Today I’m featuring Michal Scott who’s first chapter of Better To Marry Than To Burn is included in PASSIONATE CRAVINGS, An Erotic Romance Book Sampler.
Michal would you answer a few questions for us?
Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
I’m a plotter on steroids and so am totally in control of my characters.
What drew you to the characters in this story?
My favorite literary pairing is Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing. So I was drawn to the idea of what if B&B were African-Americans in Reconstruction America, he an ex-slave and she a freeborn Northener.
What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?
The colon. I love receiving permission to keep on talking and the colon does exactly that. : )
Could you tell us a little about your book?
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
Would you share an excerpt?
She pulled the wagon to a stop. “Care to take over?”
She held the reins before him. He nodded. She handed over the reins, crossed her arms and stared at him. “Tell me more about Emma.”
He shrugged. That kind of detail hadn’t been part of the bargain, but…
“Not much to tell. She used to teach us slaves in secret, then openly when Union forces secured our town. I was her star pupil. We married and came West for a fresh start. She died giving birth to twin boys soon after we arrived. They followed her within a few hours.”
A soft light shone at him from her eyes. “Sorry for your loss.”
“None needed. Good comes from bad. Death, not slavery, took my boys from me. They never had to live as someone’s property.” He sat a little straighter. “Our children will never have to worry about that.”
“Our children?” She swiveled in her seat. “You made no mention of wanting children, just marital relations as necessary. I understood that to mean intercourse.”
“I wrote I wanted to leave a legacy.”
“A legacy. Not a dynasty.”
“Legacy. Dynasty. Is there really so sharp a distinction?”
“To my mind there is. I understood you meant to affect future generations—endow schools, found churches, create civic associations. I didn’t realize that meant children. I agreed to having sex, not having children.”
“Of course I want children.” His brows grew heavy as he frowned. “Doesn’t having sex lead to having children?”
“Not with the right precautions.”
His frown deepened. “Precautions?”
“There are many ways to prevent your seed from taking root, Mr. King.”
“I want children, Mrs. King.”
Her lips twisted and her brow furrowed, but she kept her silence.
“All right,” she said. “You can have children with any woman you like. I won’t stop you. I free you from any claim to fidelity.”
“Legacy—or dynasty if you will—means legitimacy. No bastard will carry my name, not when I have a wife to bear me children.”
Tell us about yourself.
Michal Scott is the pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, a retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. History has been an old passion of hers. Romance a recent one. The opportunity to combine the two came in the publication of her first erotic romance, One Breath Away in 2016. Ever in love with the honesty in the heat level of all things erotic, she writes erotic romance without a faith arc as well. She began writing romance seriously since joining RWA in 2003 and had her first novel — an inspirational romance — published in 2008 under the pen name Anna Taylor. She writes romances to supply happily ever afters and give insight into the African American experience in the US.