An Interview With the Muses of Mayfair by Sara Ramsey

I’m Sara Ramsey, and I recently spent a delightful hour interviewing the Muses of Mayfair – a secret society for women pursuing artistic passions. While it’s true that these ladies are fictional creations (a fact they think is indelicate of me to mention), they are all too stubborn to do what I tell them – so the interview quickly ran off the rails. Please join me anyway to see whether I can corral them into some semblance of order – and a lucky commenter will win a free copy of SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES!

Participants:

Madeleine, Duchess of Rothwell (nee Lady Madeleine Vaillant) – Actress, heroine of Heiress Without A Cause – January 2012
Amelia, Countess of Carnach (nee Lady Amelia Staunton) – Writer, heroine of Scotsmen Prefer Blondes – April 2012
Ellie, Marchioness of Folkestone (nee Lady Elinor Avenel) – Painter, heroine of The Marquess Who Loved Me – summer 2012
Miss Prudence Etchingham – Historian, heroine of as-yet-untitled Muses of Mayfair #4 – late 2012/early 2013
Interviewer: Sara Ramsey, Regency romance authoress, heroine of her own blog at www.sararamsey.com.

Sara: I’m so delighted that you agreed to spend an hour answering my questions.

Ellie: (pours tea) As though we could deny you!

Amelia: (paces) Can we begin, please? I would like to return home in time to dress for dinner.

Sara: Hmm, yes. Could you tell me a bit about how the Muses of Mayfair formed?

Amelia: Don’t you know how we formed, dear creator?

Madeleine: (laughs) Don’t mind Amelia – although I enjoy seeing her brought so low by a mere man. Only away from her husband for a few hours and she’s already eager to see him again.

Prudence: (smirks) I do love how the mighty are fallen.

Ellie: Can I paint you like this, Amelia? Dramatic in your separation from your lover? Perhaps as Penelope waiting for Odysseus to return?

Amelia: (drops into a chair) Oh, do stop being absurd. Malcolm and I have only been parted for three hours. Penelope waited for two decades. Isn’t that closer to your own story, Ellie?

Ellie: (glares at Amelia)

Sara: Ladies, if we could please return to the question? Any answer at all about how the Muses of Mayfair formed will do.

Madeleine: (sighs) Very well. Amelia and I were first, although since we grew up in the same house, you can hardly call cousins playing together a club. But she liked to write, and I liked to act, so we encouraged each other. And then we discovered that Prudence was an utter bluestocking…

Prudence: They caught me muttering after a staging of Julius Caesar about the inaccuracies of the set, while everyone else went on about how handsome the actor was.

Madeleine: Yes. She couldn’t not join us, particularly when we threatened to tell her mother about her unfashionable love of history.

Prudence: I didn’t need all that much convincing. Your club was better than sitting at home darning my stockings, I suppose.

Amelia: And then everything was lovely. Until Madeleine ran off to the theatre and got caught by the Duke of Rothwell.

Madeleine: (smiles) And then everything was even lovelier.

Ellie: You are really *too* happy to be married to him, you know. I grew up with him – I assure you he’s not perfect.

Madeleine: Then you may pretend that I meant everything was lovelier because we met you and invited you to join our circle, not because I married your brother.

Ellie: Done.

Sara: (claps hands) Marvelous – let’s move on, shall we?

Amelia: In a hurry suddenly? You don’t have an earl to go home to, do you?

Sara: Well, no. But blog readers have a short attention span…

Ellie: Then we aren’t interesting enough for you? I could tell you about the time I went to Lord Westbrook’s house party…

Madeleine: You went to Westbrook’s house party, Ellie? I merely went to his masquerade and I didn’t think I would stop blushing for a week.

Sara: Perhaps another time – I do rather want to hear about the house party. But we can save that for your book, The Marquess Who Loved Me. Speaking of which, what do you ladies think will happen when Nick, the current Marquess of Folkestone, returns from India?

Ellie: (spills her tea) Next question, please.

Prudence: (hands her the plate of sweets) Have a lemon cake, dear. I find they take my thoughts away from stupid men.

Ellie: He isn’t in my thoughts. Why would he be? Just because he left England a decade ago and refused to come back, even when he inherited my dead husband’s title?

Madeleine: Or perhaps because you were in love with each other when you married his cousin?

