Kathy Wheeler, writing as Kae Elle Wheeler, is the author of the Cinderella series and shares the protagonist from her latest title.
The Price of Scorn – book IV gives an insight to Cinderella’s evil stepmother’s horrific life, answering the question of why she was so hateful to one of fairy tales most beloved characters, Cinderella.
Please introduce yourself.
I am Lady Hildegard Berenoir Simmon Roche. More infamously known as Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother. It is a ridiculous title some ninny without the sense of a gnat allotted me!
Where were you raised?
I suppose you could say I was reared in the Alsace Region of France since that is where my mother bore me. Since I was seventeen when my father sold me to a brute old enough to be my grandfather, I came into adulthood rather difficultly, around Avignon.
La! Again, with the repetitive and mundane. (sighs) Of course, I was raised by my natural parents, no siblings, as well you can imagine. I witnessed no love lost between the two. But they are dead! And good riddance, I say. I-I do have two lovely and beautiful daughters. Pricilla and Esmeralda. One, of which, would be Queen of Chalmers, if not for my conniving stepdaughter.
Did you attend university?
University? Women do not attend University! Alas, I regret I did not put more effort in my studies. Perhaps things might have worked out differently.
You were a wife and mother then, yes? Did you always aspire to your role?
(softly) Mais oui. I did….at one time, it was all I dreamed.(harshly) For one man. That dream crashed in the blink of an eye. No more questions of him, síl vous plait.
What of extracurricular activities?
What strange questions you pose. I do not embroidery. I suppose my time was spent ensuring my daughters’ safety, um, as well as my own. It was a constant activity.
I suppose you read then. What did you like?
Reading! Bah. Who had time to read when married to a monster?
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?
(sneers)I suppose it was witnessing my mother’s death at the hand of my father…I recall wondering if I’d imagined the entire episode…I thought I’d gone…mad. Is that what you mean?
Is there a place you’d always dreamed in visiting?
I once begged Maman to run away with me to London—anywhere really—to escape Papa’s cruelty. (flinches) She slapped my face. I-I can still feel the sting. I only wished to keep her…safe. (clears throat) My intentions were not appreciated.
Fairy tales don’t always end happily…
Lady Hilda Roche lies upon her deathbed fourteen years after Cinderella and Prince Charming are coroneted as Queen and King of Chalmers. She has nothing but resentment for the stepdaughter who culminates all that was ripped from her. In a tale of heartbreak, the sisters learn how tragedy shaped their mother into the woman she became. The question is: Can the sister forgive her?
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Hilda squinted in the afternoon sun over the array of blooms that normally calmed her. “Lord Roche,” she began. “I cannot—” The words were more difficult to say than she’d envisioned. Her knees shook beneath her skirts and she forced herself to move, lest she collapse. At the low terrace wall, she laid her hands atop.
“Please, your grace. I must apologize for placing you in such a precarious position.”
She glanced at him, his earnest expression tugging at her.
He began to pace. “’Tis true. As I said, I am looking for a wife. But, I feel there is something truly special about you.”
Her short laugh erupted at the irony. “Me, special? Lord Ro—”
“I have not explained to anyone why I need a wife.”
He stopped before her, captured her gaze. “Anyone can see how much you love your children. Your face lights up the dark just saying Lady Pricilla’s name.”
Something inside melted a little. “Oui, Lord Roche. That is so. She—they—are my world,” she said softly. Steeling herself against long dead dreams, she straightened and her tone sharpened. “That changes nothing, sir.”
“Do you fear for your children?”
“Every day,” she bit out, feeling as if Gustaf still had his hand gripped about her throat, squeezing.
“They’ve nothing to fear from me.”
She looked away from his gaze back over the garden. She almost believed him. But a woman was always under a man’s control.
Kathy L Wheeler (writing as Kae Elle Wheeler) graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems that includes a vocal minor. She is an avid theater buff (holds season tickets to Broadway Series in OKC), loves the NFL and NBA (also holds season tickets to Thunder Basketball in OKC), loves travel, people and karaoke.
She is a member of several RWA chapters, including OKRWA, DARA, and The Beau Monde. She writes both Contemporary and Historical romance.
Kathy/Kae lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma, has one grown daughter who recently had a baby, and one bossy cat!