Maggi here, talking about what inspired me to write my novel, DIARY OF A PAINTED LADY.
I’m a fan of black-and-white movies, especially those set in the Victorian era, such as Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, The Woman in White, Wuthering Heights, The Secret Garden and Gas Light.
I planned to write a Victorian Gothic romance, but after seeing the movie, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, I decided instead on a split era novel, set both in the contemporary world and in the Victorian era.
For research, I delved into my mother’s art books on the pre-Raphaelite artists of the 19th Century.
My historical heroine, Giovanna Russo is a model for her artist stepfather, Milo Russo. I envisaged his work to be similar to these fabulous artists.
John Everett Millais’ Ophelia
Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
In Victorian England, two powerful men desire the beautiful artist’s model Giovanna Russo. One is enchanted by her and decides to make her his mistress. The other wants her dead.
When Gina’s diary is discovered in a book shop over a century later, the murderer of her step-father, renowned pre-Raphaelite artist, Milo Russo, is revealed.
During the making of the movie, PAINTED LADY, based on the diary, two actors, Dylan Shaw and Astrid LeClair discover the meaning of true love.
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Read a little about the two actors, Astrid LeClair and Dylan Shaw.
When she came down the stairs dressed in the Valentino black satin bustier dress with its billowing white taffeta underskirt, black stockings and Jimmy Choos shoes, Philippe finally smiled. “I’ve brought your diamonds.” He unlocked his valise and removed a blue-velvet lined box.
Later, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, they walked the red carpet with the flashes popping. Astrid had become better known in England. Fans leaned over the barricade and called to her. Journalists, curious to learn her plans for future movies, constantly interrupted their walk. Astrid gave them just enough. She had become adept at evading leading questions.
The awards were entertaining although Maureen lost to Tilda Swinton. At the after-party, Astrid introduced Philippe to her fellow actors, including Dylan who arrived with a blonde actress on his arm.
Astrid left Philippe who had met a French director he knew, and crossed the room to the hall that led to the powder room. A tall man in a black dinner suit stepped into her path. Dylan’s warm gaze brought that thrill rushing back making her heart beat faster.
“You look beautiful tonight.”
“Merci,” she said smiling. “You look very handsome.”
“Come and talk to me a while.”
Astrid shook her head. “Philippe—”
“Does he remind you of your dear Papa?”
She frowned. “You are very badly behaved.”
He shrugged. “Then I apologize.” If an apology, it was a poor one. Astrid was about to chastise him further but found she didn’t want to. She gazed over his shoulder at Philippe still in heated discussion.
“You make me want to be bad.” Dylan’s hand caught hers. He subtly stroked the inside of her wrist with a thumb. He must have known how her pulse raced. “I want to throw you over my shoulder and run off with you.”
“To your cave?” She managed a flippant tone, despite the charge of excitement at his touch. She stepped back, cautioning herself. She’d had several glasses of wine and her head felt woolly. She didn’t handle alcohol well. It relaxed her body and her resolve. The thought of slipping away with Dylan had become too much of a temptation.
More on Maggi’s Website:
Victorian Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Artists, 19th Century Art, Pears Soap, Maggi Andersen, Irish hero.