Published by Authors Online on November 4th 2011
Genres: Historical, Romance
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In 1910, no one believed there would ever be a war with Germany. Safe in her affluent middle-class life, the rumours held no significance for Victoria either. It was her father's decision to enroll her at university that began to change all that. There she befriendes the rebellious and outspoken Beryl Whittaker, an emergent suffragette, but it is her love for Gerald Avery, a talented young poet from a neighbouring university that sets the seal on her future. After a clandestine romance, they marry in January 1914, but with the outbreak of the First World War, Gerald volunteeres but within months has gone missing in France. Convinced that he is still alive, Victoria's initial attempts to discover what has become of him, implicate her in a murderous assault on Lord Kitchener resulting in her being interrogated as a spy, and later tempted to adultery. Now virtually destitute, Victoria is reduced to finding work as a common labourer on a run down farm, where she discovers a world of unimaginable ignorance and poverty. It is only her conviction that Gerald will some day return that sustaines her through the dark days of hardship and privation as her life becomes a battle of faith against adversity.(
Thank you so much for doing this interview for Creating Serenity.
Christina T. – How did this book start for you? Image, Idea, Dream?
Answer: It started as an idea. I wanted to write about WW1, but needed a new angle from the usual war ravaged soldier. It was then I came across the letters and diaries of some women who had lived through the trauma of the Great War. It was then that I realized that very little had been written about the women who were left behind. That’s when I decided to write “Dance The Moon Down”.
Christina T. – Did you have any growing pains with this novel?
Answer: Yes, some. The trouble with writing historical fiction is you have to be accurate with dates and facts. This can often conflict with the narrative. I’ve heard it said “never let a fact get in the way of a good story” However, I don’t allow myself to be that cavalier, so there were a lot of times I had to rewrite the story to make sure I got the facts right.
Christina T. – Do you have a message you try to convey when writing a story?
Answer: I suppose every author has a message to convey. I think for “Dance The Moon Down” it was the strength of the human spirit. It never ceases to amaze me. It’s something which crosses all barriers, including time.
Christina T. – What do you do when you’re not writing?
Answer: That’s not often, but when I do relax I like to take long walks in the countryside, I’ve been a lifelong naturalist. I also enjoy reading other people’s books and going to the Globe in London to see Shakespeare preformed at it’s best.
Christina T. – Have you always wanted to be an author?
Answer: Yes, from a very early age. There’s nothing in the world like the buzz you get from seeing your work in print.
Christina T. – How did you break into the industry?
Answer: I began by writing short Science Fiction stories, with little success. I sent some to the Literary Agent Marie Griffiths. She happened to specialize in romantic fiction and suggested I try my hand at that. After a few failures and a good deal of coaching from Marie, my first short story was published in “Secrets” magazine. I can still remember that day.
Christina T. – What is your writing style? Do you create outlines for your writing or do you just sit and type away?
Answer: Basically I start with the initial idea. Then I write up the parts that interest me most until I have large chunks of disembodied plot. Then it’s a case of marrying them together. After that , It’s rewrite after rewrite until I have it the way I want it.
Christina T. – What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
Answer: I’m currently researching for a novel set against the background of the American Civil War. As with “Dance The Moon Down” I think I’ve found a new slant. This one will also have a female central character, but that’s all I can say for now.
Christina T. – Do you write using a computer or the old fashioned pen to paper?
Answer: I always write everything in longhand first. I can write as fast as I think, tapping keys would only slow me down. It’s not until the final draft that I commit the manuscript to the computer.
Christina T. – Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what’s on your playlist!?
Answer: Actually, no. I like it absolutely quiet. That way I can hear myself think.
Christina T. – Do you talk to your characters?
Answer: Yes, I do. Well, not talk exactly, but I imagine conversations with them, just to get an idea of how they would sound on the page.
Christina T. – What sound do you love?
Answer: Rain on the roof, I find it very relaxing, especially at night.
Christina T. – What sound do you hate?
Answer: People whistling out of tune. Is there anything more irritating?
Christina T. – What’s your favorite time of year?
Answer: It has to be Spring. Everything seems so fresh and alive and the whole year lies before you.
Born in Edmonton, London, in 1951, Robert spent several of his formative years living in Cornwall where he began to develop a life long love of nature and the rural way of life. He began writing in his early teens and much of his short romantic fiction was subsequently published in various national periodicals including “Secrets”, “Red Letter” and “The People’s Friend”.
His passion for the history of the early twentieth century is second only to his love of writing. It was whilst researching in this area that he came across the letters and diaries of some women who had lived through the Great War. What he read in them inspired him to write his debut novel “Dance The Moon Down” and the rest, as they say, is history.
Robert is single and lives and writes in Hertfordshire, England.