Guest blogger: Karen Turner
The romance novel is one of the most popular genres in women’s fiction today. As an avid reader I, as many of you no doubt do, enjoy reading a variety genres. This week I’ve succumbed to peer group pressure and have started on the first book in the Game of Thrones series. That said, I’ll always return to a romance.
Combine romance with a love of history and you have a match made in heaven … get it? Sorry, that was pretty bad, wasn’t it!
My mum, noticing my fascination with history, and knowing how much I loved reading, introduced me to the genre of historical romance when I was probably around eighteen or nineteen. She’d been reading (for the umpteenth time) a book by the name of Angelique: the Marquise of the Angels by Sergeanne Golon.
Translated from French, these novels were a hit in the sixties and featured our heroine Angelique in and out of numerous scrapes and rollicking adventures. In all, I think there were more than ten novels.
I was hooked and have adored the historical romance genre ever since.
These days I’ll devour anything written by Philippa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon. From time to time I might stray into Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, Charlaine Harris and Bryce Courtenay territory, but show me Pamela Belle and I’m back and ready for a well-written, well-researched historical romance.
When I began writing my novels, Torn and Inviolate, my aim was to write the style of book I would enjoy reading, which for me meant authenticity of detail and language.
I truly believe that the success of my novels has been, in large part, thanks to my emersion in the past. While nose-deep in the 19th century, the world beyond my home office was like music playing in the distance—I knew it was there, vaguely heard it, but wasn’t distracted by it.
I was engrossed in dialogue, clothing, houses, landscapes and scenes just as though my characters’ lives were rolling out before my eyes as in a movie.
What about language … slang for instance? Do you know that to get drunk was to get foxed?
I can’t tell you how fascinating I found all of this! It drew me in and I couldn’t wait to get my story down.
Interesting piece of trivia: the 1810 equivalent of the word ‘bloke’ was ‘blade’. Regency gentlemen wore dress swords every day but when it came to serious sword business, these fellas carried the big kahuna.
So what is it about the romance genre, or more specifically historical romance, that we love? Is it the opportunity to live vicariously through the escapades of someone else? To share their ups-and-downs and know that everything works out in the end? Perhaps it’s the chance to meet the man of our dreams; cue Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Francis Heron from Pamela Belle’s The Moon in the Water or even my own Patrick Washburn in Torn.
It’s not to say we’re not happy in our real-life relationships; I’ve not met the man, either in life or fiction, that could entice me away from my everyday country boy husband, but a little bit of fantasy doesn’t go astray.
Besides that, who doesn’t enjoy a good cuppa, a couple of Tim Tams and a knee-trembling, heart-thumping good romance?
Karen Turner is an Australian author, who discovered a passion for fictional prose as an escape from the corporate world, which led to a rather eclectic compilation of short stories, All That and Everything. First published in 2009, many of the short stories have won literary awards. Karen has also published two novels: Torn and Inviolate. Find out more at www.karenturner.com.au
1808 – When 14 year old Alexandra meets Patrick, her handsome and notorious step-brother, she is confused and resentful as he shakes the foundations of everything she has ever known. Driving a wedge between Alex and her brother Simon, he tears apart the fabric of her quiet world. Yet she is intrigued by the enigmatic Patrick and finds herself increasingly drawn to him.
These are the years between childhood and womanhood, during which Alex begins to realise that her growing affection for Patrick owes nothing to sibling fondness.
But these are turbulent times for England and Patrick and Simon, answering the call of adventure, join the fight against Napoleon with devastating consequences.
In a family ravaged by war and deceit Alex finds herself betrayed in the worst possible way.
This is the story of one woman’s passionate struggle for love and hope against all the constraints of her time.
1813 – Numb after the pain of an intolerable betrayal, 19 year old Alexandra Broughton turns to her only source of hope – an arranged marriage. Resolutely accepting this as her last chance to make a future for herself, she journeys to Scotland to face the unknown.
Trapped in a loveless, violent marriage, and with nothing left to lose, Alex embarks on a fight for survival. Battling the irresistible forces ranging against her, she remains bound to the one man she can never forgive – the one man above all others she can never forget.
Inviolate continues the story of Alex Broughton, the passionate and determined young woman readers first met in Torn. Released in April 2014, Inviolate takes up right where Torn left you wanting more. Order it now at you favourite book store.