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February 2019: Hardest Character
~ Madeleine McDonald ~

CTR asked:

Who was your hardest character to write? And why?

Madeleine McDonald said:

My historical romance A Shackled Inheritance began with the true story of a sugar plantation owner in the West Indies in the 1800s, who willed his money to two illegitimate daughters, one of whom was severely disabled. As a writer, I play around with bare facts. What if the man also had a legitimate daughter back in Scotland? What if that daughter defied convention and crossed the ocean to meet her unknown sisters? So my heroine Abigail was born.

And my hero? To introduce conflict, lawyer Euan had to sympathise with the abolitionist cause. Yet, for me, the most interesting character, and the hardest to write, was my heroine’s sister Desiree, a free woman of colour who does her best to snare her sister’s intended. I would have liked her to succeed but, weighing the reality of history against the demands of fiction, a conventional happy ending was impossible for Desiree.

In the book, both sisters crave the social status and financial security of marriage. For Abigail love and marriage go hand in hand. Her sister looks reality in the eye and knows the only alternative in a racially divided, hypocritical society is to seek a rich protector.

The large and prosperous free coloured community, as it was then called, was composed of the mixed race descendants of British settlers and African slaves. Although equal in law, the free coloureds were held at arms’ length by the Europeans – apart from men looking for concubines. In my research, I found one telling reference to churches charging coloureds more than whites to rent their pews. Like others in her community, Desiree leads an ambiguous, almost schizophrenic existence. Desperate to deny her African heritage, she treats the slaves she owns with contempt and cruelty. Although I could understand her reasons, those were the pages I found most difficult to write.

Desiree stays in my mind and maybe one day I will write her story. In the meantime, don’t judge her too harshly.


Enchantment in Morocco by Madeleine McDonald cover

Enchantment in Morocco

[Contemporary Romance]

Emily Ryan is maxed out on her credit cards and stranded in Morocco. Rafi Hassan expects others to obey him without question. When he offers Emily a financial lifeline she wishes he would offer her more.

On top of the inconvenient emotions unleashed by Rafi’s compelling green eyes, Emily clashes with his acceptance of the centuries-old traditions that dictate life in the sleepy village of Taghar. Will she succeed in persuading her employer to allow his teenage daughter Nour more freedom?

As the seasons turn and the olives ripen, Emily dares to dream of winning his heart—until she and Nour face danger from an unexpected quarter.

Available in Ebook:


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