Ellie: That’s neither here nor there. Next question.

Amelia: (in a stage whisper) Sara, if it eases your mind, she won’t talk to us about Nick either. So we’re all speculating about what will happen if he ever comes home.

Sara: (mutters) It would ease my mind if Ellie and Nick would cooperate with me so I could finish their bloody book.

Ellie: (smirks)

Sara: All right then, moving on. Do you plan to add any more members to your club?

Prudence: It would be nice to add someone who isn’t married so I’m not the only one left on the shelf.

Ellie: I’m not married either.

Prudence: But you’re a widow. You can go places like Westbrook’s house parties. I’m with the spinsters, left to watch other people dance.

Madeleine: You don’t even want to dance.

Prudence: True. But I don’t particularly want to be an ape-leader, either.

Ellie: My twin sisters have been making noises about joining us, but their maturity leaves much to be desired.

Amelia: (snorts) Yes, maturity is a critical requirement of membership in the Muses of Mayfair.

Sara: If no one else joins the Muses, we can’t leave Prudence to her spinsterhood. Any ideas who we should set her up with?

Prudence: (chokes on her lemon cake)

Amelia: (claps her on the back) You didn’t think Sara would leave you wallowing in spinsterhood forever, did you?

Prudence: (mutters) As though any of you could leave well enough alone.

Madeleine: You’ll meet someone lovely, I’m sure of it.

Ellie: Unless you’ve…already met him, eh?

Prudence: Next question, please?

Amelia: (narrows eyes) Have you met someone, Prue? Don’t say you’re in love and haven’t told us!

Prudence: I won’t say it, then.

Madeleine: Prue! Who is it?

Ellie: (pours more tea) Really, how you’re all so unobservant is beyond me.

Prudence: (firmly) Next question.

Sara: You know, it seems wise to end the interview before you all descend into a brawl.

Amelia: We’ll just pounce on Prudence and drag the name out of her as soon as you let us go.

Sara: (smugly) Difficult, darling, since you’re fictional.

Amelia: (sighs) I don’t like you at all.

————————————–

If you want to learn more about the Muses of Mayfair, Madeleine and Amelia’s books are already out. Ellie’s mysterious former lover, the current Marquess of Folkestone, returns to London in The Marquess Who Loved Me, out later this summer. And Prudence’s secret, unacknowledged passion will finally come out in the fourth Muses of Mayfair book, sometime in late 2012/early 2013.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Like Prudence, I think lemon cake is a fabulous way to forget one’s troubles – but what’s your favorite comfort food? One commenter will win an ebook or paperback (winner’s choice) of SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES!

*Open Internationally*

Melanie here. I want to thank Sara for coming over to play and for her Giveaway, but most of all I want to thank her for letting me ‘cast’ her characters. I had too much fun doing it!

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30 thoughts on “An Interview With the Muses of Mayfair by Sara Ramsey

  1. Chocolate would be my absolute favorite comfort food. A fabulous post thank you. I would love to read SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES.

  2. Mine is ice cream, I just love ice cream! I can sit down with a one liter tub of ice cream & devour my way thru it.

    Thanks for opportunity to win & for the international giveaway.

    • Hi Linda! Ice cream is dangerous for me – I try to buy pint size (so, half a liter?) just to limit the damage. I recently discovered a coffee ice cream with toffee chunks in it that I’m not allowing myself to buy unless it’s a dire emergency, since I can eat the entire thing without blinking :)

  3. Chocolate chip cookies! (And we bake it ourselves — and add tons of chips and nuts to our mix. ^_^)

    Thank you for this great giveaway!

    • Thanks for the comment! I adore chocolate chip cookies. Funny story – in SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES, Prudence originally said she could tolerate marrying Malcolm because of his housekeeper’s chocolate biscuits. Sadly, though, I decided to change it to lemon cakes; people were starting to bake with chocolate by 1812, but it wasn’t super widespread, and I didn’t want readers to think I hadn’t researched :( But chocolate chip cookies are a fantastic comfort food!

  4. Pie for me please. Be it a slice of warm apple with ice cream or pumpkin or chocolate silk. I could go on and on, I love pie!

    Loved the interview with all the Muses, very funny!

