Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet Historical Fiction Author Rosemary Morris

I admire historical fiction authors who are able to take a slice from the past and create an intriguing story surrounding it. That's what today's guest, Rosemary Morris, has done with her novel "Tangled Love." Welcome, Rosemary!

About Rosemary Morris:

Rosemary Morris was born in 1940 in Sidcup Kent.  As a child, when she was not making up stories, her head was ‘always in a book.’

While working in a travel agency, Rosemary met her Indian husband.  He encouraged her to continue her education at Westminster College.  In 1961 Rosemary and her husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where she lived from 1961 until 1982.  After an attempted coup d’etat, she and four of her children lived in an ashram in France.

Back in England, Rosemary wrote historical fiction.  She is now a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, Historical Novel Society and Cassio Writers.

Apart from writing, Rosemary enjoys classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables, and creative crafts.

Time spent with her five children, and their families, most of who live near her is precious.

What is one of your favorite books and why?

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye doubtless inspired by her life in India and her knowledge of the sub-continent. Three generations of M.M.Kaye’s family and her husband served the British Raj. Her grandfather’s first cousin wrote an account of the Mutiny and the Afghan Wars.  

M.M. Kaye’s biography The Sun in The Morning describes her first eighteen years in India and England and she spent much of her early married life in India.

The love story of a young boy orphaned during the Mutiny and brought up by a Hindu ayah and a Muslim horse master before being sent to boarding school in England, and a part Hindu and part Russian princess is a page turner, rich in historical background and history.

What inspired your novel "Tangled Love?"

I enjoy reading historical non-fiction. I read about James II, who was forced to flee to France.  His daughter Mary and his son-in-law became king and queen, but many peers of the realm refused to swear an oath of allegiance to William and Mary.  They had made the oath to Mary’s father therefore they felt it was morally wrong to swear allegiance to his daughter and son-in-law.

I asked myself what the effect would be on children whose fathers refused to take the oath, built on the theme and wrote Tangled Love.

How would you describe your writing process?

Before I begin a novel I get to know my characters. I fill in a detailed questionnaire about them, two thirds of which might not appear in the novel, but it does mean they are as real to me as my family.

When I begin the novel I have a rough idea of the plot and theme but not a detailed one because I like my characters to surprise me. 

Except for Christmas Day, I usually work from 6 a.m. until 10 or 11 a.m.  Unless I am busy with other things I work from 4 p.m. to 8 0r 9 p.m.  Work includes research, writing, working with a constructive critique group, belonging to a Watford Writers, which meets once a week and many other ‘writerly’ activities including e-mails, my website and blog.

How have you marketed your book?

The edits for my next novel Sunday’s Child set in the Regency era, has hampered the publicity for my novel. However, I have my website, a blog, and belong to many online groups. Apart from this my e-publisher MuseItUp publishing is a ‘hands on’ publisher which promotes author’s work.

What advice would you give to other authors?                                 

First of all learn your craft.  No matter how good your idea is you need to write it as well as you can. Read books on How to Write and apply the advice. Join groups and societies where you can mix with other writers.  And be persistent. It takes many writers years to be accepted by a publisher.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.



Nine year-old Richelda Shaw sat on the floor in her nursery. She pulled a quilt pulled over her head to block out the thunder pealing outside the ancient manor house while an even fiercer storm raged deep within. Eyes closed, remained as motionless as a marble statue.
Elsie, her mother’s personal maid, removed the quilt from her head. ‘Stand up child, there’s nothing to be frightened of. Come, your father’s waiting for you.’
Richelda trembled. Until now Father’s short visits from France meant gifts and laughter. This one made Mother cry while servants spoke in hushed tones.
Followed by Elsie, Richelda hurried down broad oak stairs. For a moment, she paused to admire lilies of the valley in a Delft bowl.  Only yesterday, she picked the flowers to welcome Father home then arranged them with tender care. Now, the bowl stood on a chest, which stood beneath a pair of crossed broadswords hanging on the wall.
Elsie opened the great massive door of the great hall where Father stood to one side of an enormous hearth. Richelda hesitated. Her eyes searched for her mother before she walked across the floor, spread her skirts wide and knelt before him.
Father placed his right hand on her bent head. ‘Bless you, daughter, may God keep you safe.’ He smiled. ‘Stand up, child. Upon my word, sweetheart, your hair reminds me of a golden rose. How glad I am to see roses bloom in these troubled times.’
Richelda stood but dared not speak for she did not know him well.
 Putting an arm round her waist, he drew her to him. ‘Come, do not be nervous of your father, child. Tell me if you know King James II holds court in France while his daughter, Mary, and William, his son-in-law, rule after seizing his throne?’
‘Yes, Mother told me we are well rid of King James and his Papist wife,’ she piped up, proud of her knowledge.
With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knee. ‘Richelda, I must follow His Majesty for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, child, while King James lives how can I with honour swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?’
Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head breathing in his spicy perfume.
Father held her closer. ‘Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary. She begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand?’
As she nodded her cheek brushed against his velvet coat. ‘Yes, I understand, my tutor told me why many gentlemen will not serve the new king and queen.’
‘If you remain in England, you will be safe. Bellemont is part of your mother’s dowry so I doubt it will be confiscated.’
If she remained in England! Startled, she stared at him.
Smiling, he popped her onto her feet. ‘We shall ride. I have something to show you.’
Before long, they drew rein on the brow of a hill. Father pointed at a manor house in the valley.  ‘Look at our ancestral home, Field House. The Roundheads confiscated it soon after the first King Charles’ execution.  Richelda, I promised my father to do all in my power to regain the property.’ Grey-faced, he pressed his hand to his chest. ‘Alas, I have failed to keep my oath,’ he wheezed.
Richelda not only yearned to help him keep his promise to her grandfather, she also yearned to find the gold and jewels legend said her buccaneer ancestor, Sir Nicholas, hid.
She waited for her father to breathe easy before she spoke. ‘If we found the treasure trove you could buy Field House.’
 ‘Ah, you believe Sir Nicholas did not give all his plunder to Good Queen Bess,’ he teased.
 ‘Elsie told me legend says he hid some of his booty in Field House.’  The thought of it excited her.  In his old age, when Sir Nicholas retired from seafaring, is it true that he put his ship’s figurehead, Lady Luck, in the great hall?’
‘Yes, for all I know she is still above a mighty fireplace carved with pomegranates, our family’s device.’
‘I would like to see it.’
 ‘One day, perhaps you will. Now, tell me if you know our family motto.’
‘Fortune favours the brave.’
‘Are you brave, my little lady? Will you swear on the Bible to do all in your power to regain Field House?’
To please him and excited by the possibility of discovering treasure she nodded.

Where can readers find you and your book?

Amazon usa. Kindle
Amazon uk Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Bookstrand – Mainstream

And elsewhere


  1. What an interesting life you've lived, Rosemary. No wonder your novels are so exciting.

  2. Great interview - I too loved The Far Pavilions! Well done on having all these books out this year.