While it’s true that my first sale in romance was a Victorian historical fantasy short story, I ended up writing contemporary and paranormal romance when I sold book-length fiction. You may wonder how I ended up writing a series about a bakery set in 1880s London. Here’s my story…
2010: Respiratory problems were going to be an issue for my baby, given that asthma is on both sides of his family tree. I wasn’t expecting croup to come into our lives, but it’s the baby form of bronchitis, which I’m all too familiar with. What really surprised me though, was that one of the treatments for it was plunking the young sufferer in front of the television.
I’d understood that you weren’t supposed to expose babies to TV until they were two, but here I was being told to keep my one-year-old quiet, and TV definitely worked. I didn’t want to let him watch non-family-oriented TV though. My days of watching shows like the full-of-dead-bodies Bones were over. Plus, he’d only stop crying if he was resting on my bed, rather than on his floor play area in the living room, our only room with a television. So, I downloaded the first season of Top Chef onto my laptop using Amazon credits (I didn’t have Wi Fi or Netflix back then) and curled us up on the bed. He was mesmerized and in the end came through three bouts of croup with only one trip to the Emergency Room.
Me? I came out of the croup era with a cooking show addiction, because we moved on from Top Chef to the cake decorating shows that were on every day back then. Food Network was our best friend.
I had been writing shorter fiction again, because of sleep deprivation whittling my brain power. When I thought I’d try a novel, I spoke to my friend Eilis Flynn about working together, and she suggested we give steampunk a try. (In 2013, this led to our release of Victorian vampire historical fantasy Wear Black.) I had been writing steampunk with her, then alone, but I started to envision a Victorian bakery where a young woman toiled away in the basement decorating cakes. Soon I had my heroine, Alys Redcake, a cake decorator at her father’s tea shop and emporium. She’s twenty-six and has given up on finding a husband, putting all her love and care into the cakes she decorates so beautifully.
Until one day, she bumps into a handsome man outside the bakery door, and her life changes!
My story was set during the same time period as my steampunk tales, but didn’t require an alternate history world. So in a roundabout way, I made a journey back to Victorian romance.
Here is the blurb for Marquess of Cake:
Coffee. . .tea. . .or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection. . .
Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .
With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?
To read about Marquess of Cake go to
You can purchase there or find all the links to your favorite etailer.
Heather is on a blog tour during the month of July. Check her blog to find out where she is. Many of the blog spots have prizes!
For a chance to win a digital copy of The Marquess of Cake by heather Hiestand, leave a comment below. Good luck!