It goes without saying that most writers are readers first. Who were the authors that inspired you to write romantic fiction? It’s interesting that many of the top 1000 romance books of all time (link: http://www.romancenovels.me/top-1000-romance-novels-of-all-time/ ) are historical. My reading matured in the 80s, and it’s lovely to see the classics in the top 100, (Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier), alongside the sweeping sagas of Barbara Taylor Bradford that defined the books of that decade for me.
I love historical research – in fact it’s hard to stop sometimes, and actually get down to writing the story. Each book takes years of work, and I try hard to get the details perfect. There are always files and files of notes – I only end up using a small amount of the research, but think (as Hemingway said), the reader can almost see between the lines, and get a feel for the depth of the work that supports the story. ‘The Perfume Garden’ weaves a contemporary and historical storyline, and I loved learning about the modern perfume industry just as much as researching the Spanish Civil War. I’ve put heart and soul into this book, and it’s my most personal yet – it draws as much on the years we lived in the orange groves near Valencia as it does on historical research.
The books are – I hope – unapologetically romantic as well as historically accurate. (My favourite bad review on Amazon for ‘The Beauty Chorus’ was titled: ‘Whoops, it’s a romance’!) I’m sorry the reader was obviously hoping for a dry book about aviation, but the true stories of the brave young women who flew Spitfires are peppered with romance. I loved reading their wartime diaries, and learning about their social lives as much as their daring day jobs. They were my kind of women – brave, rebellious, proving themselves more than equal to the male pilots, and then they would change into gorgeous evening frocks and dance all night at the Riviera. The wartime women of ‘The Perfume Garden’ – a soldier, a war photographer, and a nurse are all based on factual accounts, but each has their own, sweeping love story too. For me, research and romance go hand in hand – no ‘whoops’ about it.
‘The Perfume Garden’ by Kate Lord Brown is published by Atlantic on June 1st 2012
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qViezOftdpM
Available at Amazon, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfume-Garden-Kate-Lord-Brown/dp/1848879334