Francis. No, this isn't from a cover, but it's a portrait from the time that I think looks a little like him.
Sorry there are no pictures of Miles, Stephen, Hal, Simon and Dare. I haven't come across pictures that look right yet.
(For an annotated book list click here.)
By then I'd been fiddling around with writing a romance for many years, and had a few beginnings of Nicholas Delaney's story (though readers of An Arranged Marriage would not recognize most of it.) In 1976, however, we emigrated to Canada, and my professional qualifications didn't translate. It seemed an excellent opportunity to pursue my dream seriously. Note, however, that it wasn't until eleven years later that I sold my first novel, Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, and another few years after that before An Arranged Marriage came out.
Over the next year I wrote what would become An Arranged Marriage, partly on a clunky little portable typewriter, and when I lost patience with that, in longhand. In the process I created the Company of Rogues, the group of friends Nicholas gathers to help him with his tortuous task. At that point, Lucien, Marquess of Arden, was not a member. He arrived when I wrote An Unwilling Bride many years later, and I realized he'd make a great addition to the Rogues. As soon as I added him, he created lovely threads to weave through. Lucien, after all, is the heir to a dukedom and thus one of the highest in the last. Nicholas is the younger brother of an earl, and thus a commoner. Yet Nicholas is the undisputed leader of the Rogues. Lucien doesn't dispute it, but it doesn't always fit with his lordly view of life and underlying tensions always exist.
The Company of Rogues came about (fictionally speaking) when Nicholas and the rest turned up at Harrow School. Schools in those days were almost anarchical places. A few years previous, Byron had led an armed revolt against the masters, and there was one incident of students blowing in a door to get at a tyrannical master. In addition to the master, always armed with birch and cane, the senior boys lorded it over the junior ones who had to act as servants, or fags. This often moved into abuse such as dragging younger boys around, scorching them at fires, and of course, beatings, since school chaos left the older boys in charge. Nicholas took one look at things and decided to create a small area of civilization. He gathered twelve new boys according to his own gifted whim, and formed a brotherhood of protection. They were not to bully others, or avoid proper duties or deserved punishment, but they would oppose oppression from all quarters. Most bullies and tyrants soon learned to leave them alone.
Whatever system Nicholas used to choose the Rogues, he did not pick boys of the same sort. Knowing Nicholas, he deliberately sought variety, both for the richness of the group and to provide useful skills and qualities later in life. From an author's point of view, this means that there is not a sameness to the novels about them. Each Rogue shapes his story, from the baroque adventures of Nicholas to the cut-throat high-society elegance of Lucien's marriage, and the wild Irish tale of Miles Cavanagh and his Felicity.
The twelve Rogues:
Nicholas Delaney, twin brother of the Earl of Stainsbridge. Eclectic thinker, traveler, idiosyncratic collector. His story is told in An Arranged Marriage(Reissued Nov 1999)
Lucien de Vaux, Marquess of Arden, heir to the dukedom of Belcraven. A damn-your-eyes Regency buck who conceals a keen brain and scholarly interests, until he meets his match in An Unwilling Bride(Reissued, Dec 2000)
Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, son of a diplomat and raised internationally in the highest circles before arriving at Harrow. A linguist with impeccable social skills, he has spent his time in the diplomatic service with a short spell in the Guards. He's looking for a bride, but it's dashed awkward the way impressionable misses swoon at his feet when he can't seem to feel anything in particular for them. He wants a woman who won't embarrass him with devotion. The "Weeping Widow" of a famous romantic poet seems just the ticket.Christmas Angel(Reissue Dec 2001)
Francis Haile, Lord Middlethorpe, a gentle, sensitive man with a core of steel. He lost his father at a young age, so has had responsibility most of his life, especially from knowing he is the dependence of his mother and sisters. He is on the point of offering for the pleasant, thoroughly suitable Lady Anne Peckword when he encounters scandalous Serena Rivington. His life will never be the same. Forbidden (Reissue December 2003)
Miles Cavanagh, heir to the Earl of Kilgoran, a fiery opposer of Irish oppression. He inherits the wardship of an heiress. He doesn't think it will be a daunting task until he meets Felicity -- and the rotter Felicity is determined to marry.Dangerous Joy (Reissue December 2004)
Con Somerford, Viscount Amleigh, heir to the Earl of Wyvern. He was a second son who did not expect to inherit, but, like the good officer he is, he will do his duty. He wishes that duty did not involve an encounter with Susan Kerslake, however. They have a painful past. The Dragon's Bride(May, 2000)
(A connected book to this one, The Devil's Heiress,(August 2000)links into the Rogues, because the heroine, Clarissa Greystone, is a secondary character in An Unwilling Bride. The hero, Major George Hawkinville, is one of the "three guys called George"
Sir Stephen Ball, lawyer and Member of Parliament. A quiet man, but clever. His book is SKYLARK May 2004.
Major Hal Beaumont. Joined the army and lost an arm in Canada. He is in love with Blanche Hardcastle, an actress who was Lucien's mistress before his marriage. He wants to marry her, but Blanche thinks it more suitable to only be his mistress. Their story is interwoven through the other books and will complete in Dare's book..
Simon St. Bride. The Rogue who's never appeared in a book, but who has been mentioned as being in Canada. I found him, wreaked havoc on his life and brought him safely home in THE ROGUE'S RETURN. March 2006.
Lord Darius Debenham, younger son of the Duke of Yeovil. Dare was always a happy soul, bringing cheer, amusement and endless kindness. And then I put him through hell. He's restored to happiness in TO RESCUE A ROGUE, which has been moved up to September, 2006.
Two members were already dead when book time started in 1814. Since this was a time of war, and many younger sons of the upper class joined the army or navy, it seemed unrealistic to have them all alive.
Lord Roger Merrihew, son of the Marquess of Edenbridge, joined the army and died in Spain.
Allan Ingram, joined the navy and died at sea.
Will Dare's book be the last of the Rogues? Yes in a way, as he's the last to marry, but no in all other ways. The Rogues' world is now my Regency world and I'll continue to write spin-off stories. The first one came out in June 2007, in which Dare's sister, Lady Thea becomes involved with "the man who hates the Rogues." Find out about LADY BEWARE here. In 2014 comes A SHOCKING DELIGHT, in which David Kerslake from The Dragon's Bride, meets his match.
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