Character Interview: Lady Josephine

Back in March of 2017, I had the honor of being invited to post a piece at a blog called History Imagined, a site that takes readers and history buffs deeper into the world of historical fiction. They give authors a platform in which to explore some aspect of history by highlighting their treatment of that detail in their own novels. I was a bit of an outlier, since most of History Imagined’s featured books are straight-up historical novels. THE ILL-KEPT OATH, of course, adds a layer of fantasy to the genre.

For those unfamiliar with “character interviews,” they usually entail the author “sitting down” to interview a main character, much like an actual celebrity profile. I was given sample questions, which I tailored to fit the story arc of THE ILL-KEPT OATH. As Lady Josephine’s creator, I had the luxury of knowing exactly how to push her buttons. I knew, for instance, that she was secretly in love with Lieutenant Quimby, though she denied it. Perhaps a little too vehemently. The resulting interview shows a young lady deeply constrained by her times and longing for many rights we modern women take for granted, such as the freedom to travel, to obtain an education, to love whom one pleases, and to decide one’s own fate.

The History Imagined feature was a fun and imaginative exercise. I hope you’ll have a look here and enjoy getting to know Josephine better.

Female Agency in the Early Nineteenth Century

Quimby dismounted first and handed her down.

As Josephine turned to thank him, he touched her forearm and said in a low voice, “My lady, this situation, I think, is beyond your ken. If you like, I can wait a few minutes, and should you change your mind I—”

“Thank you, sir, but I am determined to confront this ordeal. My family needs me. My cousin needs me, whether he realizes it or not.”

Quimby’s eyes glittered, reflecting the lamplight shining through the front windows. “You are intriguing. A soldier and a lady wrapped up in one package. I admire your courage.”

It was, perhaps, the greatest compliment anyone had ever paid her.

One of my objectives in writing this series was to explore the limitations Nineteenth Century women had in making personal decisions, and then to break those boundaries by giving them power. Not just magical power, though magic is certainly the inciting force in this story, but the power of knowledge and self-determination.

e97af94fd437b839f3561877e87e5f2f--the-woman-in-white-books-to-readShortly before I began writing THE ILL-KEPT OATH, I read Wilkie Collins’s iconic Gothic novel THE WOMAN IN WHITE, which drove home how powerless and dependent women once were. They passed from the care of parents to husbands with little choice in their fates. Depending on whom they married, they might have their every move, from cradle to grave, governed by a man. Certainly, they were socialized to believe that their ultimate goal was to find and marry a good provider.

As a fan of classic literature, I wondered what would happen if I ripped the carpet out from under two ladies who had been born into the most romanticized period of all: the British Regency. Discarding the modern Regency romance formula in favor of a hybrid between Jane Austen’s drawing rooms and Diana Gabaldon’s high adventure, I handed my ladies weapons, magic, and befuddled young men. I gave them a mystery to solve, decisions to make, and rules to flout (or not flout).

And so were born the heroines of OATH. Prudence is stoic, rational, and quietly subversive. She takes her time when making important decisions. Lady Josephine is stubborn, volatile, passionate, and sturdy. She wants to solve everyone’s problems, even if it comes to bending the rules. In THE ILL-KEPT OATH, Prudence and Josephine find out that breaking from the cycle of female dependence means having to solve one’s own problems. In a skirt.

–CC Aune

Greetings and Salutations

Welcome to the world of author CC AUNE. If you like history, literature, music, and art, you’ve come to the right place. If you like historical fantasy set in the British Isles, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Together, we’ll explore behind-the-scenes details from my novels in THE DRUINEACH LEGACY series, follow my other writing projects, and touch on anything else that captures my attention. I welcome your ideas and input.

TheIllKeptOath_cover_ALT_v6First, permit me to introduce you to THE ILL-KEPT OATH:

Two cousins. A dark family secret. A looming rebellion.

In Regency England, a mysterious inheritance draws Prudence Fairfeather and Lady Josephine Weston out of candlelit ballrooms and into the shadows of insurrection.

A newcomer to London society, Prudence longs for the enchantment of love and instead finds real magic in her late mother’s ring. But power brings peril, and strange mishaps culminate in an assassin’s bullet. Ensnared by the web of a malevolent socialite, Prudence forsakes romance to fight for her freedom.

Josephine fears an eternity of confined country life until rampaging trolls, a gang of drunken vigilantes, and a flirtatious officer bring her all the adventure she craves. Compelled by birthright to take up arms, she embraces her newfound, unladylike abilities to shield her loved ones from harm.

As danger drives a wedge through their friendship, Josephine and Prudence must face their magical legacy and the enemy who will kill to control them.