Missing Easter already? Keep it going with a fabulous new historical fiction anthology from four Australian authors.
Today on my blog, I welcome four Australian authors who have just launched a new historical anthology called Easter Promises. Let's grab a cuppa and learn more about this gorgeous collection of stories and wow, that stunning cover!
Megan: There are four of ladies who make up the quarter of Easter Promises, but fourth author Sarah Fiddelaers is on maternity leave and currently in the newborn bubble! Congratulations Sarah!
Today I have with me, Ava January, Clare Griffin and Nancy Cunningham to chat a little about the anthology, the writing process and the research involved. I'll introduce you to them all:
Ava January is a writer living in sunny Brisbane
with her sons and a Spoodle named Stroodle.When she isn't breaking up fights over strangely shaped pieces of plastic, she can be found obsessing over Victorian era fashion (in the name of research, of course!) reading and writing stories with strong female leads. Her first full-length novel, The Lady Detective - a light-hearted, romantic romp through Victorian England about a Lady Detective and London's most scandalous rake- was longlisted for 2019 Richell prize and will be released May 2020.
Nancy Cunningham is a Research Scientist in entomology and writer who loves to write about history, science, nature and of course love! You could say she is am seeking the ultimate love bug! She lives in Adelaide with my partner and daughter and some Spiny Leafed Stick insects.
Clare Griffin is a freelance writer and copywriter who often starts sentences with “I love your shoes!” – often to complete strangers. Her debut novel Tumble was published in 2016 and since then has released the romantic comedy novella Happily, Ever After? and the historical novella The Hunt for Scarlett O’Hara. She will be releasing two more romantic comedies, Love Line and The Gap Year in 2020.
Megan: Welcome, and first thing first, what can I get you to drink?
Clare: Earl Grey, black, no sugar
Ava: Almond Cappuccino
Nancy: Good old flat white! And on a cold day – a chai latte.
Megan: Of course, now, tell me about your anthology. How did it come about and how are the stories linked?
Clare: Easter Promises is a historical short story anthology that follows four remarkable women in different parts of history all around Easter and the themes of Easter. Our stories start in Australia in 1912 in Easter Dawn with Minnie, a privileged young lady who must decide to follow her heart and leave everything she knows behind, or stay in the world she’s only ever known. We then move to France in Easter Lily on the Somme where nurse Ivy is on the front of World War 1 where tragedy has followed her, but is their hope for her to be happy once more? Le Malin Renard takes us to the glamour of French society in the 1920s and a weekend that will change everyone’s lives forever, especially that of heroine Ariadne. The last story Eos, follows Hollywood actress Rosamund in her quest to help with the war effort as a pilot in the Women’s Airforce Service pilot, or WASP. But when she disappears after a flight everyone wants to know, what happened to Rosamund Winter?
Megan: It sounds wonderful. What are you currently working on? Do you have another anthology in the mix?
Ava: I am currently getting ready to self publish my debut novel, The Lady Detective, which is about (surprise) a lady detective in Victorian London. My writing wip is a story for our next anthology – New Beginnings, which will be released in November.
Clare: I’m currently working on a few things at the moment. I’m polishing a dual timeline historical manuscript set in WW2 and the early 2000s, as well as doing to final edits on my contemporary novel The Gap Year which I’ll be publishing in August this year. I’ve also started working on another historical manuscript which is in the early stages, that I’m having a ball writing! While also researching Paris in the 1920s for our next anthology book.
Nancy: I have two manuscripts I am working on currently – one is going through a final editing process – the other is mid edit– both are modern historical, one set during WW2 in rural South Australia (I call it my historical rural romance!) and the other between the wars in rural Western Australia.
Megan: It sounds like we can expect to see some more wonderful historical works from you all! With historical pieces, I'm always impressed with the level of research required to ensure the writing and story reflects the time in things like world events, technology, fashion etc. What kind of research do you undertake ahead of writing a book like this?
Nancy: (Rubs hands together – I love talking research!) I’m a member of the National Library of Australia, that is usually one of the first places I go to for information (aside from good old google) also Trove is fantastic – you can read about history in a text book, but first hand accounts through diaries or in newspaper articles really gives you the perspective of what everyday life was like for people. I love museums too and the SA museums are a trove of information for a budding historical fiction writer.
Clare: I’m actually a bit of a rebel and don’t do much writing before I complete a first draft. I like to get basic dates and events in mind but mostly concentrate on the story. Then when I know what I need to research. Like Nancy I also hit up books, NLA and Trove. Pinterest is great for fashion as well as the books I own on fashion through the years.
Megan: Pinterest is a fabulous tool for authors to bring together a vision for a book. In terms of processes, how do you all work? Are you early birds or night owls? How does writing fit in your lives?
Ava: I am a single mother of two young children so I am most definitely a night owl. Its only once the chores are done and the house is quiet, that I can really get in the zone and write. I find I get far too distracted during the day.
Clare: Whenever I can writer! I’m the mum of two small boys and a freelance writer who moved cities for a year, so my writing routine has changed a lot in the last 6 months. Up here in Sydney I’m doing most of my writing at night and then trying to steal snippets throughout the day. I also work Sunday mornings from 8-12. Writing at night doesn’t come easy though as I’m an early riser so I’m quite tired by the end of the day but deadlines and pressure (plus copious amounts of chocolate and tea) help!
Megan: It's always a juggle! Now, tell me, of all the characters in your books who would you most like to have coffee with or least like to have coffee with?
Nancy: I’d like to sit down with the vivacious and glamourous Ronnie (Veronica) Guilford. She is the sister-in-law of the heroine of my WW2 book –‘The Bridge’. I’ve contemplated writing her story as a sequel – but I have way too many other ideas and limited time! Actually, scrap the coffee – I think Ronnie would be keen to share a wine instead!
Clare: I’m torn between Sylvia from my novel The Rebellious Ones or Rosamund from Eos but we wouldn’t be drinking coffee… perhaps something a little harder! They’re two sassy, smart and resilient women who would be a hoot to drink with. Both could drink me under the table!
Megan: Do you plan your writing, or are you pantsers?
Ava: Definitely a pantser. I tried to plot but find my characters tend to go off on their own tangent and all my plotting goes to waste. I know where I want to take the story, how the characters do it seems to be up to them!
Clare: Oh I wish I was a planner but alas I’m mostly a panster. Before I start a new manuscript I normally have an opening scene in mind and know how the a story is going to end, but everything in between? That’s the unknown! But to me that is the exciting part, never knowing where a story and the characters are going to go. I have discovered some of my best plot twists by just hammering out a story blind, and I doubt I would have made those discoveries if I had everything planned out. I have tried to be a planner, but I found it hampered my writing.
Megan: Thank you for joining me and best of luck with Easter Promises!
You can purchase your copy here
To learn more about the authors:
Instagram: Author Ava January
Facebook: Ava January
Facebook: Nancy M Cunningham
Instagram: Clare Griffin Writer
Facebook: Clare Griffin Writer
Instagram: Sarah Fiddelaers