Where I Write



Readers are often interested to know where I write. Whilst still working full-time I wrote whenever and wherever I could, often scribbling a few words in the early morning before rushing off to work.

I usually took my lunch break in an hotel bar near the office. I’d order myself a cappuccino and soon learned to shut out the muzak and the chatter of conversation while I tapped furiously on my laptop for fifty minutes. My colleagues jokingly accused me of disappearing off into the seventeenth century!

In the evening I’d keep the lap top open in the kitchen while I prepared dinner and edited what I’d written during the day and, several evenings a week, I’d write late into the night.

Now I write full-time and have the good fortune of three inspiring places to work.

My summertime writing retreat is in a converted outbuilding in the garden. Over the years it became a dumping ground for junk and even home to a flat-packed shed! Recently I turfed out all the boxes and redecorated the room in a beautiful duck egg green. One wall is covered with bookshelves and another with low filing cabinets.

There is a comfortable armchair, my Thinking Chair’ where I do my research and drink endless cups of tea.


A glazed roof lantern floods the room with light and there is a window like a giant letterbox above my desk, from where I can see the garden and watch the birds on the feeder hanging from the pergola.

Beyond the garden are the woods, mostly beech and silver birch. Sometimes, to the detriment of the roses, the garden is visited by deer.


If it’s warm I write with the door open and can stroll around the garden muttering snatches of dialogue under my breath as I wrestle with plot problems.


In the winter I set up camp a cosy study with a woodburning stove.

My desk faces the window and allows me to look into the woods that surround our cottage. I keep binoculars on the windowsill to watch the woodpeckers. The small sofa is usually cluttered with piles of history books sprouting yellow Post-it bookmarks, notebooks and my ‘nest of vipers’ – a jumble of electrical cables and leads for various laptops, ipads, Kindles, etc.


I have a new desk chair since I’m plagued by Writers’ Back, and have invested in a laptop stand and wireless trackpad and keyboard for my Mac. For those of you who suffer from back and neck pain from spending too many hours looking down at a laptop, I heartily recommend this solution.


I plan a great deal of my writing while walking the dog in the beautiful woods that surround our cottage.

Walking in the fresh air and being near to Nature has the wonderful side-effect of making me far more productive when working out plots and characters. Hattie, though, would much rather I concentrated of chasing rabbits and throwing her ball! Hattie is a great writing companion and reminds me, frequently, that it’s important not to sit hunched over a laptop all day.

I’m very lucky to have dedicated places to write and to be able to leave my research books and papers laid out without risk of interference. What is interesting is that, once I’m in the throes of creating the secret world of my next book, I feel as if I’m actually there and I hardly notice my real surroundings at all!

Posted in Book List, My Writing Life

Ten Interesting Facts About Life in Seventeenth Century

One of the most fascinating aspects of history is the day-to-day minutiae of how people lived.  You might be surprised by the following:

Samuel Pepys’s housekeeping bill was £7.00 per month. One penny bought a pound of cheese or three herrings, six pence bought a leg of beef or a lemon.


Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s Portugese wife, is credited with making tea-drinking popular in England. Tea was generally considered to be a ladies’ drink and often consumed by the mistress of a house and her friends in her closet or bedchamber.


Shoes were designed to fit either foot. Women of quality wore beautifully embroidered shoes that were impractical in the filthy streets. Pattens had a wood and iron sole, often raised by as much as four inches, and were tied over the decorative slippers to lift the wearer above the mud.


A girl could be married when she was as young as twelve and a boy at fourteen. A marriage didn’t have to take place in a church and all that was required was to make a declaration.


Water ran under the streets of London in elm pipes from a reservoir in Islington. Subscribers paid six shillings a quarter to have a cistern in their cellar connected to the supply by a lead pipe. Water flowed into the cistern on two or three days a week. The less well off collected water from the public conduits.


