Spotlight on The Moral Compass

Today’s guest is KA Servian, who brings us her book, The Moral Compass.

Florence is a spoilt young woman shielded from the filth and poverty of Victorian London by her father’s money and status. When he suffers a spectacular fall from grace, she must abandon everything, including the man she loves, and start again in the empire’s furthest colony of New Zealand.

Compromise and suffering await Florence in her new home. Against the odds, she finds security and love. But her decision to risk everything to enjoy some of the trappings of her previous life costs her dearly. She must live with the heart-breaking consequences of the choice she has made.

As the first book in the Shaking the Tree series, The Moral Compass begins a journey that Florence will complete in the sequel, A Pivotal Right.

Link to the book on Amazon – it’s discounted to .99c US for all of February.

An extract from The Moral Compass

Jack watched his wife as she sat poker straight in her chair beside the hearth, needle in hand. With deft movements, she worked the black thread through a piece of fine white lawn. He followed her every move, marvelling at her skill.

“What are you embroidering?”

She smiled as she raised her eyes to his and he noted a pink flush appear on her cheeks. “It is a handkerchief for you. I am putting your initials on it.”

“Can I see?”

She nodded, passing the square of fabric to him. He ran his rough fingertips over the intricately worked stitches. “It is beautiful. You have great talent.”

“It is a shame that I wasted so much time learning to embroider as now I have little need for the skill. Mending and general sewing do not require such fine stitching and I am terribly slow.”

He returned the handkerchief to her. “I am sure that with expertise such as this my mended socks will be the most exquisite in the town.”

She sighed. “I suppose so.”

Setting the handkerchief down on the small table beside her chair Florence picked up a book with a scuffed brown cover and opened it.

“What is that you are reading?” he asked.

She closed the book, keeping her finger inside, and lifted it so he could see the spine. He squinted at the faded gold letters. They were familiar, but some were backwards to his eyes and he could not make sense of the words they spelt. Shifting in his seat, he moved his gaze to the fire. “I canna read them in the dim light.”

She cradled the book like a cherished child. “It is called Pride and Prejudice.” She smiled. “It is one of my favourites. I have read it many times.”

“Why do you like it so much?”

Florence shrugged. “The hero and heroine are so different and at first they do not like each other, but then love grows between them and—” She looked down and gave a self-deprecating laugh. “It’s silly, really.”

He leaned forward in his seat and placed his hand over hers. “It doesna sound silly. Tell me about the hero. What manner of man is he that he is able to convince the lady to fall in love with him?”

“Mr Darcy seems proud and rude but he is shy and finds it difficult to speak freely of his feelings.” She paused. “But then he performs a great act of kindness for Lizzy, that’s the heroine. Well, more for her family, really. Then she sees him for the man he is and—”

“Is he a …wealthy man?”

She grinned, her eyes sparkling in the firelight. “Oh yes, he’s tremendously wealthy. He owns a beautiful estate called Pemberley. It is when Lizzy sees it for the first time that she realises that he is a man she could truly love.”

Jack released her hand and sat back. “Oh, I see.”

“Would you like me to read to you? I used to read to Mrs Branson sometimes. Her eyesight was fading, but she still enjoyed hearing stories.”

He stretched his long legs out. “Yes, I’d like that very much.”

Meet KA Servian

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver and screen-printing to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Never one to do things by half, Kathy designed and made the costume for the cover of her first historical novel, The Moral Compass and has made several other costumes from various periods in preparation for the novels that will follow in her Shaking the Tree series.

Kathy has just completed a diploma in advance applied writing. She squeezes writing her novels in around teaching sewing part-time and being a wife and mother.

You can follow Kathy on her website  or Facebook page . Photography is also one of her hobbies. You can view her images on her Instagram feed



Tea with Rose

Rose checked her appearance in the mirror over the kitchen fire, for perhaps the tenth time in the past half hour. “I do not even know how to address a duchess, Thomas.”

No one on the Dunstan fields moved in such elevated circles. She had checked at the little circulating library, but they had no books covering the eventuality that a merchant’s wife from New Zealand’s gold fields would be summoned to take tea with an English duchess.

An English duchess, furthermore, who had invited Rose to join her sixty years in the past and on the other side of the world, and how that was to work, Rose had no idea. But she held the scented letter in her hand, and it had been delivered by a footman, all in livery, who stepped out of her own pantry and frightened her cook almost into hysterics.

Thomas doubted the whole thing, suggesting that they had dreamt the incident, though he could not explain the note, nor the fact that they’d clearly both had the same dream. Still, he had dressed in his best church-going suit; the one he wore when he needed to impress bankers or investors.

Even after five years of marriage, Rose was still humbled and thrilled that Thomas would always support her.  After her father’s neglect and her uncle’s abuse, she had never thought to find a man she could trust as she trusted Thomas.

“If the footman comes, you can ask him,” he said patiently.

And it was at that moment, the pantry door opened, not onto their shelves, comfortably stocked with all the provisions the growing family of a successful merchant might need. No. There before them was a stone-flagged terrace, looking out over extensive formal gardens filled with summer flowers.

Directly before them, not ten feet away, a table and chairs waited, and a woman elegantly dressed in the fashions of the time of the Prince Regent.

“Good Heavens.” Thomas had gone slightly pale.

“It is astounding, is it not,” said the woman. “Do come in Mr and Mrs O’Bryan. Or is it out? I am so pleased you were able to accept my invitation.”

Rose curtseyed, and led the way through the door, leaving her winter coat and shawl behind in the kitchen. And Thomas, dear Thomas, followed, as she knew he would.

“I am Eleanor Haverford, my dears. You are welcome to address me as ‘duchess’, or ‘ma’am’ is appropriate if you prefer. Please. Take a seat. We have a wonderful opportunity, and I wish to hear all about you.

Thomas and Rose are the hero and heroine of All that Glisters, a novelette in Hand-Turned Tales. Hand-Turned Tales contains two short stories, this novelette, and a novella, and is free to download from most eretailers. Read more about it on my book page, which also has download links.