The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Welcome Rogue Phoenix Press author, Nickie Fleming!

Hi Nickie! I think this is the first time we've met so I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your work. I wish all the best with your ongoing tour - let's get started!

1)   Did you set any goals for 2012?
I always try to set some goals. This year, I want to finish another manuscript and as far as I can judge I’ll manage to get it done in a couple of months.

2)   What is the best part of the writing process for you?
Writing allows me to use my fantasy endlessly. It is ever so nice to be allowed to create characters or situations and having them do what YOU want – it’s a bit like playing to be God.

3)   The worst part?
I don’t think there is anything bad about writing. I always feel good when I’m busy. But I can’t stand people talking to me – I need absolute quiet to be creative (which doesn’t mean the radio can’t be on, but it simply doesn’t register as disturbing).

4)   What is the book you wish you’d written?
Hard question. There are so many great books! But if I have to make a choice, I’d go for a book that sold millions, like some authors I know have managed.

5)   Favourite author/s & book/s?
I read a wide variety of books and genres and again it’s hard to give only one or two favourites.
In the romance genre, I like to read Karen Hawkins, Teresa Medeiros, Kathryn Caskie, Mary Jo Putney, Grace Burrowes and Sabrina Jeffries.
In the detective/thriller genre I prefer Harlan Coben, Ann Cleeves, Peter Robinson, Jeffery Deaver, Christopher Fowler, John Connolly, Peter Doherty, Tami Hoag, Val McDermid and Richard Montanari.
In the adventure genre my favourites are Clive Cussler and Steve Berry.

6)   Tell us about your latest release?
The Gold Crucifix is a novel set in 17th century England and begins during the Civil War. It then continues into the Restoration and well into the reign of Charles II.
It tells the story of a young girl, who grows up in a village inn, and is called Sarah Jennings. When her mother dies, she finds out Amos Jennings is not her real father.
It unsettles her and even scares her. How is she ever going to find that long lost father? She only has a name: Davenport – and a description of his looks. In these circumstances, she meets Walter Carey, who is the heir of Lord Linfield who used to have the mansion close to her village.
Walter takes an interest in the girl and later on offers her a position into his household.
More problems arise when his younger brother Richard comes over for a visit, and he assumes Sarah is Walter’s mistress…
To escape all of these troubles Sarah runs off to London where in the course of time she becomes one of the first female actresses of the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane – to much acclaim, even of King Charles…

7)   Tease us with a blurb/short except
This is where Sarah first meets Richard:

It happened in the last bend of the lane, just before the clearing where the lawns and flower-beds of the manor became visible.

All at once Sarah heard the thundering of a horse in full gallop, and before she could even jump to safety, she was pushed off the road into the soft grass of the verge. She was so stunned she did not hear the curse of the horseman and how he pulled his mount to a standstill.

Slowly, she crawled to an upright position and immediately noticed the pain in her right knee. Neglecting the fact that her basket had fallen and its contents were shattered over the path--some of them trodden on--she started to rub her knee fiercely. Only then did she notice the man, who had turned his horse and who was now throwing disdainful looks in her direction.

Suddenly, she realized what danger she had barely escaped. This notion triggered a fit of anger, which became so violent she turned hot and enflamed. Returning his glances with eyes that shot fire, she snarled, "You fool! You could have hurt me!"

The look in his eyes remained cold, but the tone of his voice revealed a show of interest.

"In case you shouldn't know, let me warn you that you find yourself on private property," he said.

She refused to be intimidated and was quick to answer. "So right you are. But I am the housekeeper of the Grange…sir," and she put all her contempt into the word, "and I have every right to be here. I was walking alongside the road and you should have been more careful! The least you can do is offer your apologies to me, and if you're a gentleman, you will help me pick up my belongings."

8)   What is your favourite attribute of the hero and heroine?
Sarah is a woman with a strong mind. I like woman who have a mind of their own and don’t allow others to dictate them.
Richard is a typical male: full of himself, strong but intelligent enough to realize his feelings also deserve consdideration.

9)   What’s next?
The new project has the working title The Black Coach. The idea for this more gothic novel comes from a short story I wrote some years ago. It was about a black coach which rambles through Pickering village and is said to be occupied by the Devil… So I wondered, where did the legend originate? What I’m doing now is set the story two centuries earlier and the black coach indeed plays an important role in the plot.

10)                  Tell me where you write?

I do my writing wherever I feel good – that can be at home behind my desk, or even on the train, or at work (!).

11)                  Where would you like your career to be in 5 years?
I would be dishonest if I said it doesn’t matter. I’ve always hoped to have a bestseller, sooner or later.

12)                  Where can we find you?
I have my own website, and I’m also present at Twitter and Facebook.  My Twitter account is linked to my Facebook author page, and there’s a link to it on my site.
I also visit numerous writing forums, like Writing Forums and Absolute Write.

The Gold Crucifix
by Nickie Fleming



England, mid seventeenth century. When young Sarah finds out that innkeeper Amos Jennings is not her father, she feels uncertain and scared. Her problems grow bigger when she starts a job as housekeeper and gets involved with two men who both want her love: the earl of Linfield, and his younger brother Richard. To escape these problems, Sarah takes off to London to begin a new life as actress at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Richard cannot forget the young woman her met at his brother’s. He is determined to find Sarah and make her his own--even his wife, despite what his family thinks of it. But love never comes easy. Richard and Sarah will have to face many a storm--even the Great Fire of London--before they can become one.



As Hart had predicted the performance went smoothly. When Sarah appeared on the stage, her armpits were wet with transpiration. Nevertheless she said her first lines without the slightest hesitation and then became fully absorbed with her role.

She not once looked into the auditorium and therefore was not aware of the fact that most of the male audience was paying more attention to her than to the actual play.

In the royal box the king and his brother were more attentive than normal. Charles looked more than once at the leading actress, to his brother’s amusement.

“I won’t pretend Shakespeare is my favorite playwright,” the king whispered into James’s ear. “But this Ophelia… She’s a damned good actress and a pretty wench as well. Is she a new acquisition?”

“I don’t know,” James answered.

“Her name is Sarah Davenport,” George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, interrupted. The duke was one of the gentlemen in the king’s suit. He also was a frequent visitor of the theatre. “She is one of Hart’s new discoveries and he thinks rather well of her.”

“Davenport? Interesting,” Charles commented

He kept silent for a while, completely forgetting the presence of the others. His thoughts lingered away and a secretive smile curled his mouth.

Oh yes, this could become a special occasion indeed…

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nickie Fleming was born and raised in the historical town of Dendermonde, Belgium – home of the legendary Horse Bayard.

She read English Literature at the University of Ghent, and got her master’s degree in philology. Since then, she has been working as a high school teacher.

Her interests besides reading and writing are travelling, skiing in winter and enjoying fine food.



Thanks for being here, Nickie!! Great interview :)

Nickie will award two personally autographed print copies of her novel, The Haversham Legacy, to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (international contest). 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: