Blog Tour: Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir

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I am so thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir. Alison Weir is one of my favourite historians, and the Plantagenets are my obsession so I couldn’t wait to read this. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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The spellbinding story of Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor queen.

An English Princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten.
Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen.

But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule.

Many people will tell you that their favourite period of history is the Tudor period, and it is easy to understand why. It is peopled by some of the most fascinating characters that ever lived – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I – and was a time of massive and lasting political change in England. Alison Weir has written some of the most detailed and fascinating books, both fictional and non-fiction, on this period and it a well known authority on the subject. For me, however, it is their predecessors, the Plantagenets, with whom I have always been fascinated – I am an avid Ricardian – and I was excited to see how Alison Weir would deal with the life of Elizabeth of York, the last Plantagenet and the woman who united the houses of Lancaster and York to bring the Wars of the Roses to an end.

Many people won’t know much about Elizabeth of York, and even I have not read about her as widely as I have Edward IV and Richard III, but she was a woman at the crux of one of the most turbulent and transformative periods of history. She was the key piece in strengthening Henry Tudor’s fairly weak claim to the throne after the Battle of Bosworth and bringing to an end decades of civil war in England. Mother of Henry VIII, she was well aware of her place in history and what she needed to do to secure her family and this book explores her life in great detail.

This is a fictional account of Elizabeth’s life, so Alison Weir has imagined how she will have been feeling about the events that shaped her life but, this being Alison Weir, the historical foundation of the book is firm which allows the reader to relax into the story without worrying about the accuracy of what they are reading. At over 500 pages, this is a hefty novel that covers Elizabeth’s whole life from the age of 4, when her mother is first forced to take her children into sanctuary when Edward IV is briefly exiled to Burgundy, until her death at the age of 37. Every event of her life in between is explored in detail and, whilst some may find the constant cycle of peace and threat tiresome, it is merely an accurate reflection of the history and, therefore, for a history buff, it is captivating.

Elizabeth, as all women were at the time, was basically a pawn in the power struggle going on between the warring factions for the throne. First promised to the Dauphin of France by her father in peace negotiations with the French King, after her uncle Richard took the throne following her father’s death, he proposed to marry her to cement his claim, she was finally married to Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth. As the eldest child of Edward VI, Elizabeth would have had the right to reign as Queen in her own right, had the laws of succession not prevented women taking the throne at this time, so Henry Tudor’s move in making her his queen was a canny one. It brought about an era of relative peace and security within England itself for a couple of generations at least.

This is not a light read by any means but, for anyone fascinated by the rise of the Tudors it is a must read novel about the woman who secured their dynasty, and a riveting imagining of how life must have been for a woman buffeted by the winds of a fate that was out of her hands. I thought it was marvellous and a welcome addition to my collection of novels about the period.

Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose is out now in hardback, ebook and audio formats and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure to check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Alison Weir is the bestselling female historian in the United Kingdom, and has sold over 3 million books worldwide. She has published twenty history books. Alison is also the author of twelve historical novels, including the highly acclaimed Six Tudor Queens series all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. The complete short-story collection, In the Shadow of Queens, accompanies this series. Alison is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary life patron of Historic Royal Palaces.

Connect with Alison:

Website: http://www.alisonweir.org.uk

Facebook: Alison Weir

Twitter: @AlisonWeirBooks

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Blog Tour: The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

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London, 1929.

Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and an adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a pioneer in the eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.

When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, they have to face an uncomfortable truth: Mabel has epilepsy – one of the ‘undesirable’ conditions that Edward campaigns against.

Forced to hide their daughter away so as to not jeopardise Edward’s life’s work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.

Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?

I am delighted to be joining the blog tour today for The Hidden Child by Louise Fein. Louise has written a fabulous piece for me to share with you about how she went about researching the book. My thanks to Graeme Williams for inviting me on to the tour and to Louise for preparing the piece for me.

Now over to Louise:

Researching The Hidden Child

Writing historical fiction means I need to do a good deal of research for each book I write. Fortunately, I love research as I spend as much time researching as I do writing. As with all my books, research for The Hidden Child began with reading generally as much as I could about not only the time-period in which the book is set, namely the late 1920’s, but also about the setting (chiefly London, Surrey, and an epilepsy colony), and the social and political events of the time. I also researched the background for my characters who were partly based on, or inspired by, real people. Wherever possible I like to travel to locations for settings to get a real sense of the place. Once I began writing, more specific details needed to be researched in depth. This often slowed the writing process, as it might take me a whole morning to research something which ended up being just one sentence on the page. 

To gain a deeper understanding, I read a wide variety of non-fiction and fiction written at the time as well as historical commentaries and academic papers. I also needed to do a lot of research about eugenics, and the condition of epilepsy and its perception and treatment at the time. I researched the position of women across the classes, the rise of feminism after the first world war, birth control and the reason why it was encouraged for the lower classes rather than the professional and upper classes. I also carried out research into class and politics, the American eugenics movement, French and American research into epilepsy treatments, and legislation in the UK and the USA which led to the incarceration and mistreatment of those regarded as ‘the unwanted’ in society. 

One of my main characters, Edward, is very loosely based on a real person, Sir Cyril Burt, who was a psychologist and educationalist, instrumental in setting education policy for the nation. He was also a prominent eugenicist and much of the policy for setting up the nationwide grammar school system in England during the first half of the twentieth century was based on his eugenicist principles and now somewhat discredited research into intelligence. I read about him, as well as books written by him. I have included other real people in the book, such as Marie Stopes, Leonard Darwin, ‘Junior’ Rockefeller and other well-known names who might not be associated with eugenics. Much information could be found on-line through resources such as The Wiley library and The Wellcome Library. 

I was lucky to complete most of the research for this book just prior to lockdown in 2020. I was able to visit a school for children with severe epilepsy which was once an epilepsy colony. They were kind enough to open their archives for me. I also, through a local history organisation, was able to look at the archives of other colonies and asylums in the area, so my fictional colony is based on a combination of all of these institutions. 

Once all the research is done, it is important to be able to set it aside and focus on the story. This is after all fiction, and whilst I always try to write with authenticity, the majority of my research never makes it into the book. Instead, I aim to infuse the writing with it, so the reader is immersed into another world.   

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A lovely insight into a writer’s way of working. The Hidden Child is out in paperback today and in all other formats and you can buy a copy here.

Do please visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for reviews of the book and other great content:

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About the Author

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Louise Fein was born and brought up in London. She harboured a secret love of writing from a young age, preferring to live in her imagination than the real world. After a law degree, Louise worked in Hong Kong and Australia, travelling for a while through Asia and North America before settling back to a working life in London. She finally gave in to the urge to write, taking an MA in creative writing, and embarking on her first novel, Daughter of the Reich (named People Like Us in the UK and Commonwealth edition). The novel was inspired by the experience of her father’s family, who escaped from the Nazis and arrived in England as refugees in the 1930’s. Daughter of the Reich/People Like Us is being translated into 11 foreign languages, has been shortlisted for the 2021 RSL Christopher Bland Prize, the RNA Historical Novel of the year Award 2021 and long listed for the Not The Booker Prize 2020.

Louise’s second novel, The Hidden Child, was published in the Autumn of 2021. Louise lives in the beautiful English countryside with her husband, three children, two cats, small dog and the local wildlife who like to make an occasional appearance in the house. Louise is currently working on her third novel.

Connect with Louise:

Website: https://www.louisefein.com

Facebook: Louise Fein

Twitter: @FeinLouise

Instagram: @louisefeinauthor

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Blog Tour: An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn

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I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour for An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn today. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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That was then…

Seventy-five years ago, British SOE spy Guy Barclay was forced to leave behind the woman he loved in war-ravaged Yugoslavia.

…This is now

As ninety-three-year-old Guy’s days draw to a close, he asks his granddaughter, Leo Holmes, to go looking for answers. Given that her marriage has imploded and her City job is on the verge of killing her, Leo agrees and rents a house on the island of Vis, where her grandfather was stationed in the Second World War.

But as Leo’s search takes her down unexpected roads – and into the path of a gorgeous local, Andrej Pintaric – she begins to wonder if this journey down memory lane might yield unexpected results for more than just her beloved grandfather…

I’ll make an admission here. I signed up for the blog tour for this book without reading the book’s blurb because I have loved Eva Glyn’s previous work. I was kind of dismayed when I did get round to looking at what the book was about because, as a general rule, I don’t read novels set in times of modern warfare. It is just a genre I don’t particularly enjoy. However, a promise is a promise, so I decided to give it a go.

Lo and behold, I actually really enjoyed this book. It is set at a time and place during the Second World War that I am not familiar with at all and I found it absolutely fascinating from a historical perspective. I’d never heard anything about wartime activities of the British in, what was then, Yugoslavia and the precursor to the rise of Tito and communism in that country. Despite my lack of enthusiasm about modern conflict-set books, I do love to learn new information, so this previously unfamiliar aspect of the Second World War pulled me in and piqued my interest. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research about the location and what went on there during this period and this really brought the history to life.

Another reason that the book held my interest was that the focus was not primarily on the conflict, but on the relationship between Guy and Ivka and the war was the backdrop for that. Don’t get me wrong, the war is central to the story because their love story only unfolds the way it does because of the situation they find themselves in, but the focus on these intimate, personal experiences of war and how they affected the lives of those involved forever, changing the course of their futures, is what made it absorbing for me. The author has drawn beautiful, sympathetic characters in this book and their story was intensely moving and emotional. It would be a stunted heart that couldn’t feel the pain that war has caused these people by the end.

There are some quite disturbing events described in the book and the author does not shy away from telling the reader the truth about the horror of war, and not just the atrocities committed by the enemy. I was very shocked at one of the story threads running through the book, never having heard anything about such things happening before, and I think one of the best things about novels such as this is keeping the memories of these atrocities alive and trying to make sure they never happen again. Given the threats that women are still facing every single day across the world at the moment, even in supposedly progressive nations, these things are important. I am feeling especially sensitive to media around these topics at the moment, so I found reading this book quite painful and anger-inducing, but these are emotions that are necessary to overcome complacency and apathy and remind ourselves that we need to keep fighting against these things.

This sounds like the book might be a heavy read, but it really isn’t. The writing is engaging, the location setting vivid and immersive and the historical detail fascinating. If a book like this can engage and impress a war-phobic reader like me, fans of the genre are going to love it.

An Island of Secrets is out now in ebook and will be published in paperback on 26 May and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you follow this magnificent tour:

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About the Author

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Eva Glyn writes escapist relationship-driven fiction with a kernel of truth at its heart. She loves to travel and finds inspiration in beautiful places and the stories they hide.

Her last holiday before lockdown was a trip to Croatia, and the country’s haunting histories and gorgeous scenery have proved fertile ground, driven by her friendship with a tour guide she met there. His wartime story provided the inspiration for The Olive Grove and his help in creating a realistic portrayal of Croatian life had proved invaluable. Her second novel set in the country, a dual timeline looking back to World War 2, will be published in the spring of 2022, also by One More Chapter.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Connect with Eva:

Facebook: Eva Glyn

Twitter: @JaneCable

Instagram: @janecable

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Book Review: Elektra by Jennifer Saint

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The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

Today is publication day for Elektra by Jennifer Saint and so I am delighted to be sharing my review of the book with you all. Huge thanks to Caitlin Raynor at Headline for sending me an advance copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Jennifer Saint’s last book, Ariadne, was one of my top books of 2021 (you can read my review here) so I really was looking forward to reading Elektra but wondering if she could pull off the same transformation of a seemingly well known story again. The answer is yes, with bells on.

In fact, I could almost life my review of Ariadne and paste it, word for word, into the review for Elektra, because Jennifer Saint has taken the same principle, taking well known Greek myths and telling them from the perspective of the women involved, and applied it to the story of the siege of Troy. Interestingly, though, she has chosen not to focus on the main female figure in the tale – Helen, whose beauty brought down an entire nation – but three other women, seemingly on the periphery but actually central to the whole story, Clytemnestra, Cassandra and Elektra.

If you are familiar with the written history of the Trojan War, I am sure there are bits of the book you might take issue with. This is a reimagining of events which, after all have many different versions woven around them by different writers, in an attempt to bring events from centuries ago to life for modern audiences, and it is very effective in this regard. These women could be any of us, living, breathing, loving and losing on the page, and the emotions they feel will be recognisable to us all. Frustration at being held back because of our sex, jealousy when the attention of our partner is focused elsewhere, fear of abandonment, grief at the loss of a loved one – these are things that women are still facing today, challenges that ring down through the ages and you will soon find yourselves pulled in to the story and living along with the characters.

Let me just tell you, most of the characters in this story are not pleasant. They are largely selfish, ambitious, hubristic and cruel. They do some horrific things to each other, seemingly for small slights that are not commensurate with the price paid in blood as a result. However, the author does a great job of trying to show why they took the actions they did and making the women at least somewhat sympathetic. For example, if you read the story of Clytemnestra baldly on Google, she sounds like a monster. However, as a woman who has been through the loss of a child,  I can feel her pain, anguish and fury and understand what motivates her, even if I don’t think I would have done the same, I hasten to add. The scenes involving the captured women on the beach after the sack of Troy are heart-breaking, and give you food for thought when you see the news about what is currently happening in Eastern Europe today. You might ask yourselves how far civilisation has actually progressed in 4,000 years and whether base human nature remains the same down the millennia.

This is a fantastic historical retelling of a story that has enthralled Greek mythology fanatics for years, a terrifying morality tale and an exploration of the strength and resilience of women in a world in which they have no actual power. The author blends all of these aspects together into an entertaining, gripping and moving book that I was glued to from beginning to end and could not wait to recommend to my friends afterwards. My only question now is whether to buy a gorgeous hardback to match my copy of Ariadne, or just hang on to the personalised proof that I was so thrilled to be asked to review. I cannot wait to see what this author is going to tackle next; whatever it is, I’m sure it will be exciting.

Elektra is out today in hardback, audio and ebook formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Jennifer Saint grew up reading Greek mythology and was always drawn to the untold stories hidden within the myths. After thirteen years as a high school English teacher, she wrote ARIADNE which tells the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur from the perspective of Ariadne – the woman who made it happen. Her second novel, ELEKTRA, explores the curse upon the House of Atreus, giving voice to three women who are caught up in its shadows: Clytemnestra, Cassandra and Elektra whose lives are shattered by the Trojan War and who seek to find justice at any cost. Jennifer Saint is now a full-time author, living in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.

Connect with Jennifer:

Website: https://www.jennifersaint.com/

Facebook: Jennifer Saint Author

Twitter: @jennysaint

Instagram: @jennifer.saint.author

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Blog Tour: Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe by Jodie Cain Smith

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In Huet Pointe, ambition is as dangerous as the brackish water that surrounds the sliver of land. But, the women of this antebellum hamlet yearn for more than society insists they be-devout, feminine, and content with living according to cultural norms. So, what’s a girl to do? She could employ poison, perhaps a bit of adultery, and drowning in alligator-infested waters is always a choice-whatever it takes to achieve her goal.

A novel-in-stories, Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe, tells the stories of ten women brought together by proximity, forever entangled by the actions they take.

I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe by Jodie Cain Smith. My thanks to Love Book Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of the book for the purpose of review. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially.

An interconnected set of short stories, weaving together the lives of ten women who inhabit a small town in forgotten swampland, Bayou Cresting is a must-read for fans of Southern Gothic literature. Set in the mid-1800s, this book brings together everything that is appealing and emotive about this enticing genre. Earthiness, darkness, voodoo, magic, murder and mayhem, with a feminist spin, this is a deeply fascinating piece of work.

Firstly, the writing transports the reader directly to the heart of the humid, hidden bayous of the Deep South at an important point in history and this book has one of the strongest senses of place in a novel I have read for a long time. You can feels the steamy, oppressive heat rising from the page, feel the isolation of this forgotten place and experience the simmering tensions that undercut life in this town. Even those characters who seem genteel on the surface can be hiding black hearts and those who are looked down upon by the community can surprise you with their consideration and kindness. This is a book that questions every stereotype you have ever come across in Southern Gothic literature.

The book focuses solely on the women of the town. The men play bit parts, only relevant insofar as they affect and impact the lives and behaviour of those women, which is a fascinating way to portray a society where the women are secondary and subservient to the men in every way – or so it would seem. the abiding takeaway for me from reading this novel is that women’s strength will make itself felt, come what may, and there is little that men can do about it in the end.

Many of the characters in this book are not liable, but this does not make them any less interesting, possibly more so. Some of the characters, in fact, are downright appalling, but they are still fully realised, well-rounded and recognisable individuals, not caricatures. What makes this book such compelling reading is that the characters are realistic and believable, which makes their behaviour much more impactful. There are some terrible goings on in these stories, the tension will pull you in and hold you from story to story. Every facet of life in the town is covered, from the ladies in their antebellum mansions to the slaves in their quarters and the women in the local brothel, and the ones who are happiest are not necessarily the ones you would expect, if indeed anyone who is truly happy in this lost town.

A really unusual construction for a novel, where they are only loosely connected by location and character crossover, this nonetheless feels like a complete story, drawn together to the inevitable denouement, which left me with a deep sense of unease and disturbance at the lives of these women. Any book which evokes a strong reaction in the reader is an achievement in writing and, whilst not being what I expected, this book certainly left its mark on me. I hope it finds a wide readership, it is a fantastic piece of work.

Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe is out now in ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Jodie Cain Smith is the author of two Southern Gothic novels, The Woods at Barlow Bend (1st edition Deer Hawk Publications, Nov 2014; 2nd edition Kat Biggie Press, July 2021) and Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe (Crowsnest Books, 2021). More than any other character, Jodie enjoys creating ambitious women who often fly across the line to dangerous women. She is the founder of the Mobile Literary Festival, proving her philosophy of “If it doesn’t exist, create it yourself.” When she is not creating southern fiction, Jodie can be found in the worlds of superheroes, Lego, and Mario Kart with her little boy and husband. Her Mario Kart driving needs work, the boy is awesome, and the husband puts up with all the crazy. Jodie Cain Smith’s short stories, feature articles, and columns have appeared in Pieces Anthology, the Pulpwood Queen’s Works in Progress, The Petigru Review, Chicken Soup for the Military Spouse’s Soul, The Savannah Morning News, and the Fort Hood Sentinel.

Connect with Jodie:

Website: https://jodiecainsmith.com

Facebook: Jodie Cain Smith

Twitter: @JodieCainSmith

Instagram: @jodiecainsmithauthor

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The 2022 Romantic Novel Award Winners’ Interviews with…. Rosie Hendry

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I’m back from my Easter holidays and back into the blogging life and, to kick off spring on the blog, I’m delighted to welcome 2022 RONA award-winning author, Rosie Hendry, on to talk about her writing and her book, The Mother’s Day Club, which won this year’s Romantic Saga Award.

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Rosie, huge congratulations on your win. How surprised were you to hear your name read out as the winner of the award on the night? Has it sunk in yet?

I was absolutely stunned! To be short-listed was thrilling but I never thought I would win. It all happened quickly after my name was read out and I had to go up to receive the award. I’m so grateful I took my friend Jenni’s advice to write something down to help me in case it should happen, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to string a coherent sentence together to thank people. 

It took a while to sink in, but now when I look at the award, which I can see from where I work, it makes me smile and fills me with joy. It’s especially precious as I struggled with writing The Mother’s Day Club and nearly gave up on it.

What does it mean to you to have won this award? What effect do you think it will have on your future career? What reaction have you had to your win so far?

It means a huge amount as it was chosen by readers. There were many excellent sagas in the category so be chosen as winner is a huge accolade – thank you so much to all the readers. It’s a massive boost to my confidence in my writing and I hope will encourage more readers to try The Mother’s Day Club for themselves. 

The support from fellow writers and readers has been amazing. My dear friends from the Norfolk & Suffolk RNA chapter, those who were there on the night, and others who were sending their congratulation messages virtually was brilliant. It felt like a win for us all as we are a close group who support each other’s ups and downs with our writing life. 

What inspired this particular story and what do you think it is about the story which made it stand out to the judges?

I was doing research at the Imperial War Museum for another book and stumbled across a first- hand account of an expectant mother being evacuated on the day war was declared. She was walking to Liverpool Street Station with other expectant mothers when news came that war had been declared, and shortly after the first air-raid sirens went. The image was so powerful I knew I wanted to use it one day. I’d had no idea that expectant mothers were evacuated as the history we see focuses on the children, so I wanted to tell the mothers’ story. From the reaction I’ve had from readers, they didn’t know about this part of our history either and have been interested to learn more. 

The book is also set on my home turf in Norfolk, in a house partly inspired by the one I grew up in a village. There’s a good dose of my family history and my experience of growing up on a small holding in there too. I think all of this has combined into a story which readers have enjoyed.

How important is research to your writing process? How long does it normally take you to complete and do you do it prior to starting the book or as the story progresses?

Research is key – the characters and setting are mainly fictional but based on real events and places. It’s very important for me to get my facts rights, both to honour those living then and to portray an accurate story of those times. I owe it to readers who invest time in reading the book to get my facts right. 

I usually spend about three weeks researching to build up my knowledge of what I need but will also do a bit as I go along. I’m a planner so getting most of the research done first helps me get the story worked out. With writing historical I must make sure my timelines work with both international, national and local wartime events – I have charts to keep track of things!

Your books are extremely popular. What do you think it is that draws people to sagas?

Fascination with times gone past, learning about social history and seeing how women dealt with what was thrown at them. One of the reasons I like writing WWII fiction is that women were required to do jobs they never would have been allowed to do before. Pushed out of their comfort zone they did brilliantly. It makes for great change and conflict, and perfect storytelling material.

What do you think readers in the modern day learn from reading about the struggles of the women you write about in your books?

That women had it tough and yet they coped in the most extraordinary of circumstances. There was also a great sense of camaraderie and community which is sometimes lacking now. 

What do you have coming up next in your writing? Will you be exploring more stories involving these characters?

The Mother’s Day Victory, which carries on from The Mother’s Day Club came out on March 3rd and has been received well by readers. I’ve started a follow-on series with the same characters and setting called the Rookery House series, the first one of which – A Wartime Welcome at Rookery House – is out on the 7th June. There will be more books to come in this new series, keeping up with the characters as the war progresses and more changes come to the village.

Rosie, thank you so much for chatting to me today, it’s been fascinating to hear from you. Good luck with the new books.

Rosie’s RONA award-winning novel, The Mother’s Day Club, is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

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Will friendship and motherhood keep the Women on the Home Front safe from war?

Norfolk, 1939

When the residents of Great Plumstead, a small and charming community in Norfolk, offer to open their homes to evacuees from London, they’re expecting to care for children. So when a train carrying expectant mothers pulls into the station, the town must come together to accommodate their unexpected new arrivals . . .

Sisters Prue and Thea welcome the mothers with open arms, while others fear their peaceful community will be disrupted. But all pregnant Marianne seeks is a fresh start for herself and her unborn child. Though she knows that is only possible as long as her new neighbours don’t discover the truth about her situation.

The women of Great Plumstead, old and new, are fighting their own battles on the home front. Can the community come together in a time of need to do their bit for the war effort?

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in North Norfolk with her husband and children. A former teacher and research scientist, she started off writing short stories for magazines, her stories gradually becoming longer as her children grew bigger. She writes uplifting, heart-warming historical fiction based on true events from our social history. Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked her interest in this period and she loves researching further, seeking out gems of real-life stories which inspire her writing.

Connect with Rosie:

Website: http://rosiehendry.com

Facebook: Rosie Hendry

Twitter: @hendry_rosie

Instagram: @rosiehendryauthor

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Book Review: Traitor in the Ice by K. J. Maitland

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Winter, 1607. A man is struck down in the grounds of Battle Abbey, Sussex. Before dawn breaks, he is dead.

Home to the Montagues, Battle has caught the paranoid eye of King James. The Catholic household is rumoured to shelter those loyal to the Pope, disguising them as servants within the abbey walls. And the last man sent to expose them was silenced before his report could reach London.

Daniel Pursglove is summoned to infiltrate Battle and find proof of treachery. He soon discovers that nearly everyone at the abbey has something to hide – for deeds far more dangerous than religious dissent. But one lone figure he senses only in the shadows, carefully concealed from the world. Could the notorious traitor Spero Pettingar finally be close at hand?

As more bodies are unearthed, Daniel determines to catch the culprit. But how do you unmask a killer when nobody is who they seem?

This is the second book in the Daniel Pursglove historical mystery series. I was captivated by the first book, The Drowned Citywhen I read it last year (you can read my review of the book here) so I was delighted to be invited to review The Traitor in the Ice. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book for this purpose, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

It is not necessary for you to have read the first book featuring Daniel Pursglove for you to be able to understand and enjoy The Traitor in the Ice, it works perfectly well as a standalone novel, although it would give you a little more background on how Daniel has found himself in the position he currently occupies as a spy for someone close to the throne. For those of you who have read The Drowned City, which is set in Bristol during the flood of 1606, the author has whittled out another freak weather event to form the backdrop of this book, the Great Freeze of 1607. For me, the weaving of an entertaining murder mystery with real life, little known historical events makes for the perfect novel, because I love to learn things as I am entertained.

The main setting of the book is the town of Battle, close to the coast in East Sussex, and its famous Abbey, which purports to be a hotbed of illicit Catholic activity at a time when this was illegal. Other chapters take place in London around the court of James I. Clearly, a huge amount of research has gone into this novel and the fictional element of the murder mystery is embedded firmly in historical fact about the life of Viscountess Montague and her sheltering of Catholic priests during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, when the Protestant faith was given prominence across the country. The book absolutely oozes with the tension and fear of persecution that stalked the steps of Catholics during that period, the constant threat of raids, capture, torture and execution for anyone accused of preaching the Catholic faith or harbouring anyone who did. This was particularly heightened during this period immediately following the failed Gunpowder Plot, when suspicion was rife that further attempts on the life of the King were being planned. The author has captured this oppressive fear and suspicion perfectly here and the book will have you on edge from beginning to end.

Amidst the task Daniel has been given to gain information about what role Battle and the Montague are playing in the Catholic cause at this time, he comes across a series of murders which appear to be linked with the Crown’s efforts to infiltrate Battle and discover its secrets. It quickly becomes clear, though, that the solution is not that straight forward and Daniel has to separate the truth from the false trails that the killer has attempted to lay to divert attention away from his actions. The author explores many interesting topics whilst weaving this tale of mystery and intrigue; the lives lead by servants in great households at this time; how the Catholic priests remained hidden and moved around the country and the Continent; how faith was practised in secret; the folk tales and superstitions of ordinary people at the time; the tensions and competition in James’s court between the Scots and the English nobility; the strange practice of night creeping. All of it is absolutely fascinating and I was captivated by every aspect.

The book is very detailed and I suppose some readers may find that the level of description slows the plot somewhat. However, for me it works absolutely brilliantly if you come at it from the perspective of it being as much a historical novel as a murder mystery and that it is balanced as such. The detail and description is important to the book as the action, if you look at it this way, and the historical information gleaned is as rewarding as solving the puzzle of the murders. This is what makes it such a special and rewarding read for me, the sublime blending of historical fact and real people with fictional characters and the mystery plot. Just a delight.

