I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Rosie Clarke’s latest historical novel, The Runaway Wife. Rosie is pretty much an unstoppable force when it comes to writing, having written around 100 books under different pen names. Therefore, I’m so pleased she’s taken a temporary break to give us an insight into how she comes up with the ideas for her books and how she lets her characters tell their stories.
About the Book
Love, marriage, obsession, betrayal and treachery in 1920s London – a powerful and gritty saga perfect for fans of Kitty Neale, Josephine Cox and Rosie Goodwin.
The hedonism of London in the roaring ’20s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton’s ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life for ever. Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises that all that glitters isn’t gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.
Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel…
Format: ebook (255 pp.) Publisher: Aria Fiction
Published: 1st February 2018 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Runaway Wife on Goodreads
Interview with Rosie Clarke, author of The Runaway Wife
Without giving too much away, can you tell me a bit about The Runaway Wife?
Annabel is her mother’s daughter. Taught to expect to marry well and to be a credit to her name, but that isn’t the reason she allows her mother to bully her. Underneath her meekness, Annabel is brave and she seeks to protect those she loves: her younger sister and her brother, who is older but has to carry so much of the burden of a struggling estate and his mother’s displeasure. When she is finally pushed into a marriage with a man who is as cruel as he is rich, a girl like that will break all the rules.
What was the inspiration for the book?
I never know why I write a particular book. Usually there isn’t any particular reference point that turns a light bulb on and makes me think I’ll write about this or that. However, things drip feed into your subconscious and perhaps I’d been watching or reading about abusive men. I wanted a story that I could connect up with Jessie’s Promise without being a sequel to her story and Annabel just suddenly took root. Once her mother started nagging I knew she had to make an unhappy marriage and Richard immediately strutted centre stage. He was so damned sure of himself and so careless of others that I knew he had to be really nasty.
The book involves the portrayal of an abusive marriage. Were there scenes you found difficult to write?
No, I enjoyed writing them. Once I’m into Annabel’s character I’m feeling her misery and I wanted to hit back so I needed to really feel how she felt. It was so difficult for her to think of actually walking out of her marriage so she tried other methods first until she understood that he might kill her in one of his rages and then she had to go.
How did you approach the research for the book? Do you enjoy the process of research?
I don’t do hours and hours of research. I did this once for a period I didn’t know and it came out like a history lesson and I had to rewrite the whole thing. I always know a bit about what I am writing and then when I need specific details I research that in books, internet and watch TV programmes set in the period if I can. Watching the period you need is great, though it only gives you the feel and you still have to research dates and details.
The Runaway Wife is set in the 1920s. What do you think is the key to creating an authentic picture of a particular historical period?
First ask your characters to come and once they do you know where they belong. All my books are character led and then I paint a picture in words of their surroundings. Annabel is very much a young woman of the thirties, smart, intelligent but still chained by her mother’s old-fashioned ideas and strictures. Only when she breaks free from her mother’s domination can she be herself. So once you know that you research that period and blend it into the story.
All your books are set in the first half of the 20th century. What is it that attracts you to this period?
For my sagas I tend to write mostly about the period I know more about but I’ve also written other periods under other names, historical, twenties, all sorts.
You’ve written over one hundred books under a number of different pen names. Where do you get all your ideas?
It is like a train station. I have to use the signals to keep some of them waiting while the others are in the station. New ideas come all the time. [Cathy: I love that way of describing it!]
Do you have a special place to write or any writing rituals?
I have my study, which has all my printers, computers and books together and is very comfortable.
Which other writers do you admire or enjoy reading?
Oh, so many. I love Georgette Heyer but I also love Matthew Harffy’s work, which is Saxons fighting in early Britain. I’m just reading a good Viking trilogy, and I also enjoy Sarah Flint’s thrillers. I like family sagas, though I try not to read these all the time because I don’t want to cross threads with my own work.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I’ve just started a standalone Christmas book but I am also thinking about the next in the Mulberry Lane series. Thank you for having me on your blog and I hope your readers enjoy my answers, and try my books.
About the Author
Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. She started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antiques shop. In 2004, Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy.
Rosie also writes as Anne Herries and Cathy Sharp.
Connect with Rosie