Better to Marry Than to Burn
Release Date: April 2018 – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Let’s have a read…
“Our children?” She swiveled in her seat. “You made no mention of wanting children, just marital relations as necessary. I understood that to mean intercourse.”
“I wrote I wanted to leave a legacy.”
“A legacy. Not a dynasty.”
“Legacy. Dynasty. Is there really so sharp a distinction?”
“To my mind there is. I understood you meant to affect future generations—endow schools, found churches, create civic associations. I didn’t realize that meant children. I agreed to having sex, not having children.”
“Of course I want children.” His brows grew heavy as he frowned. “Doesn’t having sex lead to having children?”
“Not with the right precautions.”
His frown deepened. “Precautions?”
“There are many ways to prevent your seed from taking root, Mr. King.”
“I want children, Mrs. King.”
Her lips twisted and her brow furrowed, but she kept her silence.
“All right,” she said. “You can have children with any woman you like. I won’t stop you. I free you from any claim to fidelity.”
“Legacy—or dynasty if you will—means legitimacy. No bastard will carry my name, not when I have a wife to bear me children.”
Her tone signaled she didn’t.
WOW! Now that’s an excerpt! Okay, let’s find out a little more about the creative mind behind the words. Michal, hello and welcome! How about telling us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family?
I’m a retired protestant minister who writes in three different romance genres: inspirational, gothic and erotic. This past year I’ve thrown my hat into the women’s fiction ring as well. I’m a native New Yorker, raised in Brooklyn from the time I was two and lived there for sixty years. My favorite thing to do was sit on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. I relocated to the Southwest two years ago with my husband of thirty years and our two cats, Scully and L’il Cat. Since we have no children, my mom calls them her grand-cats.
Finding articles and books to help me flesh out my heroine’s background. There’s lots of writing on the experience of former slaves. Unearthing information on Northern Blacks who’d never been slaves or who may have had ancestors who were slaves during colonial times but were at least two generations removed from slavery was the challenge. I lucked into W.E.B. DuBois’ sociological study, The Philadelphia Negro which documented the lives of Negros in the seventh ward of Philadelphia in the 1890s. Although ten years later than my story is set, DuBois’ work gave me a framework to latch onto. The documentation is meticulous and phenomenally instructive. I was able to compile a background for Queen that made her believable.
I struggle with research a lot! I’m really interested in your story and your take on such a relevant time in our nation’s past. What inspired this particular story?
My love for Much Ado About Nothing. I have always loved the one-upmanship battle in the relationship between Beatrice and Benedict. Since I write historicals set in the late 1800’s I went through a “what if” that posited Benedict as a former slave making a new life for himself in the West and Beatrice as his free-born Northern mail order bride.
I love “what if’s” and how that can truly flesh out a character’s weaknesses and strengths. What do you like best about your heroine?
I like how brave she is, even though she was scared. She refused to let others determine her destiny. Faced with choices she’d never make, she refused to settle for someone else’s second best. Even though it made her vulnerable, she stepped boldly into a future of her own making.
LOVE THAT!! I was literally just talking to a friend about how we, as women today, stand on the shoulders of so many INCREDIBLE warriors of yesterday while also helping the women of tomorrow stand even taller. So brave! Tell us about your journey from an aspiring writer to a debut author?
My journey started with a challenge from my mother-in-law. I was writing X-Files fan fiction at the time and she asked how come I didn’t write about my own characters. I had done some fiction writing in college and had submitted to magazines, only to get encouraging “keep trying” notes. Shortly after my MIL’s challenge, I heard a segment on This American Life about Romance Writers of America. I figured that would be a good place to start, so I became a member in 2003. I joined several chapters one of which was the inspirational romance chapter that had a Finish the Book program. If you finished a draft in one year, a published author would give you a 25-page critique. So I did. The same chapter also had a contest for unpublished authors so I entered my finished novel in it and won second place in 2006. Two years later I submitted the book, Through A Glass Darkly, to White Rose Press (then a part of The Wild Rose Press), thinking I’d be rejected and could apply for PRO status with RWA. Instead, the book was accepted and became my first published work. Go figure.
