Wednesday 29 May 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: Jane Lark

Illicit Love is inspired by the memoirs of a real courtesan. But while I’ve developed the historical setting of Illicit Love through reading letters and memoirs, which you can hear all about on my history blog, my writing has developed through the years I’ve spent building up an understanding of people, through personnel management. 

An abiding theme has always come through to me, in my research, as I read the words written by people hundreds of years ago, that although the world about them, and the rules they lived by were different, people thought and felt as we do now.

In the years I’ve worked in learning and development and people management. to do this well, I’ve had to establish a level of emotional intelligence, an understanding of people, and learn how they think and respond.

We are all very individual, but, there’s a theory, a theory I believe in through observation, that there are four categories of personality. These were defined all the way back in ancient Greece. The four humours are Melancholia, Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic. They were named by Hippocrates, and this early definition forms the basis for most modern studies on psychology.

And, yes, that is where our word ‘humour’ comes from, Hipocretes classification of personality. 

So how does this sort of theory impact in my writing? Well, none of us fall into one of these humours, we are a mix of them, but we do tend to have one we lean more towards. The personalities, accompanying these humours are described as;

Sanguine = Courageous, hopeful sociable, pleasure seeking and amorous

Choleric = Passionate, energetic, easily angered and bad tempered.

 Melancholic = Introverted, organized, despondent, sleepless and irritable,

Phlegmatic = Calm, unemotional, shy, constant and loyal

Although the full theory is more complex than this, this gives you taste. So imagine now, when building my characters, I have before me, many squares, like puzzle pieces, except they do not have a definite place, I can move them around and put them in any order to make a picture. So I can build my characters from all these pieces and make them all a little different.

And having worked with so many people observing their ‘humours’ and how they respond, and act, speak and move, in comparison to these, I have a huge archive of practical experience to bring my written characters to life too.

So now you are wondering about the characters of Illicit Love. Ellen, is a mix of Sanguine and phlegmatic, and Edward is a mix of Choleric and Melancholic. Which one is their predominant humour? I’ll leave you to read it and decide.

So now then, have a think, what ‘humours’ can you spot in other characters you’ve read, or people you know? And if you had to create a character, what squares would you put together to develop their picture. Then you have to think how that might mean they react, think and feel.

About Illicit Love 

‘Hiding her self-deprecating smile behind her fan, Ellen glances over its top at the gorgeous man across the table. Is it very wrong for her sinful body to want a man like that? How would it feel? How would it feel to be free from her so-called protector for an hour or two and play his games with a man of her choice? Choice was a holy grail; a cup fallen woman longed to drink from. And she’d love defying Lord Gainsborough.

As though pulled by an invisible cord winding between them, Lord Edward’s gaze lifted to her while he contemplated Lord Gainsborough’s call. His eyes widened, darkening, perhaps reading hers, and what appeared to be amusement twitched his lips before he looked back at his cards.’

Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.     

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes. 

 Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee .He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

Can love redeem a life of sin?

In the words of Harriette Wilson, the real 19th Century courtesan, who inspired this love story, ‘and then - and then - and then…’

 If you read, Illicit Love, I value feedback, so please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or any other site you like, and you can also let other readers know what you think on the
Illicit Love Book Club page.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for this chance to speak about, Illicit love, Mama J hearts. I appreciate the opportunity to share the things which have inspired me.

Jane Lark  


You can win a signed copy of Illicit Love plus the goodies pictured.

To enter, simply fill in the form below and leave a 'pick me' comment.

UK entries only please

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. please pick me and thanks for the giveaway

  2. Would love to read this. Pick me :)

  3. Lynsey Buchanan30 May 2013 at 01:32

    please pick me

  4. Please pick me! Pretty please?

    tasnim-sheikh AT hotmail DOT com


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