On the last day of the blog tour for Virginia Heath’s latest novel, A Warriner to Tempt Her, I am over the moon to welcome the author herself as she shines a light on one of her characters … Over to you Virginia …
Allow me to introduce you to Doctor Joseph Warriner, a brilliant Regency physician and hero of A Warriner to Tempt Her. Joe is the third brother out of my four Wild Warriners, and although he crops up in both the previous instalments, like all my books this can be read as a standalone as well as part of the series. The dashing and scholarly Joe is single when his story starts, but hopelessly suffering from a bout of unrequited love.
When did you create him?
Joe first made an appearance in A Warriner to Protect Her. In fact, he plays a significant part in that first book. Although only twenty-one then, and too poor to go to medical school, Joe had already devoured every medical text he could get his hands on and his knowledge helps to save the life of the heroine. When I began my Wild Warriners series about a down-on-their-luck family who has inherited the worst of reputations, I wanted to make sure that each of the four brothers, although so similar in looks had distinct characters. Jack, the eldest was the responsible one, former soldier Jamie was the brave one, the youngest Warriner, Jacob, is a charming rake who lacks purpose in his life and Joe was the driven yet sympathetic genius. Those traits shone through in book one and gave me solid foundations to build upon his character by the time his book came along.
Did you write the book to accommodate Joe or Joe to accommodate the book?
I already had the character, so I knew that A Warriner to Tempt Her would be a medical romance as well as a historical. The history of medicine has always fascinated me, and something I used to teach back in my history teacher days. 19th century medicine in particular fascinated me because it was so diverse. The century started with medicine little different from what it had been during the middle ages, but by the end of the century huge strides had been made thanks to a few intrepid and curious individuals who devoted their lives to improving it. One of those intrepid scientists was a country doctor called Edward Jenner who noticed that people who worked with cows were automatically immune from the deadly killer smallpox. His story intrigued me and the idea for a book had been bubbling away for years. After years of study and experimentation he proved that exposing a patient to the harmless disease of cowpox by making a small incision and putting a tiny bit of that disease into their skin prevented them from catching smallpox. He called this vaccination (vacca is the Latin word for cow). Despite a 100% success rate, the people at the time were outraged by this. Cow diseases shouldn’t be put into humans. It was considered ungodly! I always wanted to write about that and was delighted to be able to weave it through Joe’s story, amongst other genuine medical details from the Regency.
What do you like most about him?
Joe Warriner is the most reasonable and good-hearted hero I have ever created. He is selfless and genuinely wants to use his medical knowledge to help people- even those who hate his family. He always tries to see the good in people and rarely loses his temper. There is a passage in the book which says he only allows himself to lose it once in a decade, but when it goes, it’s something to see. Of course, there had to be a scene where he totally loses it and he does so in a wholly justified but spectacular fashion. No hero can be too perfect, after all.
What do you like least about them?
Probably that he is so good-natured that he puts up with far more than he should. There are some nasty Warriner haters in this book, yet Joe still tries to reason with them when we all know you can’t argue with stupid!
Did your early readers/editorial team like them to start with or did you have to change them in any way?
When I told my editor over lunch that Joe’s story revolved around a smallpox, she did pause and blink, bless her. But as she is a fabulous editor and trusts me to do my job properly, all she said was ‘We’ve never had a story about smallpox before.’ She confessed later that she was a bit apprehensive but she loved it from the outset and the only changes I had to make was to a few modern phrases which had slipped into the manuscript. She is a stickler for historical accuracy!
Do they have any similarities with anyone real? Who? What? Why?
Joe is a mishmash of all the great scientists and doctors who transformed medicine in the 19th century. The aforementioned Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur who discovered germs, James Simpson who worked tirelessly to find a way to manage the pain of childbirth and gave us the first anaesthetics. He’s called Joe after Joseph Lister, the man who created the first antiseptic to prevent infection. My Joe uses gin to clean wounds and his medical tools in homage to that great man, because he notices that wounds heal faster when they are scrupulously clean. That was cutting-edge science during the Regency when doctors didn’t even wash their hands between patients. And like Joseph Lister and James Simpson, Dr Joe Warriner went to the same medical school they did in Edinburgh.
What are your plans for them?
Joe turns up again in the final instalment of my Wild Warriners quintet – A Warriner to Seduce Her which comes out in May. All the brothers do, but at the end of that book I thought it would be fun to write an epilogue set in 1830, twelve years after A Warriner to Tempt Her is set, so you get to take a peek into his and the rest of the clan’s happily ever again. However, as the first book of my next King’s Elite series picks up straight after Warriner four leaves off, a bit of Joe leaks into that book too. Knowing me, because I love them all, those Wild Warriners will continue to crop up in future stories. I just can’t seem to let them all go.
Would you be friends in real life?
Absolutely. In fact, given half the chance I’d marry him. Or Jack. Or Jamie. Or Jake.
OOoo! We all love a #bookboyfriend so I think I’ll be adding these to my TBR! Want to know more? Here’s the blurb …
A shy innocent
She’s wary of all men.
In this The Wild Warriners story, shy Lady Isabella Beaumont is perfectly happy to stay in the background and let her sister get all the attention from handsome suitors following a shocking incident. However working with Dr Joseph Warriner to help the sick and needy pushes her closer to a man than she’s ever been before. Is this a man worth trusting with her deepest of desires…?
Want to be in with a chance of winning a copy? There are five e-books up for grabs, just click the cover image below …
Make sure you follow the rest of the tour for reviews and more guest posts from the author.
About the author …
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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