What a fantastic way to begin! And what do you find most challenging about writing a book?
For me, it’s forcing myself to actually write the story. I’m such a plotter than once I’ve outlined the story, I fall into the Hitchcock syndrome. It’s said once he storyboarded the movie, he then was bored with it. That’s me. I’ve told the story so well in an outline I feel like why do I have to write it?
I can relate to that so much. Your title, Better to Marry Than to Burn is eye-catching and memorable, where did the inspiration for that come from?
The absolute worst advice for getting married I can think of. The actual phrase that supplied the book’s title is a line of scripture from King James Version of the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth: “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
And do you have a favorite quote?
I am deliberate and afraid of nothing – Audre Lorde
Amen! Have you ever written any other books that are not published?
Have I ever! So many in fact that I’ve categorized all my stories according to Robert Heinlein’s Rules for Writers, in particular, Rule #2 (Finish what you’ve start), #4 (Put what you’ve written on the market) and rule #5 (Keep it on the market until it sells). I hope by the end of 2020 to see the contents of those lists decrease considerably.
Terrific goal! Any new projects on the horizon? (or previous works to highlight)
I’m trying my hand at Women’s Fiction. Call me ambitious, but I’ve always loved Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas. I learned of a contemporary African American adaptation of the first opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen where the gold sought after is James Brown’s first gold record. It got me to thinking what if I tried my hand at adapting all four of the Ring cycle operas to an African American setting during the Gilded Age in New York City, but from the female characters POVs. I’ve completed the first draft of the first story, entitled Or What’s A Heaven For? I’ve begun outlining the second based on Die Valkyrie, entitled A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women where the Valkyrie are sisters of a sorority of Black women writers. I’ have notes for the third, which of all the stories is the only romance and the fourth which takes place in 1919, a year noted for the incredible number of race riots perpetrated on communities of color throughout the US. A perfect analogy for the Twilight of the Gods as well as enabling the stories to come full circle from the women’s POV as 1919 is the year before universal suffrage was granted to women in the US. I’m excited to see where I end up.
I’m really excited to see too! You are such a delightful person, Michal, thank you for coming on today. Is there any final thoughts you have for your readers?
Thanks for connecting with my work. If anything I’ve written has piqued your interest in African-American history and African-American romance, I’d love to talk.
I asked Ms. Scott for one more excerpt and she obliged…
Caesar looked at Queen. His eyes glistened with unshed tears. She swallowed hard, unnerved by the sight. Her lips trembled.
Reverend Warren smiled. “Caesar, you may kiss your bride.”
Kiss? Queen flinched. There’d be no kissing in this marriage. She’d promised to be his wife for two years with sex provided at agreed upon intervals. At the end of two years that requirement would end, and she’d be free to live as she chose. She could go anywhere she pleased, especially with the respectability of missus before her name and Caesar’s promised severance. No. This coupling made them business partners. Business partners did not kiss.
She extended her hand to seal their arrangement. He returned the handshake, but instead of releasing her, his too rough fingers imprisoned hers and pulled her to him. With his other hand, he captured the back of her head and secured her mouth to his.
A squeal of surprise parted her lips. His thick tongue swept into the shelter of her mouth. The assault ambushed her with pleasure and vanquished her resistance.
Her hands rose, as if of their own volition, and pressed against his chest. The firm muscle beneath his shirt coaxed her hands to linger, to explore— however discreetly—the muscle beneath her palms and fingertips.
Caesar broke off the kiss.
The embrace didn’t last more than a few seconds, but Queen swayed, robbed of reason and resentment.
If you would like to purchase Better to Marry Than to Burn, here’s your chance!
The Wild Rose Press:
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Raspberry Zinger Tea
Oxford comma, yes or no?
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I can no longer see it
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Comfortable pillows for my back
Plotter or pantser?
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Key Lime Pie
Jamie Fraser (Outlander) or Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades)?
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Are you earth, wind, fire or water?
If you would like to contact the lovely Michal Scott, check out her links below…
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2TSHzRn