She wrote her first story at eight-years-old. It was about apple tree gnomes. Barbara Monajem has come a long way since then and is now an award-winning author. Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen is the first book in the Rose and McBrae Mystery series.
Barbara said Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen started with a feeling that political correctness was not working in today’s society. “No matter how well-intentioned it was at first, it ended up covering up prejudices rather than getting rid of them. Instead of lip service, genuine change in the hearts of people is required.”
Because Barbara writes Regency Romances, she was familiar with writing in a historical setting. “I decided to write about a character who is quite un-PC by today’s standards, but was quite normal by the standards of England in 1811, and show how she changes and grows…and how she blunders, sometimes unforgivably. All this while she’s solving mysteries, of course. Lady Rosamund’s process of change is similar to what people must go through now, but many of the prejudices are different.”
It was quite a challenge to put myself into the mind of an aristocratic lady from two hundred years ago. ‘Being’ her—writing from such an intimate point of view—was sometimes a bit scary, as it led to close examination of my own prejudices. Which attitudes from my childhood led to certain patterns of thought, and how have they changed? Did I really used to think like this or that? Why was it sometimes so easy to understand and predict Lady Rosamund’s thoughts and reactions, and sometimes so difficult?”
She got her man
I always ask writers what kinds of research they do. Barbara wasn’t actually researching her book when she surprised herself. “I didn’t plan this, but it just happened. On a trip to Scotland, I found the hero for my series! He was a waiter on the Isle of Skye – a young man with a twinkle in his eye – and I thought, wow! He’s just what I imagine Lady Rosamund’s friend, Mr. McBrae, would be like. This is unusual for me. I rarely have more than a vague idea of what my characters look like. It’s sort of fun to have a real mental image this time.”