78% of women were illiterate in the 1670’s but twenty years later this figure had shrunk to 52%. Quakers believed in women’s intellectual capabilities and eight year old girls who could read well at Mrs Makin’s school at Tottenham received instruction in Latin, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish.


Hackney carriages first became available in 1625 at the maypole in the Strand. By 1662 four hundred licenses, each costing £5.00, were granted and charges laid down of eighteen pence for the first hour and twelve pence thereafter. From the Inns of the Court to Westminster cost twelve pence.


During the Great Fire of London, the lead roof of St Paul’s cathedral melted and gushed out of the rain spouts, forming a molten river that flowed down Ludgate Hill.


Water was rarely safe to drink in the cities and ale or beer was the usual way to quench thirst. By the middle of the seventeenth century there were 50,000 alehouses in England, one for every hundred inhabitants.


Syphilis, known as ‘the great pox’ was common and the usual treatment was for the sufferer to be brought up to simmering point in a bath of mercury. If the mercury didn’t send the patient mad, the pox ate away his nose and made his hair fall out. Even if there had been an apparent cure, thirty years later the sufferer could become paralysed or demented.

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Posted in Seventeenth Century Life

The Chateau on the Lake – The Inspiration behind the story

I began to plan The Chateau on the Lake with the vague thought that it would be interesting to write a love story set at the time of the French Revolution. I didn’t know much about it then but everyone knows that the starving poor rebelled against the greedy aristocrats and beheaded Louis XVI, don’t they? Except that, once I started to research, I quickly discovered that it wasn’t as straightforward as that.

France had been involved in several wars in Europe and America in the forty years leading up to the Revolution and the financial implications of this were considerable. The cost of maintaining the army severely depleted a treasury already drained by royal extravagance and the country was almost bankrupt.

There was no call on the titled nobility and the wealthy clergy to pay taxes and the burden of this fell on the bourgeoisie and the poor. This was manifestly unfair and the bourgeoisie began to rally support in the salons of Paris and London.

The discontent grew and an angry mob stormed the Bastille. In 1790 the nobility was abolished and two years later Louis XVI was guillotined. Soon France was not only at war with Austria, Prussia and Britain but also had to contend with bitter civil war and rioting.

It’s often perceived that the victims trundling their way to the guillotine in a tumbril were all powdered and patched aristocrats but this wasn’t the case. The great majority were working class who had taken up arms against the Revolution. Many ordinary people were denounced for very little reason and a terrifying atmosphere of suspicion and fear prevailed.

I began to wonder what it would be like to live in France as the Revolution gathered momentum. How would it feel to be in constant fear for your life? What if you were half French and half English and visiting France for the first time to search for relatives you hadn’t known existed? What if France declared war on England just as you arrived and you couldn’t go back? These questions intrigued me and so Madeleine Moreau, the heroine of The Chateau on the Lake, came into being.

More questions followed, thick and fast. Could Madeleine pass for a native French woman? How would she find a way to live undercover, whilst in perpetual fear of being denounced and guillotined as a spy? Would she maintain her idealistic pre-conceptions of the people’s revolution or would she discover that it was not at all how she’d imagined it would be?

As the Reign of Terror casts a dark shadow over the populace, two very different men become rivals for Madeleine’s affection. One is a forbidden love, a former noble, and the other his charming friend and estate manager who has high political aspirations. Madeleine cares for both men but she must take control of her own destiny and unravel the tangled secrets of the past before she can find future happiness.

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Posted in Georgian and Regency Life, My Writing Life, The Chateau on the Lake

An Exciting New Venture!

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt

Writing can be a lonely business. Even though writers may be retiring by nature and are usually happy to hide themselves away in their writing cave, the day comes when they long to step outside, sniff the fresh air and find someone to talk to – preferably another writer. No one else, not even best friends, seem to understand the difficulties a writer faces and are prepared to spend their time untangling plot problems or discovering why some characters refuse to do as they’re told.

