CONVERSATION WITH “GATHER THE BONES” by ALISON STUART
Thanks to Stacey and the team for inviting me onto this fabulous blog.
I chose, rather rashly, to open up a conversation about my latest release GATHER THE BONES.
I describe it as “history, mystery, romance and ghosts” or “Downton Abbey with ghosts”. My publisher describes it as:
The horrors of the Great War are not the only ghosts that haunt Helen Morrow and her late husband's reclusive cousin, Paul. Unquiet spirits from another time and another conflict touch them.
A coded diary gives them clues to the mysterious disappearance of Paul's great-grandmother in 1812, and the desperate voice of a young woman reaches out to them from the pages. Together Helen and Paul must search for answers, not only for the old mystery, but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen's husband at Passchandaele in 1917.
As the mysteries entwine, their relationship is bound by the search for truth, in the present and the past.
I started writing this book because I’d always wanted to write a ghost story but a visit to the battlefields of World War One inspired me to tell a story of war and its effect on everyone-not just those who fought and survived - but the wives, mothers, sisters that were left behind. As the tag line says “no one is untouched by war”. And all wars bring the same suffering. Helen Morrow, the heroine of my story, finds she has so much in common with the writer of the diary, Suzanna. They have both been touched by war.
All of this sounds grim but I am, at heart, a romance writer and the story has a HEA. I needed a hero who had the strength of character not to be defeated by what he endured in no man’s land and the story is, of course, the coming together of two wounded souls, Helen and Paul.
Over to you.
I am offering a free ebook copy of one of my earlier novels (set in another war – the English Civil War) - the award winning BY THE SWORD - to one randomly drawn commentator. Comments close 24 October.
I would love to open up the conversation:
What do you think about “Wounded” heroes?
I give my boys a hard time. They come into my story with emotional baggage and, because I tend to write about soldier heroes, at some point they will need to be slowed down (to give them time with the heroine) and a bullet in the shoulder or a sword through the leg is always good for a bit of time out.
Mixed genres? Mystery, history, romance and ghosts all in one book? Why do mainstream publishers shy away from books they can’t pigeon hole? What do you as readers think?
Setting a book in 1923 gave me the opportunity to put an Australian into the story (my heroine, Helen). I loved the freedom it gave me to show her as the outsider in polite English society.
Do we need more Australian settings, characters in our historical novels?
Enough from me…over to you.
Amazon buy link for GATHER THE BONES.