Highlighting Historical Romance introduces K.A.Servian and Wellington, New Zealand
How timely! Just before I leave to go there, Historic Wellington, New Zealand, provides the background for Servian’s novel The Moral Compass.
Thought to have been occupied by Māori since 950AD, the first European settlement of the area that was to become Wellington began in January 1840 when Edwin Gibbon Wakefield, founder of the New Zealand Company and a man of questionable morality, sailed into Port Nicholson with the intention of setting up a town. The company’s methods were dubious to say the least and the whole scheme came close to failure on several occasions due to a lack of suitable building plots and difficulty negotiating land deals with the in situ Māori population. The Wakefields did eventually succeed, although in a modified form from their original plans.
In The Moral Compass, Jack Cameron opens his trading emporium in one of the shops that line Lambton Quay (Originally names Beach Street). In the 1850s, the street was not much more than a muddy track running along the foreshore. The wooden buildings were relatively new as they had been rebuilt after a large earthquake in 1848. However, another quake of 8.1 magnitude in January 1855 again destroyed much of the town and lifted the seabed. The unexpected bonus of the extra land exposed allowed for further reclamation and development of the area.
When you see Lambton Quay today, a canyon of glass, concrete and steel, it’s difficult to imagine it as a dirt road running along the waterfront. But this evocative photograph from the 1850s showing the shops of Lambton Quay with the steep hillside behind brings the history of the place to life. I can see Florence, the heroine of The Moral Compass, in my mind’s eye exiting one of the shops and wandering along the foreshore, her shawl wrapped around her as she contemplates all the difficulties she has faced since her arrival in New Zealand.
Reference: ‘Edward Gibbon Wakefield’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/edward-wakefield, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-May-2017
About the Book
Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London. However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.
When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that everything is not as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.
This novel is part one in the ‘Shaking the Tree’ series.
About the Author
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.
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 third novel and her first historical, 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 recently completed a diploma in advanced applied writing. She squeezes writing novels in around teaching sewing part-time and being a wife and mother.
You can follow Kathy on her website https://kaservian.com/ or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KAServian/. Photography is also one of her hobbies. You can view her images on her Instagram feed https://www.instagram.com/kathygiannoulis