I’ve been writing now for seventeen years. At the beginning it was just for fun; I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library (these were the days before Amazon and Kindles) and thought I’d write a contemporary mystery story for my own enjoyment. The process of writing was fascinating and led me into all kinds research. My mind was buzzing with my characters, who quickly began to seem so real that I was having conversations with them. Yes, I know, authors can be very peculiar! Before long I was obsessed by my new hobby and began to write short stories and then another novel. And another.

I began to long to talk about this with someone who would understand and so I joined a writing group. Every Monday evening, when we met in the skittle alley behind a pub, I was in heaven. I won some of the short story competitions and no one minded when I rabbited on about what I was writing. In fact, the other members read my work and encouraged me to look for an agent.

And this is where it gets interesting. It took me eleven years and seven novels before I found an agent to represent me. If I was starting again today, I’d approach it differently.

Thinking about this last year, I realised that I now have the knowledge and information to help new writers to improve their skills and shortcut the process of finding an agent. The difficulty is that, like other authors producing a book a year, it’s not simply a matter of meeting the deadline but also of promoting your books, giving talks and forging a presence on social media. Time is always short so I decided to find a partner with overlapping skills so that, together, we would have a greater knowledge base to pass on. I am delighted to say I have found that partner in Danielle Auld. Danielle is a writer but also the Director of a thriving copywriting business and a wiz with social media.

Danielle and I have teamed up together to form Creative Writing Escapes. Our aim is to provide friendly and supportive advice in full day or half day workshops to a maximum of eight Escapees at my cottage in the woods. There will be a home-cooked lunch, tea and coffee on tap and CAKE!

Next year we intend to expand our offer with luxury weekend writing escapes where Escapees will be able to put on their slippers and relax in comfortable surroundings away from the clamour of domesticity and everyday life. There will be the opportunity to chat with other writers over a glass of wine, to participate in discussions and workshops, or simply to find a quiet corner and write in peace.

I am the award-winning author of five traditionally published novels and two novellas. A sixth novel will be published in May 2017 and the seventh is half written. My dream is not only to continue to write my novels but to help new and intermediate writers achieve their writing dreams.

Do take a look at the Creative Writing Escapes website to see what we can offer.


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Posted in Events, My Writing Life, News

What’s Your Problem?


Photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire

Conflict is an essential ingredient of a good story. I’d go so far as to say that without conflict there is no story. It catches the reader’s imagination and makes them ask themselves, ‘What would I do in this situation?’

So how do we define conflict? Conflict isn’t necessarily simply an argument or a confrontation.

Internal conflict.

This could be as straightforward as your heroine’s guilty ponderings on whether to stay at home and look after her baby rather than sending him to a nursery or an agonising decision to be made when a dying wife asks her husband to turn off her life support. Or perhaps a father has to decide whether to tell the police his son is a drug dealer?

External conflict.

Causes of external conflict might be as great as a tsunami or other force of nature, a motorway development scheme planned to run through your back garden or being stuck in a mile long traffic jam when you need to collect a sick child from school. Perhaps Hurricane Doris is whirling towards your home, destroying everything in its path? The car won’t start and when it does, you can’t find one of the children. He’s disappeared into the storm to look for the family dog. Should you drive away or stay and risk the lives of your other children while you search for little Jimmy?

Conflict plays on a reader’s emotions while he struggles alongside his hero to decide what to do. We want the reader to experience fear, anxiety and hope. The stronger the emotion, the more likely he is to root for the hero and keep on reading to the end of the story to discover what happens.  Nothing should happen too easily for your hero because without the conflict your story will be plain vanilla. Conflict forces change and without change you’re hero will never reach his goal.

The more complicated the conflict is for the hero, the more complex your story will be. There should be no straightforward answer or your reader will become impatient. Why doesn’t the hero just walk away from his domineering girlfriend, for goodness sake?

For maximum impact layer both internal and external conflict together in a story.

