My guest today is Miles ‘Ratty’ Rattenbury, a simply gorgeous hero in Sue Moorcroft’s novel ‘STARTING OVER’ which recently released in Australia.
As those who follow my blog will know I’m a little partial to Regency Rakes – think heroes by Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie. But I do love a good modern day English Rake as well. Ratty’s a bit of a lad, with an eye for the ladies (think many of the roles played by Hugh Grant) who has a roguish charm that will make you melt. Here’s what he had to say.
Miles, lovely to meet you. Do you see yourself as a bit of a Rake, a lad about town?
Thanks, Helene, good to meet you, too. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog.
Am I a rake? I love having women in my life – a lot of women – but I don’t promise anything I don’t mean. Which means I often don’t promise anything at all. Is that a rake? It’s not like I lie and cheat my way in any out of every bed for miles around. I don’t have to lie or cheat. If there is something I do that women don’t like, it’s that I’m too honest. You could call it blunt. A rake sounds like a bad guy. I think I’m a good guy – in my own way. But, yep, definitely a bit of a lad.
Oh I’m sorry, Ratty, no offence intended. We had a discussion recently on the blog and some of the suggestions for modern day rakes included George Clooney, Russell Brand and Jude Law. I think perhaps a modern Rake is more ‘one of the lads’ rather than a bad guy with no conscience!
What’s your favourite way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon?
Lazy Saturday afternoons are great for hanging out with my friends. I like music and I like motor sport, so a festival or a race is always good. And I like autojumbles – do you have those in Australia? All the car enthusiasts and restorers poking around old oily car parts – a great use for a summer afternoon.
Not sure I’ve heard of autojumbles in Australia… But I can see you relaxing with your friends on a lovely summer afternoon at one of your gorgeous English pubs.
Your passion for classic cars must have started young. Was there one person or an incident that sparked that love?
Not that I remember. My parents had nice cars and so did their friends and I just turned into a petrolhead. I used to go round washing people’s cars for the pleasure of stroking them to a shine. I like a classic car because you can take it apart, put it together, change it, restore it; all without a computer in sight. Modern cars just aren’t fun because you need a laptop even to tune them. I like fun, I things that work and I appreciate design. And beauty.
Over time you must have worked on some wonderful machines. What’s the one you loved tweaking most?
I restored a Jaguar D Type in British Racing Green that had been left to rot in an old lady’s garage after her husband died. When it was finished, it was a work of art, curvy and gleaming. I drove it for a while but then I wanted an AC Cobra so I sold the Jag on.
Oh wow, that’s a very rare car indeed. Being a pilot I can appreciate the streamlined design that went into making them such a beautiful racing car. What a privilege to work on one.
Staying in their hometown isn’t necessarily something I’d expect from a guy with tattoos. What is it about Middledip that keeps you there?
It’s not a town, by the way, it’s a village. You have to appreciate that I didn’t look around for somewhere to live and choose a quirky little village between a small city and the amazing Fens (which the English claimed from the sea). I was born here and my family has been here for ages. The full name is Arnott-Rattenbury and most of them have been lawyers and army officers. My great-grandfather’s name is on the monument at The Cross and my grandfather had an affair with Lucaster Meredith, one of the village’s characters; I used to look out for Jos Sheldrake when his parents abandoned him; Pete and Angel Sissins are the best friends in the world. Middledip is part of me and I’m part of it. I like the quirks of the locals and I like the beautiful stone buildings and that everyone knows me, with my garage bang in the middle. The city is nearby when I want to go clubbing, and I travel all over the place for car shows etc. because I’m well known in the world of classic car restoration. Living in a city full time, with all those people, it doesn’t appeal, always on CCTV or seeing police patrols go by. In a village you get personal freedom. I’m big on personal freedom.
Living in a village isn’t what you’d expect; tattoos aren’t what you’d expect … but that’s the thing. I’m me. I don’t fit a ‘type’.
