The Duchess of Haverford is resting from her New Year’s Charity Ball by planning her social calendar for the coming year. “Take dictation, please, Emmaline,” she says to the poor relation who is currently acting as her secretary, until such time as the duchess finds her a husband, a career, or a hobby fitted to her talents.
“The Duchess of Haverford invites authors from throughout the fictionsphere to send their characters to her regular Monday for Tea afternoons,” she begins, and Emmaline obediently writes the words down. Eleanor holds up a hand to stop Emmaline’s pen, as she explains, “I have had people from the far past and the distant future, even from a time after any of the authors are themselves in existence. How it works, Emmaline dear, I do not know. But it is very exciting.”
She gives a wave to indicate that Emmaline might record what she says next. “Please send Jude a note through the contact page on her website, with the date of your preferred Monday and, if you will, the name of the book you are promoting and the character or characters who will visit.”
She pauses, gathering her thoughts. “For the post, Jude will need a purpose-written piece that can be no more than a few paragraphs or up to 1000 words, in which your characters and I hold a conversation over a cup of tea or the beverage of their choice. If you wish, Jude and I can arrange a time and place to write this with you.”
Another aside to Emmaline. “We have a little space on Facebook we cowrite in. Don’t write this down, Emmaline dear. Facebook is a most peculiar fictional space where very little is as it seems, but Jude enjoys it. On the other hand, many writers prefer to simply produce their own piece after reading about visits from previous weeks, and that is perfectly all right. I have, occasionally, had to edit words that have been put in my mouth, but that is to be expected and I do not at all mind.”
She gives her skirts a flick to settle them more becomingly around her. “I look forward to entertaining your characters, and to promoting your book. Yours sincerely etc etc. Eleanor Haverford. There. That should do it.”