The Trader's Gift #4 in the Traders series, will be published in July 2013, in hardback and (Australia and NZ only) trade paperback, also in ebook format.
Summary of the story
Bram Deagan has a thriving trading business, a beautiful wife and a growing family. Since he has a gift for matchmaking and wishes to see his friends Dougal and Mitchell happily married too, he doesn't hesitate to suggest they find wives.
In England, Eleanor Prescott has not forgotten the ship's captain who was a true friend to her. Dougal McBride told her to come to him if she was free. When her ailing husband dies, she wonders if she dare return to Western Australia. Will Dougal still want her after nearly a year?
Mitchell Nash has asked his cousin in England whether he knows any suitable lady. Though what sort of woman would make such an arduous voyage to marry someone she's never met? For one widow, however, desperate to keep her young son from a cruel relative's clutches, Mitchell's invitation is a lifeline she will grasp with both hands.
Both Eleanor and Jacinta bravely take a huge risk on the chance of happiness and set off for Australia. But for Jacinta at least, the troubles of her old life can't be easily left behind.
Behind the story
Strangely enough, I didn’t plan to write this series. It was all the fault of Bram Deagan (who became the Trader). He was a character in another book (Destiny’s Path) where he was a groom emigrating to Australia with his employer in the mid 1860s, and he was so vivid I couldn’t forget him. He trampled through my dreams, stood between me and the characters I was trying to create for another series and kept insisting I write his story. So I decided to write ‘his’ trilogy. And once again, Bram confounded me. There was not only his story to tell, but those of various relatives and friends. So in the end the series will be five books long.
I’ve loved every bit of research (eg into the history of Singapore, the opening of the Suez Canal, and steamship travel to and from Australia as opposed to the era of the sailing ships). The first book ‘The Trader’s Wife’ was shortlisted for the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year award (romantic elements), to my great delight.
When it came to 'finding' heroines, I had a head start. I'd had the chapter where Jacinta's story starts for over a decade without quite knowing how to continue it. When I get a new idea, I stop what I'm doing to write it down, so I have quite a few of these fragments. But Jacinta didn't fit into my schedule until now. When I started developing the characters for The Trader's Gift, I suddenly realised she would be the perfect woman for Mitchell Nash, so at last was able to use my fragment of a story. She'd been very patient about waiting her time.
I have other fragments waiting . . . There's always another story to tell.
Buying the book
You can buy a copy of The Trader's Gift from any bookshop in Britain or Commonwealth countries. If it's not available, they can order it in for you.
The Book Depository