Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild—not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's—and Penelope's—mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways. . . .
Hello, Maryrose! Please tell what your current writing schedule is like?
Maryrose: I write most days, at home, in the mornings if I can swing it. When deadlines loom there is often a second shift after dinner. I’m too busy to be picky about when and where I write, though; wherever I can sit someplace quietly with my laptop is fine. In spring and summer, sitting outside on my front porch is ideal. I like having the Internet handy to look things up, but it can also be a terrible distraction.
I’m working on the third book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series right now. It’s called “The Unseen Guest” and I’m very excited about it!
Great! How did the idea for this series come about?
Maryrose: I wish I could say there was one “aha!” moment when the whole thing arrived tied up in a bow, but this idea, like most, was a result of a few separate notions colliding and gradually turning into something new. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jane Eyre, the wonderful novel by Charlotte Brontë about a principled young governess. And, like Penelope Lumley, I am very fond of animals, especially dogs, and I have the sort of mind that hears phrases like, “those children must have been raised by wolves” and wonders, hmm! What if they really were? From those seemingly unrelated kernels the concept for the series took shape.
Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?
Maryrose: Miss Penelope Lumley is a proud graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. This alone is enough to make her remarkable, since it’s the sort of school that turns out graduates with excellent educations and a good deal of common sense, but even among Swanburne girls, I would have to say Penelope shows exceptional pluck. At fifteen, she is still very young, but she is genuinely up to the task of taming and educating three children who were raised by wolves. She adores animals and books, and has a particular weakness for the Giddy-Yap, Rainbow! stories, about the adventures of Edith-Anne Pevington and her faithful pony, Rainbow. Penelope is both brave and naïve and doesn’t always know the right thing to do, but she never loses her faith in the no-nonsense wisdom of her school’s founder, Agatha Swanburne, and puts her duties as a governess first. She is a Swanburne girl, through and through.
She sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing with us, Maryrose! Could you please tell us your favorite lines from the book?
Maryrose: The End. Ah, how every writer dreams of writing that line! And then taking a nap. All right, seriously: the truth is I try to write so that every line is worthy of being a favorite line; I think the reader deserves no less. So it’s impossible to pick just a few. However, I always smile when I think of Lady Constance saying this:
“And whose plain and sensible shoes are these?” she demanded of Penelope’s feet. “The rest of you, come out at once!”
Maryrose Wood is a former Broadway actor, comedian, and playwright. She has written young-adult novels and most recently wrote her first middle-grade novel, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.