b2bMelanie: I’m so happy to welcome this author! Just love her books! Without further adieu, here she is! Jane Lark! Jane, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career?
Jane Lark: Well so far my writing ‘career’ has been very brief… my first book was published in May 2013, and then republished by Harper Collins in October 2015 as The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, but I have been writing since 2006 so since October 2015 Harper Collins have been pouring out my backlog, and I now have seven books released and three more are due out in the autumn. But I have always loved writing and wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember.
b2b: Can you tell us more about ‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ and why you chose to write this prequel to ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’?
JL: To be honest the only reason I wrote this was because readers asked for it. When I published the first edition of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan I immediately afterwards self-published a short story ‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ (which was then taken off the market as Harper Collins contracted that too but it was not re-released until May this year). The short story shares the stories of two of the sub characters from the first book but at the time people kept thinking this would be the prequel and were looking for a prequel.
b2b: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?
JL: My characters generally come to me from elements of real people who lived out true stories at some point in history. From these true stories my imagination picks out elements and builds a patchwork of fictional Regency life. Initially I was not sure about writing the prequel, because obviously The Illicit Love of a Courtesan is about Ellen and Edward, and Edward would have no part in the prequel, and yet at the time people began talking about a prequel I was working on The Scandalous Love of a Duke, the story of Ellen’s son, John. The more I worked on that I felt Paul, who appears as a past character in two books, developing a personality of his own, and then because John was having such a difficult time accepting the fact he had never known his father, I felt as though I needed to write him, because then John could have access to him. I know crazy writers…
b2b: Which book you wrote might we be surprised to learn that you had the hardest time writing?
JL: The Lost Love of a Soldier is definitely the hardest, initially it was only intended to be 15,000 to 30,000 words and just a fleeting visit to Ellen eloping, then following Paul into battle, like Capturing the Earl’s Love, which has gathered interest like a snowball on Amazon, but is really a very fleeting storyline, just to give people a bit of light historical entertainment. BUT then––I had to make The Lost Love of a Soldier far more true to fact than the other books because a) it had to follow what really happened in the build up to battle of Waterloo b) I had chosen an actual regiment for Paul to serve under in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and so I had to find out where they were when, to ensure the story was realistic. AND then––while I was working on those things, and discovering what the real soldiers and those that travelled with them experienced I knew the story had to be more than a shallow visit with a young Ellen.
2015 is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, in the summer of 2014 the real 52nd Oxfordshire Regiment of Foot were in England, taking a break from war, before they were due to sail to America. I have worked with the military for about ten years of my life. I know what soldiers endure. I could not then write this book without respect for the real people who made the journey back to the battlefields of Europe which they had only left the summer before and where they had endured many incidents that would have left them with nightmares, and I could not make it a hurried tale, because by hurrying it, it would have become unrealistic and a bit bizarre to just dive into them in Brussels, the battle… and then..
Plus it was also hard, because Paul is not the love of Ellen’s life. So the book could not center on the intense Romantic relationships I prefer to write. I have been married twice myself, and my second marriage is very different to my first. Ellen loves Paul, she is a seventeen year old girl in the 18th century who has never left her father’s estate, and never even been to a ball. She is entirely innocent, as many young women were in her day… And I wanted to honor all of that…
b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?
JL: Katherine by Anya Seton. I just love that story. It also really moves me whenever I go anywhere the real John and Katherine lived… Even though I know that Katherine is 95% fiction.
b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?
JL: I like having classics on my bookshelf ;) I read them very rarely and general in short doses, the language in them is generally not all that flowing, let’s remember they were written for a very different generation of people. So while the stories are still great, the writing styles––not necessarily. But I did reread Vanity Fair while writing The Lost Love of a Soldier. There isn’t anything I would be embarrassed to say I have not read but you may think it is a sin to say I prefer Vanity Fair, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mill on the Floss to Pride and Prejudice.
b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?
JL: Probably the wrong answer, but no. I enjoy the things I write, I always want to write for pleasure. Especially as I still have to work and writing is an escape for me. Even The Lost Love of a Soldier was awesome being able to connect with people who took part in Waterloo through imagination.
b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?
JL: There are two movie adaptations of books that I’ve read that I think are good ‘Troy’ is one. I bet that is not what you were expecting. LOL. But I love the film Troy! The other one was the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, it is the only time I have seen Rochester portrayed in a way that makes you actually believe he could have caught Jane’s interest.
b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JL: Historical… Sigh… I love writing love stories, but I love being in historical settings and discovering things about the people who lived in the past.
b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?
JL: I don’t tend to buy books that make me laugh, I can’t remember one that ever has, and cry… I think One Day was the last book that made me cry.
b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?
JL: LOL Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series…. But by eleven I was reading Mill on the Floss and the Iliad. I was a strange child. I think I first read Katherine at the age of twelve.
b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?
JL: My favorite TV show… ever… Time Team – covered so much. My favorite TV series, would be a toss of a coin between the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and the 1998 version of Vanity Fair, neither stories make good films because too much has to be left out. My favorite film currently Tangled, by Disney ;) Random!
b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?
JL: Sit on a porch 100% I swam in an outside swimming pool in a thunderstorm once, my mum didn’t know at the time, and I was only 8. I loved it! (P.S. don’t do it, bad idea for health and safety you’d fry if it hit).
b2b: Flannels or Silk?
JL: Oh my goodness SILK!
b2b: Sports car or SUV?
JL: Sports car all the way.
b2b: Cats or Dogs?
b2b: Champagne or Beer?
JL: Beer, I am not a champagne girl. A good hearty locally brewed beer for me. Or even better a pale ale…
b2b: Movies or TV?
JL: Movies!!!!!!!!! <3 But like I say to my daughter reading a book is even better it’s like watching a movie for hours…. :D and while writing I get to be in the movie for weeks!
‘The Desperate Love of a Lord’
FREE for PRE ORDER on AMAZON
Jane! I am so happy you had the time to visit with us! It was a blast to get to know you a bit better!
Bookworms, have any questions for our guest author? One of you will end up with a signed print copy of the gorgeous soldier on this cover!
AUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.
She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.
Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.
Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.
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