A hero’s choices should be hard and whatever he chooses to do, he will sacrifice something that is important to him. For example, if John accepts the fabulous new job offer in Jeddah, will his new wife come with him? She’s recently set up her own thriving business in a local town and has always said she could never be an ex-pat wife without a challenging job of her own. But this job would take John right to the top of his profession, bringing him all the opportunities for advancement he’s ever dreamed of. What would you do?

To sum up:

  • Conflict drives your story forwards
  • Develop complex choices for your characters
  • If there is a conflict between two people don’t make it a black and white choice
  • Pull on your readers’ heartstrings to make them really care what happens
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Posted in Book List, Writing Tips

Settings to Hook Your Reader

Never underestimate the importance of setting in your novel. 

Setting is a great deal more than simply the place where your story happens. Used to maximum advantage, the setting will enhance your characters and the plot while enriching the readers’ experience. There are likely to be scenes taking place in several settings within each novel. Consider the following aspects of the ‘where’ and ‘when’.

  • Location. Depending on the genre, this might be Earth, another planet or a fantasy world. Homing in you can choose a country, a county, a town or a village. It may be a specific or an imaginary place: A school, a clifftop house, a farm or a mansion.
  • Geographical influences. This relates to the lie of the land and the effect it might have upon your characters. Your hero might have to climb a mountain, wade across a river in full spate or simply gaze out of his window at moorland or the sea.

  • Atmosphere  The mood of a setting will be influenced by its geography: a barren mountainside may be exciting to one character or a terrifying challenge to another. Your heroine may long to soak up the sun on a beach at St Tropez while another might find it uncomfortably hot and boring. A haunted mansion will portray a completely different atmosphere from a cottage by the sea.
  • Climate  It’s important to research unfamiliar places because the geography will influence the climate: land masses, large bodies of water, mountains, waterways and prevailing winds. Harsh climates can engender a different kind of person than one who comes from a tropical climate.
  • Weather  This will influence a character’s mood. Harnessing the weather is great for building atmosphere but take care not to make this a cliché, eg, ‘It was a dark and stormy night …’

  • Era  Contemporary, historical or set in the future. Important historical events might engender novels such as a spy story set in WWII, a tale of treachery and politics at the court of Henry VIII or a tragic love story set during the French Revolution.
  • Time of day  Dawn, dusk, the heat of the midday sun or a chilly night will all evoke different atmospheres.
  • Time of year  Choose the season carefully and you can draw upon your readers’ emotional responses to evocative times such as Christmas, summer holidays or the anniversary of a significant event.
  • The passage of time  It’s important to keep track of scenes so that all the events of the story work together. You don’t want to confuse the reader with a pregnancy that lasts for eleven months or your hero arriving at a destination before he left. Be careful with flashbacks and make it clear when time has elapsed during a long journey.

  • Social environment. The social, cultural and political environment will shape your characters. This will vary from country to country, the north to the south and from the city to a rural village. It’s particularly important in historical fiction, where attitudes to slavery or rights for women may be shocking by today’s politically correct thinking. The social environment may also influence patterns of speech.
  • Details. Carefully researched details of a setting will add authenticity to your story. Using all the senses to describe not only the look of a place but the smell of the river, the feel of the sand under bare feet, the sound of the sheep on the hill or the taste of a local cheese, will bring your setting vividly to life.

The right setting is a vital part of a successful novel. Spend time in developing your settings so that they colour your writing with atmosphere, influence the way your characters react to events, the choices they make and even how they speak. Remember that the setting for your novel isn’t only its geographical location but that it forms a rich and vivid picture of the world your characters inhabit.


Posted in Writing Tips

My Christmas Memories


My younger brother and I grew up during the fifties and sixties and some of our happiest memories are those of Christmas. The celebrations began on Stir-Up Sunday. Silver sixpenny pieces were carefully mixed into the pudding and I’m surprised there was any pudding left after we finished ‘helping’!

The festive season was far less commercial then and we used to spend weeks planning and making presents for our friends and family. I’ve lost count of the number of felt needle-cases, pipe-cleaner holders, bookmarks, pomanders and Radio Times covers I made. The grannies, grandpas and aunties were always properly appreciative of these small items made with love. ‘It’s the thought that counts,’ was the oft-repeated mantra as the gift was unwrapped.

