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The Second Mrs. Thistlewood by Dionne Haynes - Book Tour

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The Second Mrs Thistlewood
Regency England. A land of oppression and social discontent.
Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.
Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.
But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?
Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.

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Author Q&A

Favorite childhood memory involving books?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and less keen on sleep. As a child, my mum or dad would come upstairs and insist I switch off the light and go to sleep or else I’d be tired for school in the morning. I would do as I was told, wait for them to go downstairs, switch the light back on and carry on reading. When I heard them come upstairs at their bedtime, I’d quickly switch the lamp off and pretend to be asleep – but the lamp had an inner segment that rotated when the lightbulb was hot, and it would keep spinning for several minutes after switching it off. As a result, I was caught so often for reading late at night!

I also had a phase of reading under the covers with a torch but was so engrossed in whatever book I was reading that I didn’t hear the sound of footsteps coming and was caught far too easily.

Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Actually, no. I’ve always enjoyed making up stories, but my ambition was to be a doctor, and I put my heart and soul into that. I graduated from medical school in 1992, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to switch careers and become an author.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Happy. Caring. Determined.

What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
Hidden figures.
I love this film. When we think of space exploration, I’m sure most of us think of men cloaked in spacesuits and walking on the moon. This film is about the African-American women who propelled America forward in the space race via their vital roles within NASA. Based on a true story, it reveals the amazing contributions they made despite being subjected to racism and sexism. These women are inspirational and deserve wider acclaim.

If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be?
An elephant! Elephants are beautiful, majestic creatures. I love the way they work together as a herd, respecting the matriarch and caring for their young. I’d have to have a large home bordering a well-protected game reserve as I wouldn’t want poachers anywhere near my elephant and I’d want him or her to be able to roam free with other elephants.

Have you ever met anyone famous?
Yes, I have. I’ve met a few famous sportsmen at events I’ve attended, and I had the honour of meeting Jackie Mann not long after he was released from captivity in Beirut in 1991. I’ve also met one or two famous people in my professional capacity as a doctor, but obviously I can’t tell you about those!

What is the first book that made you cry?
Unforgettable – Black Beauty. The terrible things that beautiful horse endured before finding happiness!

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Approximately 2 months to write the first draft, followed by another couple of months to edit and rewrite. Then it’s a case of editing, editing, editing, looking for holes in plots and polishing the story. I suppose it’s about eight to ten months in total, but that doesn’t include the research that goes into it before I start writing.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Many of my characters are fictionalised versions of real people and so they have their real names. For the characters I create to join them, I look at birth and marriage records for the era, or old newspaper reports and select names that were in use during the period.  I often come across unusual names that I jot down for future use. One name I look forward to using is Ichabod, but I haven’t found a place for him yet!

If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
Cry! What an awful thought – it means the human race has been wiped out by something and I don’t think I’d cope with the loneliness and the absence of my loved ones.

What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life?
Dr Dolittle. Imagine being able to talk to the animals. I’d be chatting with elephants first.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Yes! If you want to write a novel, do it! It takes a long time, and like anything, it takes practice to hone the skills required. I spent five years at medical school and three years in postgraduate education to qualify as a General Practitioner (family doctor). It took five years to get to the point of publishing my debut novel, and I’m still learning. It takes dedication and commitment, but so do most worthwhile goals in life.

What book do you wish you had written?
The Handmaid’s Tale. Wow! What a story!

What is your favorite genre to read?
I read widely and historical fiction is my favourite, but I’m also partial to a good thriller or police procedural.

Author Bio –
Dionne is a retired doctor, living in Plymouth with her husband. She has a passion for history, the great outdoors, good food and life in general. With her medical career now well behind her, she is enjoying a second career as an author.
In 2015, Dionne finished writing her first novel The Provenance of Lilly, but after careful reflection and consideration of some harsh criticism, she decided not to put it into print. Instead, she worked hard at honing her writing skills, and published her debut novel, Running With The Wind, in 2019. She is currently working on a sequel which will form Book One of The Trelawney Wives series.
Dionne graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992, and started her medical career in the Royal Air Force. In 1998, she left the military to have her son, and worked in General Practice and Occupational Medicine. The opportunity to retire came in 2014 and Dionne did not hesitate to take it, relishing the opportunity to delve into history books and begin her writing career. Although no longer practising medicine, her medical background has some influence in the plotting of her stories.
While keen to maintain historical accuracy in her writing, Dionne creates stories from real events with sparse recorded details, allowing her imagination to take over and tell a tale of what may have occurred.

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