Round Robin – Beware – Danger – Violence

This month Rhobin asks – How do you handle or use violence or any type of danger in your stories?

While the Regency is attractive in so very many ways, it was a time of huge inequality, injustice, hunger and, yes, violence. The absence of an established and regulated system of investigation, apprehension and conviction had a massive impact on how people led their lives. Duelling was almost on the way out as a re-dress for ‘insults’, but not quite gone and many families were bereft as today’s are by the rising tide of youth with knives. In addition, the head of the family, almost always a man, held sway. This had the effect you could predict. There were good ones and bad ones. There were some who cared passionately, but gave rise to the origins of the patriarchal society that feminism needed to kick against. There were some, Mr Bennet we’re looking at you, who didn’t care at all.

Justice was hit or miss and to our modern sensibilities brutal and cruel. What civilised society hangs children for stealing food? What civilised society hangs anyone for stealing food? Why are its citizens starving in the first place?

One of the underlying themes of my first novel, Mariah’s Marriage, was domestic violence. The villain, short of ready cash and feeling ‘entitled’, is frustrated in his attempt to win a rich bride and takes his rage out on his sister. She covers up for him in classic fashion, but our clever and courageous heroine works him out. She then faces another battle – How do you make a decent man who would never perpetrate such violence, understand it happens?

In Bella’s Betrothal, the heroine finds herself in enormous danger but she isn’t immediately able to work out who the greater villain is. Is it the man who has invaded her room at the inn? Is it, as he claims, another who wants to trade on her damaged reputation to justify trapping her into unwanted sex? Although written, I hope, with humour and warmth, the threat is real.


So how do I ‘use’ danger and violence in my fiction? Well, I hope responsibly, without either the need or the wish to glamourize either. They are a part of the fabric of our human experience and as such they have a place.


The Castle Rock










To read what my fellow round robiners think about this hugely important topic go here:

Judith Kopek

Dr. Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

A.J. Maguire 

Marci Baun  

Skye Taylor

Fiona McGier

Anne de Gruchy

Rhobin L Courtright 



The MOST inspiring, romantic or dangerous




Topic: What is the most inspiring, romantic, or dangerous setting you ever come across while reading or imagined while writing? Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

Wow! This is a difficult one because it covers a lot of emotional ground.

There’s a book called The Memory of Love written by Aminatta Forno. It’s set in Sierra Leone after the civil war and I could, with hand on heart, say it includes the most inspiring, most romantic and most dangerous settings I’ve read about. The three main protagonists are the local villain, the visiting UK psychiatrist and the young local hospital doctor.

It’s inspiring because it shows how normality returns to domestic and political life after even the traumas of civil war. And it’s set under huge African skies with endless beaches, too.

It’s romantic because the love between man and woman is central to the story. And because, for one half of one of the couples, the African experience is what tips him into the romance.

It’s dangerous because the possibility of war and outrages, betrayals and acts of superhuman kindness go on forever. And the truth has not always come out in everyday life.

So, the short answer is Sierra Leone.

Part Two: Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

When I’m writing the story and it’s novel length, then yes, I do. That would be nineteenth century Edinburgh or London. It would be after the Napoleonic wars are over and probably just post Regency, although still with the Georgians in the person of George Fourth.

I enjoy that moment when English becomes modern. I studied Anglo Saxon and Middle English as part of my degree and when you get to Jane Austen, there’s a sigh of relief. No more looking up every second spelling in the dictionary or fretting over the grammar.

In terms of place, I love the architecture of Edinburgh, where I live, and London where I am able to visit. I would like to write about Bath, too, but I’ve only been once and that was to buy a wedding present, so I don’t feel I know it well enough. However, I am hoping to include some Scottish country towns in future projects.

When I’m reading, then I’m open to different times and places. I read a lot of historical fiction, but through the good offices of my Book Group, a lot of modern writing, too. The Memory of Love, for instance, was a book group read.

There are other bloggers involved in this topic and you may follow on by clicking  Diane Bator’s link or reach any of them from the links below:

* Lynn Crain at
* Anne Stenhouse at
* Diane Bator at
* Geeta Kakade at
* Connie Vines at
* Marci Baun
* Beverley Bateman at
* Ginger Simpson at
* Margaret Fieland at 
* Fiona McGier at
* Rhobin Courtright at

* Heidi Thomas Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK