Two weeks ago, we had Katie Fforde digging in the dirt — with and without Ray Mears! — in order to write about life in the here-and-now. This week, we welcome Jean Fullerton who writes award-winning historical sagas about the not-so-very-long-ago.
It can seem worlds away from where we are now, even though some readers will have lived through the periods of Jean’s stories and experienced exactly the kind of gritty reality she describes. And if you enjoy Call the Midwife, you’ll love Jean Fullerton’s books.
Read on to find out more about the lengths an author goes to in order to get it right…
Jean Fullerton, East London Author
District nurse Jean wasn’t quite like this!
I was born in East London where my family have lived since the 1820s.
I’ve written ten novels set in East London (published by Orion) and am just putting the finishing touches to my eleventh. This one is set during the Second World War, and also in East London. I’m now a full-time writer but I was a District Nurse in East London for over 25 years. These days, I live with my hero just outside London. Continue reading →
It’s useful, when researching, to be able to consult people who were there. But go back more than a century or so — to the Regency in Britain, for example — and there are no living witnesses to consult. Regency novelists — like today’s guest, Elizabeth Rolls — have to rely on other sources.
You may imagine that “other sources” means dusty history books and written materials. But there’s much more than that.
And getting to grips with the non-written stuff can present the odd challenge if the author in question lives 12,000 miles away, in Australia.
As Elizabeth Rolls does…
Elizabeth Rolls loves her research
To research or not to research?
For me, research is a must. I’ve had a book kick off in my mind over a snippet about the crossroads burial of suicides in the early 19th century. The past is very much a foreign country, but add 12 000 miles into the equation and you have a real challenge. Continue reading →
How do you do fantasy research?
Do you actually have to?
Surely it’s all just make-believe?
Intriguing questions, aren’t they?
And we at Libertà didn’t have the answers, so we tagged fantasy and alternate-history author Kate Johnson to tell us how she does it. Being Kate, she gave us explanations with a side-order of slightly weird.
Enjoy the fun!
Kate Johnson’s take on fantasy research, and more
How on earth do you research things that don’t exist?
Well, here’s the thing: you might be writing about vampires or spaceships or magic paperclips, if that’s what your heart desires, but you’ve got to make them believable.
You’ve got to make the reader trust you, and if you get the details wrong, they won’t.
Today we begin our research series with a guest post from USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn. You may know her as a writer of romance and women’s fiction, but she loves writing on the dark side too, as you’ll see if you read on.
Handcuffed? Patricia McLinn comes clean
I was put in handcuffs back in August.
That was after I made another car spin out in a PIT maneuver. Though the handcuffs weren’t because of spinning out the other car. They were because, Continue reading →
Today we welcome Georgette Heyer’s biographer, Jennifer Kloester, to the blog. She has some exciting news for Heyer fans.
Jennifer has unearthed Heyer stories that were long out of print. And now, three new Heyer stories are being republished.
Read on for Jennifer’s detective story . . .
Snowdrift & Other Stories by Georgette Heyer
Georgette Heyer with her dog, Misty
Millions of romance readers the world over love Georgette Heyer’s sparkling Regency and Georgian novels. Since 1921 when, as a teenager, she published her first novel, The Black Moth, Heyer has delighted us. Continue reading →
Today’s guest post on romantic comedy is from multi-published author Alison May whose bubbling sense of fun comes through brilliantly in her writing.
(Alison and Joanna are members of the same local chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Needless to say, Alison always manages to inject some laughter into the meetings.)
Love and laughter go together, according to Alison …
Romantic Comedy — Love and Laughter
Romance and comedy are natural bedfellows. Shakespeare knew it when he threw Benedick and Beatrice together in Much Ado About Nothing. Jane Austen knew it when she teamed Pride with Prejudice. And Hollywood has known it repeatedly from Doris Day and Rock Hudson, to Harry meeting Sally and beyond.
The two sit so perfectly together because love is such a rich source of comedy. It makes us throw caution to the winds and do stupid things. It makes us awkward. It makes us tongue-tied. It makes us, frankly, ridiculous, and where there are humans being ridiculous, there is comedy. Continue reading →
Today’s guest blog on YA heroes is from award-winning author Pia Fenton (Christina Courtenay)
Heroes, Villains . . . What’s Not To Love?
There’s been a lot of talk about heroes on the Libertà blog. Also delicious villains.
Yes, I too am a fan of Mr Rickman and others like him, notably Lucius Malfoy (actor Jason Isaacs) in the Harry Potter movies — how could you forget him?! — and Loki in the Thor movies (actor Tom Hiddleston). Continue reading →
Today, our guest blogger is Janet Gover, an Australian writer who grew up in the bush. There she discovered that falling in love with the boy next door is difficult — when next door is 50 miles away and all you have for transport is a horse.
With a pedigree like that, the Hive was not at all sure what kind of guest blog we were going to get. And when it arrived, it was … well … different. But different can also be great fun as you’ll discover. Over to Janet . . .
Do you speak Oz/Australian/Strine?
It’s time for a confession.
The guilt of my nation has weighed heavily on my shoulders — and at last I’m coming clean. Australia is a nation of thieves. It must have something to do with our convict past. But I’m afraid we have stolen something very valuable… Welsh vowels.
Our guest blogger today is multi-published historical author Elizabeth Hawksley. She does more than write novels. Her plays have been performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, the Oxford Playhouse and the Edinburgh Festival. She is currently the UK Children’s Book Review editor for the Historical Novel Society Review and also teaches creative writing via courses, workshop and lectures.
It is not surprising that she is in demand on the platform. Many writers will remember a certain Sunday afternoon at the RNA Conference. Elizabeth recited the whole of Elinor Glyn with a perfectly straight face while her audience rolled around, aching with laughter and pleading to be given a chance to catch their breath. A real tour de force.
Today, Elizabeth is writing about emotion in the shrubbery and how it figures in the much-loved novels of Jane Austen.
Jane Austen : Emotion in the Shrubbery
In the early 19th century, every house of consequence had a shrubbery: a grassy area with shrubs, a few trees, a bench to sit on, and a winding gravel path. In essence, it was the antithesis of the formal parterres, geometrical shapes and clipped box hedges at the front of the house which proclaimed the owner’s status and control over Nature. Continue reading →