I was good at sewing but useless at knitting and my brother found it hard to put on a grateful face one year when I presented him with a fashionably narrow moss stitch tie that had an odd kink half way down. I’m not sure it had many, or indeed any, outings.

One of my favourite presents was a wonderful ocelot faux-fur gilet that my mother made. I loved it and wore it with the scarlet eight-panelled skirt I’d made at school, feeling like a film star!

christmas-1843676__340And then there were the decorations. Painted Chinese lanterns in bright colours and with long tassels underneath were hung from the light fittings. The house would be swathed from top to bottom with paper chains, not the expensive, pre-glued ones bought from a shop but cut up from newspaper or old magazines, stuck together with flour and water paste and sprinkled with glitter. Mum would still be vacuuming up the glitter in July.

My father would take us out to choose the tree and we’d wedge it in a coal bucket disguised with red crepe paper. Then the box of glass baubles and tinsel would be brought down from the loft. We used to clip red candle-holders made of pressed tin onto the Christmas tree and someone always had to remain in the room on fire duty whilst they were lit. There were no ‘Elf and Safety’ rules then, only common sense. Once the tree was decorated, my brother and I would fight to be the one to stand on a chair and place the battered fairy on the top.

Begging letters to Father Christmas were written on sheets of Bronco toilet paper (also brilliant as tracing paper) so that they were light enough to float up the chimney with ease. By five in the morning on Christmas day we were nearly exploding with excitement when we raced downstairs. We squealed with delight when we saw that Rudolf’s carrot had disappeared and the mince-pie crumbs and empty sherry glass on the hearth meant that Father Christmas had visited us during the night.

My brother always tipped his stocking presents onto the floor in a heap and rummaged through them while I pulled each treat out one by one, hoping to make the pleasure last. There were puzzles, crayons and notebooks, those wonderful Japanese flower gardens that grow when you put them in water, a yoyo, a book, a shiny new penny and, my particular greedy favourite, a tin of mandarins and a tin of cream that I was allowed to enjoy all by myself.


Our parents and Granny, yawning in their dressing gowns, would come downstairs and we were allowed to open our main presents before breakfast. We’d spend hours with a box of Fuzzy Felt, some new Meccano or daydreaming about the endless possibilities of a £2 postal order or a book token. There was nothing on television in the mornings in those days and we amused ourselves with our new toys or books until it was time to lay the table for lunch.

The turkey was carried in from the steamy kitchen with great ceremony and carved at the table, the breast pronounced deliciously moist and the roast potatoes crisp. Then my father would ignite the pudding with brandy, invariably setting the sprig of holly on fire. Trifle, nuts, dates and tangerines were offered to anyone who had room for them. After lunch we’d sit by the fire and turn on the television for the Queen’s speech, watch a film, squabble over Monopoly or read our new books until it was time for turkey sandwiches and Christmas cake. I used to hide the icing, peel off the marzipan and eat it in one delicious chunk.

Slightly queasy with over-indulgence, bedtime was always bitter-sweet with the realisation that it would be a whole year before we would be able to enjoy such a wonderful day again. On Boxing Day Mum always made us sit down to write our Thank You letters and then we knew then that Christmas really was over for another year.


Christmas Memories was first published on Becca’s Books website in December 2015.

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Posted in My Writing Life

Q & A with Maeva, Spanish publishers of The Apothecary’s Daughter


First off, Charlotte, we’d like to get to know you better as a writer: what inspires you?

It’s hard to be precise because inspiration comes from many places; reading a newspaper, hearing a family story, a girl in a red hat hurrying by, an overheard conversation, a sonnet by Shakespeare … The magic happens when you combine several different elements and ask ‘What if …’ Suddenly you have the beginnings of a story.

