Welcome to my Book Blog, to see my 'Stories from history' blog go to http://janelark.wordpress.com

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My Book Blogs moved

I've  moved this blog over to Wordpress, with my other blogs. To follow go to


And have you seen the Advent Calendar on my Website http://www.janelark.co.uk/Christmas_2012.html

Keep in touch:

My debut novel is due to be published 2nd May 2013  Sapphire Star Publishing are the publisher. If you want to find out more got to http://www.janelark.co.uk/  like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @janelark

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My Next Big Thing!

Last week, my wonderful Sapphire Star Publishing sister and writer of ‘romance that rocks your world’ , Nicky Wells, tagged me on her post My Next Big Thing, when she wrote about Sophie's Run. So this week I’m going to tell you all about my next big thing and share my answers to ten questions about my current work in progress (my Next Big Thing!) and tag other writers to tell you about their latest work next week!

What is the title of your book?

Illicit Love, it's the first book in a family series called The Marlow Intrigues (intrigue is the word people used in the 1800s to describe an affair).

How did you come by the idea?

The story of Edward and Ellen in Illicit Love is inspired by the memoirs of a 19th Century Courtesan who published her kiss and tell stories in a series of articles in a paper in 1825. Yes, they printed kiss and tell then too.

She in fact held back a lot of stories, because before she published she asked all those who would be named to pay her if they did not wish their name mentioned.

The Duke Wellington told her to ‘publish and be damned’, but then tried to sue her for her disparaging accounts of him.

If you’d like to hear the specific stories in the memoirs which inspired Illicit Love then why not go and have a look at my history blog and sign up to follow by email. In January I am going to start sharing places which inspired scenes for Illicit Love and then February tell you some of the stories in the memoirs which tweaked my interest and imagination.

What genre does your book fall under?

You’ve probably already guessed it’s a historical novel, and it's a love story.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?

For the lead male, Edward, I’d pick Ben Barnes, it needs to be someone who can play a historical role which he’s proved in Dorian Gray and other films, plus I'd want someone who can play Edward in the way I’ve tried to write him, he must have a captivating presence, which I think Ben Barnes has.

For the lead female, Ellen, I’d chose, Natalie Dormer. She played Anne Boleyn in the Tudors and she has magnificent blue eyes and is extremely beautiful, and I think she could capture the edge and conflicts I’ve written into Ellen.

For Edward’s brother, Robert, then it’s going to have to be Tom Ellis (of Miranda fame). I think he could embody the differences and conflicts between Edward and Robert.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can Love Redeem a life of sin?

Will your book be self-published or traditional?

Illicit Love is going to be published on 2nd May 2013, by a US Independent Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing. Who I love working with. The Sapphire Star Publishing authors all support each other and I work closely with Sapphire Star Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It takes me about three months to write a full MS and then probably three months to edit it to a point I want to send it to a publisher.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t worked that one out yet. I am sure there is a writer like me out there though, I’ve just not found them. But my style seems to sit between other peoples, so in ways it’s like Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Gaelen Foley and Nicola Cornick, and yet it’s not. You could also say it is in a way more like Jane Austen’s work, because of the storylines I choose and the involvement and interaction of supporting characters, but then again it’s not because it’s definitely a 21st Century view on the 19th Century world. So I guess you’ll have to read it and tell me who you think I write like.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve really answered that above, when I answered what gave me the idea for the book, so I’ll answer this in the context of who or what inspired me to write.

I don’t think anyone inspired me. I have just always had an overactive imagination. Yes, I was one of those children who gazed out the window at school picturing myself somewhere else, usually wrapped up as an additional character in whatever book I was reading.

I do remember though when I was eight a teacher, having read a story I’d written about giant crabs taking over the world, said to me one day I’d write a book. (I can still see those crabs I got so caught up in writing that story, laugh, it obviously transferred to the page too). I think I was reading George Orwell books at the time.

Also my secondary school English teacher said when I bumped into her at a party when I was eighteen and told her I was working in a bank, that she’d expected me to go into a career writing (she'd never said that to me at school unfortunately, I didn't really think I was any better than anyone else, I just loved doing it).

I did start a novel at sixteen, the old pen and paper way. It was a historical novel set in the era of the Roman Occupation of Britain, it would have been a love story between a Christian woman fleeing Rome, and a Roman soldier marching from Rome to Britain.

It got no further than the third chapter when my life got a bit complex, and I never went back to writing until I was thirty. I still had the dream and intent to write a novel but my imagination had had little chance to be active. Then at thirty I decided I was going to write a novel before I was forty. I did, several. Virtually all the Marlow Intrigues Series is already written, my characters are just waiting for the moment you’ll pick them up and give them life beyond my head and my computer. I hope you enjoy them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think I would highlight that although the story is set in a historical background it is focused on the people and relationships, so if you don’t normally read historical romance this may be your chance to have a first go at it. The editor who read it recently said;

“By the way, I have been compelled to keep reading each night that I have picked up your MS to do the assessment, forcing myself to stop because my eyes were going bleary. And I should mention historical romance is not my genre of choice for reading, so you are doing something quite right if it still compels me to keep reading.”

Which implies whether you normally read historical romances or not, you’ll get caught up in the story and won’t be lost or distracted by it’s setting in history. That's my intent anyway, I want to take my readers on an emotional journey with my characters.

If you want to keep in touch with what I’m working on then why not follow me on twitter @janelark or you can like my author facebook page, Jane Lark, (I've got 29 Likes so why not round them up to 30 for me) or you could have a look at my history blog too.

Next week I’m tagging Jarek Adams to write about her Next Big Thing on the 27th November 2012.

If anyone else wants a chance to share their latest work, let me know and I'll tag you too.

