Rosie Clarke talks about her new book, The Girls of Mulberry Lane, set in London’s East End.
1. Can you tell us more about your latest book, The Girls of Mulberry Lane?
First of all I’d like to say thank you so much to my hosts for having me on their blog.
The Girls of Mulberry Lane is set in the East End of London in an imaginary lane, but close to actual locations so that if you looked for it on the street map you could find where it should be. It is the story of a community in the run up to World War II, bringing together the lives of those who live in Mulberry Lane as they prepare for a devastating war. Their lives go on as always, but the clouds of war are gathering. In the following books of the saga, their stories progress into the war and eventually beyond with all the tragedy and joy life brings.
2. If you have to pick one favourite character from the book, who would it be and why?
I think Peggy is my favourite character from the first book. She is a good friend to so many and her courage while battling against the gradual disintegration of a marriage is tear-jerking and makes you cheer for her.
3. Did you do any specific research for the book?
I always do a certain amount of research for these books, though I know the period quite well having written several set in the period and was in London after the war as a small child so saw some of the devastation for myself. The general feeling of the era is my era from my childhood and is something I love to read about myself and to watch on TV.
4. Was there a particular part of the novel that was really difficult to write for you?
No, I loved every minute of it, because I could appreciate the feelings of my characters and understand their motivation.
5. Have you ever been stuck while writing one of your books? How did you get over it?
No, I’ve never had writer’s block so far. If I did I would probably put the book away in a dark place and write something else and go back to it when my mind had cleared.
6. Who was your favourite author growing up? Has it changed?
My favourite author has changed many times. As a young girl I loved Regency novels and read everything of Georgette Heyer and other romance writers. Having read all seven novels of Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles I think he would probably be the one I’m enjoying most at the moment. After that would come Matthew Harffy’s Bernicia chronicles. I do like series so that I’ve got another book in the series to look forward to. I can’t wait for the next in that series. Archer hasn’t written another one I want to read – that I haven’t read yet. Not keen on short stories however good they are.
7. What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I’m not sure. I’ve told lots of little secrets. I did once say I would like to cuddle a tiger – but only if he was mine from a cub and I could trust him.
8. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I started in my thirties. I’d had several attempts that came to nothing but then lost my beloved dog and felt so miserable that I needed something to block out the pain. Once started it became something I had to do.
9. What’s one of the most exciting things that has happened to you since you became a writer?
I think having my books in the best-selling lists is a huge achievement. Lizzie’s Secret was at number one for some time at Amazon and other outlets. It kept swapping places with another popular book and stayed up in the top ten for nine months and is still in the top one hundred, some days as high as the forties. I’ve been on local radio because of my books and had my photo in the paper, but I should like to see my new paperback race up the mass market lists for my publishers and that would be the crowning glory.
10. What’s next for you?
The Mulberry Lane series will be quite a big one. At least five or six books are planned for the moment so I am concentrating on those for the time being. Afterwards, there will always be another book idea as long as readers continue to buy them and enjoy them. I have no intention of retiring to the sun, though my long-suffering husband thinks it a good idea.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I hope my answers have entertained and informed, and would only say that I love to hear what readers think through my website so please feel free to contact me.
1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are different battles being fought…
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father’s blackmail. Three years earlier, she’d been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother’s death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
As war threatens, Janet Ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs. Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of World War II descends?
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.