  5. Hey Sara!

    So glad you’re here today :D
    We’re having such a ‘crappy day’ here in Chicago today, but your visit and your muses are making it fun and bearable :D

    I just love the question, and my all time fave ‘guilty pleasure’ is Dove Bar, and not just any Dove bar. It has to be Almond Dove Bar, and by now my DH knows my moods so well that he would buy them for me as soon as he spots my mood swings ;D

    Mel

    • Mel, thank you so much for hosting me! It was really fun to do the interview, and I’m thrilled with how you ‘cast’ the girls :)

      I’ve never had an Almond Dove Bar, but it sounds right up my alley. And good work training your DH to buy them as needed ;)

  6. If I’m looking for a mood boost, I’d go for dark chocolate.
    If I’m looking for a cozy meal it would be chicken – roasted or fricasee with dumplings.

    • Diane, thank you for the comment – and for broadening the definition of comfort food :) Now you have me hungry for roast chicken! Potatoes are another comfort food for me – a baked potato with butter and sour cream is sometimes the best food in the world.

  7. Sara -

    My favorite comfort food in chopped chicken liver! Hum, I don’t think anyone else has that listed! When I was growing up in a small city near Albany, NY there was this great Jewish delicatessen near my home where I “discovered” it. Believe me I was the only one in my family who would eat it but to me it’s delicious and it was also the one thing I craved when I was pregnant with my first son.

    Fortunately for my husband we had recently moved to Rhode Island from Florida where he was stationed at NAS Cecil Field during Vietnam and there was a little Jewish deli near where we lived. Since then we moved to the other end of the state and no deli to be found here. My husband is Italian and there are plenty of Italian restaurants around (as well as places to buy pizza and clam cakes and chowder) but chopped chicken liver? Nope – no where to be found! I’m still trying to find someone’s grandmother’s secret family receipte so if anyone out there has one please let me know!

    • Hi Jeanne – this is certainly a first :) I’ve never heard of chopped chicken liver as a comfort food! I’ve never tried it, but I wouldn’t consider it weird – I always enjoyed eating the chicken heart when my mom fried a whole chicken, so maybe I would like the liver too? But I won’t go so far as to add it to my comfort food list yet :)

      Thanks for commenting, and good luck finding a recipe for this!

    • OMG! How cool!

      This sounds like something my mom’s (Serbian) used to make and a restaurant here by me served and on occasionaly I went to indulge in…

      You would chop onions, saute in oil (Canola would be best), then when onions are a bit on the golden-brownish side, she’d dump chopped chicken liver in, cover and saute some more. Liver is quickly done, so stay close to it, keep folding it in and about 15-20 min. into it she’d put pepper and Vegeta (try Googling it to find out what it is-as far as I can see it’s sort of seasoning) but not too much and 5 min. after it should be all done, but make sure the livers are tender :D

      ENJOY!!!

      Mel

  8. My favorite confort food is Chicken Broccoli Casserole. It always takes me back to my childhood when my mother would make this.

    I loved this interview and cannot wait to read the stories of these wonderful women and the men they love.

    I was not a fan of reading in my younger years but came to find a love for it when I was 26 when a friend lent me The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I tell people that the book changed my life. It has brought such a love for reading into my life. I also have this HUGE love for history. I’ve been nothing but enriched on this road I stumbled upon 20 years ago. My question for you is, what was the defining moment in your life that lead you to writing? Is this something you’ve always yearned to do or did it find you later?

    • Hi Leah – thank you for stopping by! I love chicken casseroles of all sorts – I grew up in Iowa, so casserole definitely counts as comfort food :)

      I’m so thrilled that you found a book that got you into reading. I think I was interested in writing because I fell in love with reading at a very young age. I had a book-a-day habit through most of my childhood – thank goodness for libraries! I read all sorts of stuff, but historical always held a special place in my heart, starting with Laura Ingalls Wilder, moving on to Anne of Green Gables, and then reading historical romances starting as soon as I could start sneaking them into my room. So there wasn’t really one “it” moment for me – although I suppose the closest thing to an “it” moment was when I realized that I would rather be writing novels than doing the corporate job I’d pursued after college.

      Hope that answers your question – thanks again for your comment!

  9. Fun to read the responses! And funny that I just made lemon bars for this weekend! Delicious, though I will forever think rhubarb bars are the best.

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