Whilst tying up the particular conundrum of who has committed the murders in this book and why, the author has left enough questions hanging to tantalise the reader with anticipation for the next book. There are particular questions left about who is really controlling Daniel and why, whose side they are on, and what is their ultimate goal. Also, the fate of one character is left curiously unresolved and I, for one, have no sooner closed this novel than I am hankering for the next. Write faster please, Ms. Maitland! Daniel is a character I have completely fallen in love with for his skills, cunning and sense of honour, and I am also enjoying learning more about this period of history, which is one I have not studied in much detail. I already await the hardback of this book arriving to grace my library, and I can’t wait for book three.

Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction and murder mysteries alike.

The Traitor in the Ice will be published in hardback, audio and ebook formats on 31 March and in paperback on 29 September, and you can pre-order a copy here.

About the Author

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Karen Maitland is an historical novelist, lecturer and teacher of Creative Writing, with over twenty books to her name. She grew up in Malta, which inspired her passion for history, and travelled and worked all over the world before settling in the United Kingdom. She has a doctorate in psycholinguistics, and now lives on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

Connect with Karen:

Website: https://karenmaitland.com/

Facebook: Karen Maitland

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RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Anita Frank

RONAS

We are drawing towards the end of our celebration of this year’s RONA nominees but we still have a few fantastic authors to talk to. Tonight I am joined by a nominee in the Historical Romantic Novel Award category with her novel The Return. Please welcome to the blog… Anita Frank.

Anita Frank, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Novel Awards 2022

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, to be honest, I’m not a huge drinker, but since this is a special occasion, I’ll have a G and T and will probably then swap to lemonade and lime, but I might round off the evening with a cheeky glass of Madeira (it’s a rather old-fashioned tipple, so drinking it always makes me feel like a character from one of my novels!)

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

A nice country pub with a friendly atmosphere, comfy seats, good food and a roaring fire!

Oh, you need to come to my local! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I’ve always been a huge Cary Grant fan, and I think he would be charming company with lots of good stories to tell.  I’d also invite Agatha Christie, because her life story is similarly fascinating and maybe she’d tell me what really lay behind her mysterious disappearance!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Right, well, I’ve just delivered my book 3 to my editor. That one is a Golden Age crime thriller – I hope she likes it – and I’m also writing my book 4 which is a love story set during the First World War. It’s inspired by a true story, the details of which I read about fifteen years ago. I’m taking my characters into a slightly different dilemma,  

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would absolutely love to have one (or more!) or my books adapted for film or television. That has been a dream of mine since I was very little and still the goal I’m striving for.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I can’t ride a bike!

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

There are so many! But my favourite book of late has to be Raft of Stars by Andrew J Graf. It just grabs you from the first page, and it made me laugh, it made me cry and I was having heart palpitations by the end. Just a hugely enjoyable read.

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One summer night in Wisconsin, the lives of two ten-year-old boys are changed forever…

Tired of seeing his best friend Dale Breadwin abused by his alcoholic father, Fischer Branson takes action. A gunshot rings out, and Bread and Fish flee into the woods. They build a raft, but the river quickly leads them into even greater danger.

In their wake travel a group of adults – each determined to save the boys from the terrors of Ironsford Gorge.

The further they go, the more the wilderness starts to change them in profound and unexpected ways. And when they reach the edge of the Gorge itself, they begin to understand the true violence and beauty of the natural world, and its ability to heal.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I think before I don’t drink much, my liver is in pretty good condition, so on the rare occasions I do drink to excess (very rare these days!!) I don’t, touch wood, tend to get hangovers! I do always drink plenty of water before I go to bed, and I always take a big jug up to bed with me so if I wake up parched I can drink more.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I’d go for a lovely country walk with the dog (and maybe the family!) in the morning, spend the afternoon reading, get him indoors to cook me dinner, and then have everyone round the telly to watch a good film in the evening. 

Bonnie

Dogs are always the best company! Thank you for chatting to me, it has been fun.

Anita’s RONA-nominated book, The Return, is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Anita Frank, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, The Return BOOK COVER

Jack Ellison’s war is over, but the battle for his family has just begun.

When Jack left for the war, he made a parting pledge to his pregnant bride, Gwen, that he would never return. It was, after all, best for everyone that he didn’t.

Now, as celebrations erupt for Victory in Europe, Gwen is terrified that Jack will renege on his promise, threatening the life she has built for herself and their son on the family farm.

But war has changed Jack, and he is coming home, determined to claim a place in Gwen’s life – and her heart.

As events of the past come back to haunt them, Jack and Gwen find themselves facing their greatest battle – and it is a fight neither of them can afford to lose.

A farmer’s daughter from Shropshire, Anita Frank studied English and American History at the University of East Anglia before moving to London to work in media analysis and communications.

She left paid employment to become a stay-at-home mum when she had the first of her three children. Sadly, Anita‘s youngest child developed a rare form of epilepsy in infancy which has left him severely mentally disabled and she is now his full-time-carer, but she has begun snatching what time she can to pursue her lifelong ambition of writing historical fiction.

Anita now lives in Berkshire with her husband, her two lovely girls and her gorgeous boy, a fluffy cat with an attitude, and a bonkers Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Her debut novel, The Lost Ones, was published by HQ in October 2019.

Connect with Anita:

Facebook: Anita Frank

Twitter: @Ajes74

Instagram: @anitafrankauthor

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RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Suzanne Fortin

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Another fantastic author nominated in this year’s Romantic Novel Awards has agreed to chat to me on the blog tonight. Her novel, All That We Have Lost, was nominated in the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers category and went on to win. It’s… Suzanne Fortin.

