Marin McGinnis Interviews Anna Templeton Mason from Secret Promises


Hello, everyone! Thanks for joining us today as we journey back in time to Victorian England. Picture yourself on a clifftop overlooking the North Sea, chatting with a young woman with bright red hair, Anna Templeton Mason.

MM: Good morning Anna! Please tell us when and where you were born.

ATM: I was born on 12 October 1840, in Tynemouth, Northumberland. My father was landed gentry, my mother a gentleman’s daughter from Yorkshire.

MM: Tell us about your childhood. Do you have any siblings?

ATM: No, I was an only child, ignored, for the most part, by my parents. But my childhood was carefree, and much of it was spent in the company of our neighbors, the Masons.

MM: Ah, your husband, Edward Mason. What did you think when you first met him?

ATM: Hmph. When I first met Edward, he was six and I was five. He and his sister Theodora called on us with their mother. He put a frog in my tea. Needless to say, it was not love at first sight, at least not on my part!

MM: Understandable! When did you realize that you were in love with him?

ATM: It was gradual, I suppose. Despite the frog incident, we met regularly to play, and spent hours together exploring, climbing trees, and appalling my mother, who expected me to behave in a more ladylike fashion. It was expected by our families that we would marry eventually, but I didn’t know that I loved him until I was about fifteen. Edward and I were out riding, and we stopped for a picnic under our favorite climbing tree. Over roast chicken and wine he pilfered from his father’s cellar, he kissed me, and I knew.

MM: It sounds very romantic. Do you think romance should be preceded by friendship?

ATM: I think the relationship I share with Edward is the richer for our decades-long friendship, and we would certainly be different without it. But it is always necessary? No, I don’t think so. Sometimes friendship develops later.

MM: Did your life turn out the way you expected?

ATM: *Laughs* Absolutely not! Edward was away for so long, and I was forced to raise our son alone when my father threw me out of the house. Not at all what I was led to expect from my life.

MM: What would you change, if you could?

ATM: My first thought is to wish that Edward had never left, had never spent seven years abroad. But if he hadn’t, perhaps I wouldn’t have my darling Zachary, and I certainly wouldn’t be the woman I am today. We are shaped by all of our experiences, even the bad ones. I might not be so happy today if I hadn’t had them, so I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.

MM: What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do?

ATM: I would love to ride in a balloon. I saw one when I was younger, floating above the fields like a seed carried by the wind. And I should like it to carry me to China, so I can find out how Edward got his scar. He never did tell me!

MM: What is your greatest fear? It is clear it’s not heights!

ATM: My greatest fear is to lose Edward again. Although, as I mentioned, I have been enriched by our experiences apart, it would kill me to be separated from him again. He is the other half of my soul.

MM: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

ATM: I am quick to anger—my father always said it was because of my red hair. When I am angry, I sometimes say things that are painful to those I love.

MM: And the trait you deplore most in others?

ATM: Cruelty. It takes so little effort to be kind, and it can make all the difference in the world.

MM: Do you believe women are the weaker sex?

ATM: Certainly not! It takes tremendous resilience and physical strength to bear and deliver a child—do you think a man could do that? And then to manage a household, raise the children, care for a husband. Look at Queen Victoria and tell me she’s weaker than any man. The British Empire is great because women have made it so.

MM: Excellent point. Do you like to read?

ATM: Oh, yes. I am reading Mrs. Gaskell’s last book, Wives and Daughters. She wrote such wonderful female characters, don’t you think? Edward complains that I become more obstinate whenever I read one of her stories.

MM: What would you say your favorite book is?

ATM: Oh, that’s difficult! I rather like Northanger Abbey. Catherine Morland reminds me of myself when I was seventeen, although I should hope I was never quite so silly.

MM: What is your greatest talent?

ATM: I am a passably good cook, or so I’m told, though I don’t hold a candle to Edward’s sister Theodora.

MM: Is there a talent you wish you had?

ATM: I wish I were musical, but I’m unable to carry a tune. Fortunately Edward and Zachary make up for my lack. With them around, the house is always filled with music.

MM: What is your most treasured possession?

ATM: The silver gull that Edward carved for me. It is so beautiful, and the love that he poured into it is almost tangible. At least to me.


Secret Promise

Falsely imprisoned as a blockade-runner during the American Civil War, Edward Mason yearns to go home. But when after seven years he finally returns to England, the life he expected is gone. His parents are dead, his home destroyed, his father’s legacy stolen, and his girl—his girl is now the single mother of a child Edward never knew.


Abandoned by the man she loved and disowned by her family, Anna Templeton has learned to stand on her own two feet and make a home for her son. Now the successful owner of The Silver Gull tavern, she’s not about to put their happiness in the hands of the one man who let her down so badly.


Edward is determined to regain Anna’s love and be a father to his son. But when a series of suspicious accidents threaten him and those he loves, he must stop the man responsible, or lose everything.


Buy links:    The Wild Rose Press







MarinMcGinnisAbout Marin:

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in romantic tales of years gone by. She lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two standard poodles.


You can find her hanging out at, on her group blog at, on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis, Facebook at, Goodreads at, or Pinterest at