on bookbub here:

Amazon Book Links:

The Silent Woman:

The Family Secret:

House of Lies:

For those of you who like audio books, here’s my Audible Link:

Thank you for being with us, Terry. You’ve certainly given me a few books to read here. It’s been a privilege to have you with us and I wish you all the best with your future endeavors.