I live in seventeenth century cottage in the woods and walking my dog, Hattie, in the peaceful countryside that surrounds my home often brings me inspiration. Hattie is very good at listening while I mull over plot problems as we walk!

In your opinion, what makes your writing voice distinct and unique?

I always imagine the story I am writing is going to be made into a film and picture it in my head as if on a cinema screen. Somehow this helps me to see if the story is working.

Readers tell me that what they like most about my writing is the level of historical and sensual detail that brings the settings and characters to life. They often say, ‘I forgot I was reading. I thought I was there!’

 What authors and books do you admire most?

I admire the writing of Tracy Chevalier, Sarah Waters, Robbert Goddard, Joanne Harris and Philippa Gregory and others too numerous to mention!

I love to read, not only historical fiction, but a good mystery or sometimes even science fiction. What works for me is any book, fiction or non-fiction, that takes me to different places and shows me new worlds. For me, the whole point of reading is to relax and escape.


When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

Surprisingly late in life. My husband and I have five children and I had my own business designing hotel interiors. I frequently travelled overseas so I never had much spare time. I’ve always had my nose in a book and one day, after most of the children had grown up and left home, I was choosing a book from the library and I thought, ‘I could write something like this!’ In fact it took eleven years and seven contemporary novels before my first historical novel, The Apothecary’s Daughter (La Hija del Boticario) was published.

 People say writers always leave parts of themselves in their novels; what did you leave in this one?

As a writer I cannot help but use my own emotions and experiences of life to bring color and resonance to my stories. Of course, I never use exact situations but I do conjure up memories of times I was very sad or happy and write scenes through my character’s eyes while I hold onto that memory. In La Hija del Boticario I remembered how it felt to be expecting a baby, what it was like to be in love for the first time and how frightening it can be when events are outside your control.

 What was your reaction when Maeva bought the rights to your novel, and what do you think being published in Spain it will mean to your career?

I was so excited to hear that Maeva would publish my novel! It’s a fantastic opportunity for my writing to reach a wider audience. My novels already have fans in several different parts of the world and it’s so interesting when they email me with their views. Although La Hija del Boticario was initially written for the UK market, the fears and joys of my characters are universal emotions and will find resonance in many countries. I do wish that I knew Spanish, though, as I’d love to read the translation.


The protagonist, Susannah, is a young apothecary caught in the throes of the plague. What traits do you share with her?

To some extent, all my heroines reflect different facets of my character. Like Susannah, I had a happy childhood but later things weren’t always so easy. The interesting thing is how a woman often doesn’t know how strong she is until she is tested. The heroines in all my novels grow and change during the course of the story. I can be very determined, too!

 Is she a fighter, well ahead of her times, looking for a future for herself?

Susannah is definitely a fighter and she never gives up. She is also ahead of her time in seeking a career. Unmarried women were so constrained in the seventeenth century but most women today would not find it inspiring to read about a heroine who always does as she is told by the men in her life. I hope you will agree that I have found a credible way forward for Susannah to have the life she wants.

What has the portrayal of the time period been like?

I always love researching a new novel and make great efforts to be sure that my settings and historical time frame is accurate. I particularly enjoy reading primary sources written by those who were there. Samuel Pepys’s diary was invaluable in capturing the spirit of the time. He was funny, adulterous, clever, rude, selfish and observant. His writing brought alive for me the terror of the plague and the Great Fire of London. I feel I know London well in the seventeenth century even though not so well in the twenty-first century!

What can you tell us about your research? Of all the things you found out about the plague, which was the most surprising?

Very recently I heard that the plague wasn’t spread by black rats, at all, but by gerbils! I don’t know if this is true. There are different kinds of plague and one variety was spread by sneezing. At the time it was thought that the plague was spread by the ‘evil miasma’ rising from the Thames. No doubt the river did smell terrible, particularly in the summer, but it didn’t spread the plague. I found an illustration of a doctor wearing a beaked plague mask stuffed with herbs, like the one Dr Ambrose wears in the story. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable this must have been!