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Sue, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thank you so much for inviting me, it’s lovely to be here. Mine’s a Bacardi and coke – I’m such an 80s girl. 

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Probably to my local village pub, sitting near the open fire and having a bar meal of some description. Not very rock n roll, I know.

Well, since in front of the fire in my local is one of my favourite places, I’m not going to argue with you! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Wow, what a question! Let’s see … I think I’d ask Rik Mayall, who I hope would be equally hilarious and outrageous as he always appeared. My other guest would be someone like Sophia Loren, although I’m not sure what she’d make of Rik! 

I loved Rik Mayall so much. I rewatched The New Statesman recently and it genius and also scarily realistic now! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

So, at the moment, I’m very much juggling different projects. I have two books, both historical dual-timelines, which are at different stages of the editing process and I’m expecting edits to come in from those any time now. I’ve got an idea for a new historical book which I’m running by my agent and editor and I’m also working on a short story for readers. I’m planning on using the short story as a giveaway for existing and new sign ups to my newsletter.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

The proudest moment was when one of my books went to Number 1 in the whole of the UK Amazon chart and Number 3 in the whole of the US Amazon chart. It was a bit overwhelming at the time but when I look back, I’m really proud of that achievement.  The biggest challenge has been then trying to keep everything in perspective with the books that followed and not to get hung up on whether the next book is as good, sells as many copies, gets as many reviews etc. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I used to have a list of things I wanted to achieve pinned by the side of my computer, but over the years, my goals have changed and I don’t have that list anymore. I used to want to be a Sunday Times Bestseller and, I guess, to a degree, that still remains a dream. However, I have different types of things I want to achieve and, at the moment, that is to have a good work/life balance. 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I have a new book coming out in July called Beyond A Broken Sky. I really enjoyed writing this one. I can’t wait to be able to share the story. It’s another historical dual-timeline where we meet Rhoda Sullivan who is restoring a stained-glass window of a church which has an unusual backstory and a mystery to be solved. The mystery dates back to wartime England and Italian POWs in Somerset.

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I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is France. We have a cottage in Southern Brittany and love to go over there as often as possible. It’s in a very rural and quiet location but not too far to travel for every day needs. We went to Australia a few years ago and I’d love to go back there and explore different parts of the country.

I’d love to go to Australia but I think I might have to wait until the kids leave home now and go for six weeks to see it all, maybe tag New Zealand on too. I think I may only persuade my OH to fly that far once! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

Oh, what to say … erm … I can tap dance. I haven’t tapped for a long time but I learnt as an adult and loved every minute of it. I would like to go back to it one day.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

I feel this is an impossible question to answer! I read Omerta by Mario Puzo years ago and loved it but equally I thoroughly enjoyed Plan B by Emily Barr. Sorry, that’s two which is cheating.

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The perfect couple. The perfect French farmhouse. Plan A is the perfect life. But then there’s Plan B…

Emma adores living in Brighton, but she loves Matt more. When he suggests they buy the perfect farmhouse in the South of France, she reluctantly agrees, even though he continues commuting to London while she looks after their daughter and the builders. But France is not the idyll he promised, and when she discovers the true reason he spends half his time in London the foundations on which she’s built her life start to crumble…

That Emily Barr book sounds so good. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I am the world’s worst drinker. I only have two glasses of alcohol as I can’t handle any more, it just makes me go to sleep. My cure to any kind of hangover is definitely sleep.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Going for a long walk in the countryside or along the beach. I live on the south coast of England, so I’m lucky to have both things very close by. There would also have to be a Sunday roast involved and a few hours reading.

Thank you for a lovely chat over a drink – a perfect way to spend the evening.

Thank you Sue, it’s been an absolute joy to chat to you this evening.

Suzanne’s RONA Award-winning novel, All That We Have Lost, is out now in all formats and you can buy your copy here.

All That We Have Lost

Papa always told us that to be brave doesn’t mean you have no fear.
It just means you can move forwards in spite of that fear.

2019. When Imogen Wren‘s husband dies, she must realise their dream of moving to France on her own. She finds a beautiful abandoned chateau and starts to rebuild her life among its ruins. But she soon notices that the locals won’t come near. A dark web of secrets surrounds the house, and it all seems to centre on the war…

1944. Since the moment German troops stepped foot in her village, the sole aim of Simone Varon‘s life has been to avoid them. Until one soldier begins leaving medicine bottles for her sick brother, and she gets to know the man behind the uniform. Then the Resistance comes calling, and she must choose between love and duty – with devastating consequences that will echo through the decades.

As Imogen restores the chateau, she’s determined to uncover the truth – and set to rest the ghosts of the past.

Suzanne Fortin writes historical fiction, predominantly dual timeline and set in France. Her books feature courageous women in extraordinary circumstances with love and family at the heart of all the stories.

Suzanne also writes mystery and suspense as Sue Fortin where she is a USA Today bestseller and Amazon UK #1 and Amazon US #3 bestseller. She has sold over a million copies of her books and been translated into multiple languages.

Connect with Sue:

Website: https://suefortin.com

Facebook: Sue Fortin Author

Twitter: @suefortin1

Instagram: @suefortinauthor

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RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Catherine Tinley

RONAS

Tonight I am chatting to another winner in the Romantic Novel Awards 2022. Winner of the Historical Romantic Novel Award  with her book, A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess, please welcome… Catherine Tinley.

CT profile pic 2021

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’m drinking a gorgeous pink gin made in a local distillery. It’s called Rostrevor -the Mourne Dew distillery also does whiskey and poitín, which are also fab. Do you want to try some?