I think you’ve nailed the charm of English villages perfectly there, Ratty. Small enough to be familiar, with the big smoke up the road if required. I loved living in Stair, and then Thornthwaite, up in the beautiful Lake District in the UK. Loved knowing my neighbours and all their quirks.
Now, can you tell I’m a little intrigued by tattoos?
Yep! Women sometimes are … it can be very nice.
Well I am, so let’s talk about that. Which tattoo is your favourite?
It’s the milestone engraved with ‘One Miles’. I had that done when I was eighteen. Tattoos weren’t that common, then. I probably had it to prove to others (read: my parents) that I make my own decisions. Later, I got the Porsche Boxster on my arm and a wheel on my shoulder. That’s enough. My tattoos look good, not cheesy.
Love the symbolism of your first tattoo! What did that first one feel like? Painful? Or was it just enough pain to get you addicted to the adrenalin surge?
The pain wasn’t really a consideration. I wanted a tattoo and I got one. I am happy with the work I’ve had done and don’t feel the need for more. I never thought of pain as something to become addicted to. There are a lot nicer sensations – and it’s the nicer kinds that attract me.
What you haven’t asked is whether I like women to have tattoos.
You’re right I should have, especially as there’s a trend in Australia for women to have tattoos! So??
I’m not against them but there are other things I’d rather have on a woman – like jewellery. And I really have a thing for long hair. Angel calls it my Rapunzel complex. Long hair not only looks great, it feels great, whether it’s touching me or I’m touching it. I’m tactile.
Oh, that makes me want to grow my hair again!! I know you’re a fan of romance so what’s your game plan when you see a woman you’re interested in?
To find out if she’s interested in me. To get talking and see if there’s a buzz there. If not, then that’s fine. I discriminate.
I really do like women. They’re fascinating. I love pretty much everything about them. But I haven’t been in many long-term or even exclusive ‘relationships’. My friendships, on the other hand, are enduring.
This would be a good place to remind you that one of my best friends is a woman, Angel. She’s amazing. She can be a pain in the backside, too, because she’s the one who never hesitates to point it out if she thinks I need improving, which is not something I always appreciate.
We all need an Angel in our lives. Do you see yourself ever settling down with just one woman? If so what’s your ideal women?
If I ever had an ideal woman in my head, she’s not the one I met in Starting Over. She’s like nobody I’ve ever come across, and she drives me mad. We met when she drove her Freelander into the back of my wrecker, so it’s wasn’t a good start. She’d had a bad time with the guy she was going to marry and she drove me mad with her stubborn no-risk policies. But I have my own circuitous ways of getting what I want.
I don’t think you know your ideal anything until you see it and you suddenly feel yourself falling. Hard.
She sounds like she got under your skin from the very start, Ratty. Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me today. All the best with your release in Australia. I’m looking forward to reading your story.
Thanks. I think you’ll find a few surprises in there … I’m never what people expect. That’s what keeps me interesting.
You can buy Starting Over, and all Sue’s books, here .
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Combining thasuccess with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.
STARTING OVER and ALL THAT MULLARKEY are already available in Australian bookstores. WANT TO KNOW A SECRET will be available from 1st June 2011.
New home, new friends, new love. Can starting over be that simple? Tess Riddell reckons her beloved Freelander is more reliable than any man – especially her ex-fiancé, Olly Gray. She’s moving on from her old life and into the perfect cottage in the country. Miles Rattenbury’s passions? Old cars and new women! Romance? He’s into fun rather than commitment. When Tess crashes the Freelander into his breakdown truck, they find that they’re nearly neighbours yet worlds apart. Despite her overprotective parents and a suddenly attentive Olly, she discovers the joys of village life and even forms an unlikely friendship with Miles. Then, just as their relationship develops into something deeper, an old flame comes looking for him … Is their love strong enough to overcome the past? Or will it take more than either of them is prepared to give?