What opinions have readers shared with you after this journey through medicinal plants and ancient medicine?

Many readers have been fascinated by the herbal cures mentioned in La Hija del Boticario, though few have ventured any opinions except that they are glad not to have to treat the plague with only a handful of herbs.

 Nowadays, so called “natural medicine” has once again become a trend. Even if your book is set in 1665, do you feel it shares some common ground with the current times?

There is a resurgence of interest in herbal medicine, though it is often used now as a support to modern medicine and treatments. I don’t recommend using herbs medicinally unless you are sure what you are doing, since some can be poisonous. Foxgloves, for example, look so pretty but contain digitalis, which is used in modern heart medicine and may be fatal in an incorrect dosage. Of course, lotions and potions such as Arnica gel for bruises, purchased from reputable health care shops, will have been tested and are safe to use.

In this fast-moving modern world, I believe there is something soothing about using ‘natural’ or herbal medicines to heal minor ailments.



Thank you for interviewing me and I hope that the Spanish readers of La Hija del Boticario will enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Posted in My Writing Life, Seventeenth Century Life, The Apothecary's Daughter

Romance or History?

One of the questions readers often ask me when they know I write romantic historical fiction, is ‘Which is the most important to you, the romance or the history?’ It’s a very interesting question and my usual answer is that both are equally important, though not necessarily at the same time.

I write the kind of emotionally intense novels I like to read, that is, with a powerful love story as its beating heart but in a realistic and accurate historical setting with a dash of mystery. Generally I write about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations at times of dramatic change in their world. The injustice of the strong preying on the weak makes me angry and this theme is often visited in various ways in my writing.

I’ve written about both the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the French Revolution a hundred years later and disasters such as the plague and the Great Fire of London in1666. My latest novel, The House in Quill Court, is set in London and explores the growing criminal underworld of the Regency era.

I pay a great deal of attention to researching the details of these events and then weave my own fictional heroes and heroines through the bones of the historical facts. Sometimes I’ll give a real historical figure a cameo role. I never bend history to suit my story and I make my characters ‘grow’ out of their own particular era. They must think and act in ways that are appropriate for that point in history and may have a different perspective, coloured by political and social attitudes of the day. This can be challenging, especially when it comes to subjects such as capital punishment, slavery or religion. It’s necessary to portray these in a way that is true to their time but doesn’t alienate the modern reader.

people-1873181__340My heroine may not be perfect, in fact it’s easier for me and for readers to identify with her if she isn’t, and she must be tested to her absolute limits so that she can discover her hidden strengths. She will be brave and proactive and will take control of her life when all around her is falling to pieces. It’s quite possible that she isn’t looking for love at all since she’s so busy achieving other goals in her life.

It’s essential for me to fall in love with my hero. After all, if I don’t find him sexy and attractive it’s unlikely that my heroine will. One of the perks of being an author of romantic fiction is that I can design my own perfect hero! Again, he won’t be nauseatingly perfect and may make terrible mistakes of judgement and be full of self-doubt but he must be brave and put the heroine’s life before his own when the chips are down. I like my hero and heroine to work together to solve a seemingly insurmountable conflict and they may have to contend with violent criminal attacks, carriage chases and escapes from dungeons or burning buildings.

The path to romantic fulfilment for my hero and heroine will be exceedingly rocky but when they finally commit to each other the reader is left in no doubt that theirs is a very special, once in a lifetime love.


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Posted in Book List, Writing Tips

A new cover for The House in Quill Court

The House in Quill Court has a lovely new cover for the paperback version out on 25th August 2016.House in Quill Court mmpb cover

Posted in Events, The House in Quill Court

My books

About Charlotte

Charlotte Betts Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children had grown up. She lives with her husband in a cottage in the woods on the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire.

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Press Officer

Contact Charlotte via Clara Diaz, Press Officer on 020 3122 6565 or clara.diaz@littlebrown.co.uk at Little Brown Book Group, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0D2