The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Book 1 of the Mackenzies / McBrides) is a Bookbub deal today for (ebook, all vendors).
Let me wax nostalgic on the writing of this book. Madness of Lord Ian came to be solely because I fell in love with Ian Mackenzie. I never set out to examine issues, make a point, or to present a neurodiverse hero (that term wasn’t widely used then), or anything of that nature. Ian and his brothers simply walked into my head, and I had to write about them. (The demanded me to–you know how Hart can be.)
At the time, I was deep into other series (Immortals, Nvengaria, Shareem), and in fact it was several years before I was able to start Ian’s book. I was lucky the publisher even accepted it. It was the second book of a 3-book contract, and the contract just said “a historical romance.” I decided to slide Ian in and cross my fingers. (Fortunately, my editor loved the idea and the book.)
I researched my butt off for this entire series. Not only about Asperger’s Syndrome, but the Victorian world and its politics, asylums and the mental health “treatments” of the time, Ming pottery, Scottish history, French history (including the Paris Commune and its demise), gambling, horse racing, the history of Scotland Yard and trials, … and that was just for Ian’s book.
As I moved on in the series, it was art history, oil painting (I learned how to oil paint to find out what Mac would do to prep and mix colors and so forth), horse training and breeding, Victoria’s court and ladies-in-waiting, Irish history and politics, Monaco, ballooning, the history of India and its British occupation, cultural history of the Punjab, automobile history and mechanics, and … so much more.
I never in my wildest dreams thought anyone would like Ian or Ian’s book. He wasn’t a usual romance hero, all growling arrogance and aggression (I saved that for Cam and Hart). He was quiet (usually), and observed everyone else (but not passively).
One thing I wanted to explore with Ian was exactly how a person who did not conform to the norm of the Victorian Age would be treated. Asperger’s and Autism wasn’t recognized until well into the 20th century. How would Ian be viewed, and how would society, including his family, react to him? His father (who was a terrible person), punished Ian for being himself, and locked Ian away when he feared what Ian would reveal.
Ian’s brothers, on the other hand, loved and supported him. The first thing Hart did when their father died was retrieve Ian and bring him home. The book (and series) was also about family dynamics and love.
When the book came out, I expected a few people would like it, and I’d move on with the series, writing them mostly for myself.
I never, ever, ever expected The Madness of Lord Ian to sell as well as it has, or be talked about as much as it has been, both the good and the bad. Some people think it’s the worst book ever. Others cite it as their favorite book and hero of all time.
I remember watching the reviews and avid discussion on this book roll in, my mouth hanging open. How the heck did this happen? My publisher did next to no marketing for the book, and I (because I expected nothing), was happy just to see it release. I probably sent out a newsletter to my small mailing list and that was it.
However, word of mouth, including from reviewers who loved it, picked it up and ran with it. Ian was loose in the world, and many people embraced him. I was pleased but completely and utterly stunned. Still am!
Ian went on to be published around the world, and his brothers’ books are to date my bestselling historical romances. The Duke’s Perfect Wife hit the New York Times bestseller list, and all the books were nominated for (and / or won) multiple awards.
A graphic from the Mackenzie’s Spanish publisher.
I am happy that so many readers have embraced Ian and his family. I spun off three stories about the McBride brothers when I became interested in the family of Ainsley (who married Cameron Mackenzie in The Many Sins of Lord Cameron).
I then went back in time to talk about the Mackenzie ancestors who participated in the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 and fought in the Battle of Culloden: The Stolen Mackenzie Bride, Alec Mackenzie’s Art of Seduction, and The Devilish Lord Will.
Currently I am working on the Mackenzies II, which will follow the offspring of Ian, Mac, Cameron, and Hart (and some McBrides). Jamie Mackenzie (the oldest of the sons) will have his story told first in The Sinful Ways of Jamie Mackenzie, hopefully out this year. (More on that as I get into the book).
Now I’m researching the Edwardian era, women’s education, the history of astronomy, composers of the early twentieth century, and more.
Bookmark made by @inkandmadness for a reader.
I am so grateful to all the readers of Ian Mackenzie who love him. If you have not read Ian’s book, it’s a great time to pick it up at only $1.99! (Price is for a very limited time).
Thanks for letting me talk about Ian Mackenzie, one of my favorite heroes. I do love him!
2 thoughts on “The Madness of Lord Ian is $1.99 today”
The kudos for this book are very much deserved. In a very crowded field, Ian stood out and still does, although at least we do have more out of the norm historical romance heroes to choose from now than we did back in 2011. I also loved that the series was set in later Victorian times, rather than Regency and I think it’s great that the next set of books focusing on the Mackenzie children will be in Edwardian times.
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I can barely remember a time in my life that I didn’t like reading. In the 7th grade, my English teacher gave me a couple of books to read. One was historical fiction and another was a Barbara Cartland historical romance. From that moment on I was devouring historical books, especially historical romances. There have been countless of historical romance books that I’ve read where the historical references were not important; where the writer was focused more on “heaving breasts” and “smoldering eyes”. Although I always enjoyed reading historical romance books, I never found myself totally invested in the characters or their stories. That all changed when I read “The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie”.
I had never read a book where the characters were so well rounded, so clearly described that I felt I knew each one as I had met them and knew them in real life or where the historical details were spot on. In reading the reviews of Ian and Beth’s book confirmed that I was not alone in how I felt. To know how much Ian and Beth’s story meant to you somehow binds me to you as well.
It was this book that introduced me to your other series such as the Shifters Unbound and Captain Lacey series. It allowed me to be there for the introduction of the Below Stairs and Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries.
So thank you Jennifer. I’m so grateful that Ian and his brothers strolled into your head and into your writing. ☺️
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