After watching all the old James Bond movies more times than I care to count, I began to think . . . why is it that the boys get to have all the fun? They always get to be the spies. Or the pirates. Swashbuckling swagger, daredevil heroics, drop-dead looks—yes, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom cut a fine figure with their flashing swords, but I found myself secretly wanting Keira Knightley to pick up a saber and kick some ass. So, I decided to turn tradition on its ear and create a trio of leading ladies capable of beating the men at their own game.
And thus was born Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies, a secret school for Hellion Heroes. I chose to set it in Regency England because the era is so richly romantic. It was a world aswirl in silks, seduction and the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars. A time when old ideas were constantly clashing with radical new ones. What better place for an unconventional female to test her mettle?
Siena, the star of THE SPY WORE SILK (on sale now), is given a perilous assignment: unmask a clever traitor lurking among London’s wealthiest peers before he strikes again. Her only clue is that the man she seeks belongs to an exclusive club of book collectors. And so, armed with only her wits, her blades and her body, she journeys to a remote castle where its members have gathered for a special auction. However, her prime suspect, the enigmatic Earl of Kirtland, proves a far more dangerous opponent that she ever imagined. Is she a match for his steel…
My research includes a good deal of poking around Portobello Road, that delightful stretch of antique markets in the Notting Hill section of London, where one can spend hours poring over all the wonderful vintage jewelry, engravings, weaponry and fashions of the time. And for those who wish to get a peek at the wilds of Dartmoor, check my website ( www.andreapickensonline.com) for photos of the estate that inspired Marquand Castle.