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I am a big gin fan (I was going to say ‘big gin drinker’ but that makes me sound like I have a problem!), so yes please. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’d take you to the Old Killowen Inn in the village of Rostrevor, for great Guinness and Irish music. The craic (fun) would be great!

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If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Let’s see…Danny O’Donoghue from The Script for the singing and the craic, and Eloisa James, because I think she’d love it!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m writing a trilogy set in Regency times, but in the Outer Hebrides! I know, I know…unusual. But I am absolutely loving it! There’s always great fun to be had in the research for historical fiction, and I’m lucky to have a friend from the Hebrides who has been wonderful in keeping me right on history, geography, and language. He’s a native Gaelic speaker, so I’ve included small bits of the language in the books. 

Book 1, A Laird for the Governess is just out and I’m relieved and delighted by the early reviews. People really get it, I think. It features a London governess who takes a post in the wilds of the Hebrides, and finds not just love, but belonging, and a sense of community. Book 2 reverses the scenario, as I plan to take a couple of characters from the island community and bring them into the glittering heart of Regency society. I had planned to stop after three books, but a reader has just requested a happy-ever-after for a secondary character from A Laird for the Governess, so who knows?

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A penniless governess

And the dour Laird of Ardmore

Lydia Farnham must travel to a remote Scottish island to work for widower Alasdair MacDonald, who doesn’t trust her or her unconventional teaching methods! Yet as his daughter flourishes, so too does the intense connection between Lydia and Alasdair. Only she should know better than to fall for the handsome laird when it could leave her without a job, or a home…

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Getting ‘the call’ and the offer of a two-book contract from a major publisher was a dream come true. It’s the moment I began thinking of myself as an author as well as a writer. I’ve also been lucky enough to win a coveted Rita ® award in the US (for Waltzing with the Earl) as well as winning the RoNA last year for Best Historical Romance (for Rags-to-Riches Wife). That one also won the HOLT Medallion in the US…it’s just so lovely to know that readers like what I write!

In terms of challenges, I’ve had to transition from writing as a hobby to being a professional author. I work full-time in the NHS, so I have to be very disciplined about my writing targets and stick to my routines, otherwise I’d never meet deadlines. I also have ADD, which I’ve worked hard to manage, so overcoming this challenge is something I’m very proud of. I’ve discovered, for example, that I daren’t take a break between books as I risk losing the good habits, so now I take no more than a day or two off before starting the next project. I also use a tracker called www.pacemaker.press (it’s free!) which really helps.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d like to write a longer Regency, and have it published by a major trade publisher. I am working on a draft, so watch this space…

What do you have planned that you are really excited about?

Travel! It’s been so, so long, so this year I’m making up for lost time. Apart from flying to London for the RoNA Awards I also intend to go to the RNA conference this year for the first time, plus we have unused holiday vouchers from two years ago that will take us somewhere sunny in August. Can’t wait!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I lived in Munich for a year and will always love the place. Interrailing was wonderful so I did it three times, yet there’s still so much of Old Europe I want to see. The bucket list includes Vienna and Salzburg, Berlin, and Brussels.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

Ooh! Ok then. People are often surprised when I tell them I manage a maternity hospital as my day job (and people at work are always surprised when I tell them I’m an author!)

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Impossible! Even within Regency I can’t choose just one, but maybe Frederica or Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I also enjoy high fantasy, and my favourite there is Daughter of the Empire by Feist and Wurtz. Apparently they’re planning to make it into a TV series – I hope they do it justice.

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Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan…

Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle.

Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction.

Daughter of the Empire is the magnificent first book in The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts.

Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Sadly, I’ve learned that I have no head for drink (despite the reputation of Irish people) so I’ll have been supping water alongside the alcohol this evening. You wouldn’t have known it to look at me though, cos I’ve been singing and clapping and yee-ho-ing with the rest! If we’re hungover in the morning I’ll take you for a lung-cleansing stroll along the beautiful Fairy Glen, just five minutes from here, then afterwards we can wander along the shores of Carlingford Lough or check out the stunning views from the Big Stone (don’t worry, we can drive most of the way up the mountain). You’ll love it!

Carlingford Lough

I’ve yet to visit a part of Ireland that I haven’t loved so I am sure I will! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Let’s mix our nature walks with some pampering in a local spa. I’m no shopaholic, but happy to go with you if that’s your preference. Mine would be local Neolithic sites, Viking era towers and Norman castles, and a Gaelic football or hurling game! 

Going to see a game of hurling is one of the things on my bucket list, so I’d love to be able to tick that off. Thank you for joining me this evening, Catherine, it’s been a hug pleasure to chat to you.

Catherine’s RONA award-winning bookA Waltz with the Outspoken Governess, is out now and you can buy a copy here. A free preview of her new book, A Laird for the Governess, can be found here.

Catherine Tinley, Historical Romantic Novel Award, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess BOOK COVER

A quiet governess…

An unruly heart

Sir Nicholas Denny is desperate to find a governess to care for his boisterous nieces and nephews. Demure vicar’s daughter Mary Smith seems ideal—at first. All too soon Nicholas discovers a different side…a beautiful, vivacious woman, even if she infuriates him with her strong opinions! When he waltzes with Mary at a party, he knows he’s in trouble—the spark between them is so tempting, but she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a wife!

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her first book, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita® Award for Best Historical Romance 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021 as well as the HOLT Medallion, and A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess has been shortlisted for the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2022.

She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog.

Connect with Catherine:

Website: https://catherinetinley.com/

Facebook: Catherine Tinley 

Twitter: @CatherineTinley

Instagram: @catherinetinleywriter

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