Jane Lark
        a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional love stories

‘Get lost in fiction’


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Naming Characters – How do you do it?

I thought I’d share my own method for choosing character names today, just for a bit of fun.

I went on a training course recently, where I learnt visualisation, a brilliant skill which worked, (I’ll share that sometime) but not today.

Today, I’m mentioning this, because they used actors on this course and then were joking about how it’s hard picking random names for characters. I’d declared myself a writer and so they looked at me and said “You know what I mean?” and I thought, yes I do.

It’s always quite funny trying to pick names. You might think the lead male names in my first two books when they are published were Twilight inspired, Edward, and then Robert. They were not Twilight inspired honestly, the first drafts were written way before the first I heard of Twilight. Actually when I did hear of Twilight I thought, darn, she's used my name. 

First names I find the hardest because I’ve found nowhere to look them up effectively, hence I mostly pick family names. Jane Austen, did this too. Nice to know I am well acquainted – laugh – if you visit Stoneleigh Abbey in the UK you can find out all about her family history but I mention it in more detail in my history blog.

I have a feeling some of my family may be a little horrified when my second book is published as I’ve borrowed a couple of their names and one of my nephews is a baddy, he doesn’t know, he might not like it, (ha ha). I’ve used my father’s name as a love interest for a secondary character, a little weird perhaps, but it’s only his name, the character I have thought of is not at all like him, sorry Dad. My grandfather is also a baddy. Now you see how random it is using family names. Not sure how they are going to react, they haven’t a clue. Can’t wait to reveal and experience the horror.

The other thing about picking first names for historical fiction, is in reality there was this trend of reusing first names for the first born boy and girl, and then grandparents names, etc, etc, they liked keeping names in the family, and I like being authentic, so seeing as the Marlow Intrigues I've been writing are a family series I've had to be quite imaginative to enable this. The first books started off with abbreviations of names spoken by friends and then I had to remove them as I wanted them later for children. One of my favourite stories from history is a medieval tale about King William II, when he asked everyone to leave the dining hall who was called William, there were still about fifty people left.

Anyway now I’m running out of family names, so I need another inspiration. Right time to start picking friends’ names then – watch out.

Then of course as an author of historical novels, you have to be just as picky with your surnames because the male characters are mostly known by their surnames.

Oh, when I sent a manuscript to the Romance Novelists Association in the UK a few years ago, it came back saying, "they wouldn't be called by their surname," so wrong, this person had obviously never read any historical letters and documents, men were often only known by their surnames and titles. Case in point in my recent historical blog I've been writing about the romantic relationship between the Poet Shelley and Mary Godwin (who wrote Frankenstein) and later married Shelley, within this I include links to copies of her letters to him and she only ever called him Shelley, never his first name, which was Percy. I have to say in this respect my own novels are not authentic, I'd rather the heroine use the hero's given name. I try and walk this tightrope within my novels of making it an enjoyable read in a modern style of language so the story doesn't get slowed down by working out the meaning of something, while also trying to keep the image of  the period of history, so you as the reader feel like you are in it. I think the reader might be questioning why if I only ever had the heroine calling the hero by his surname. 

So anyway how I pick surnames - well, as I write historical novels, some are pinched from names I spot in research, some are names I note on portraits when I wonder about historical houses, and some I just select by wading through the very old fashioned phone book. Sadly there are less and less to choose from in there. The old fashioned phone book is dying out and it is such a valuable resource for writers, useful for finding odd street names and town names too. ; )

My debut novel is due to be published 2nd May 2013  Sapphire Star Publishing are the publisher. If you want to find out more got to http://www.janelark.co.uk/  like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @janelark

Monday, 12 November 2012

My Scandalous Women

Recently I’ve been sharing the true stories of some of the scandalous women of history in my history blog. So these are my current notorious line up:-

Mary Godwin who later became Mary Shelley - She ran away with the Regency Poet Shelley at the age of sixteen and lived with him for years until his wife committed suicide. Mary Shelley was author of Frankenstein. I'll be publishing her story this Sunday, November 18, 2012.

Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's stepsister - She also ran away with Mary and Shelley at fifteen, and lived with her sister and her sister's lover, potentially as the third in a ménage à trois. But at eighteen she decided she'd rather have a her own poet and stalked Lord Byron. She gave birth to his child nine months later.

Mary Wollstonecraft - She was a writer in the time leading up to the French Revolution. She spoke out for women's rights. She was Mary Shelley's mother, and her illegitimate daughter Fanny Imlay committed suicide when she was caught between the battle involving Shelley and Mary's father.

Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, The Winter Queen - She was the sister of King Charles I and lived openly with the man believed to be her long standing lover the 1st Earl of Craven.

Miss L - Whose sad sorry story was recorded in the memoirs of Beau Nash. She was in her youth surrounded by men, but she fell for a gambler who did not return her love. Beau Nash was the Master of Ceremonies in the18th Century City of Bath 

Miss Sylvia S - Her failed elopement was recorded in the memoirs of Beau Nash. She was in her youth surrounded by men, but she fell for a gambler who did not return her love. Beau Nash was the Master of Ceremonies in the18th Century City of Bath 

Emma Hart who became Lady Hamilton - A courtesan, who was passed from a nephew to his uncle without consent, fortunately his uncle Lord Hamilton later married her. She was most renowned for another ménage à trois, her, her husband and Lord Nelson.

Barbara Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine - The mistress of King Charles II, who was well known for her high-spirits at court. She was sadly tricked by a young fortune hunter in her later years.

Margaret Hughes - She was the second mistress of Prince Rupert, the son of Elizabeth Stuart and cousin to King Charles II, she was an actress, and may well have been a friend of Nell Gwyn who was another of King Charles's mistresses.

If you want to find out their full stories click on their names and have a read in my history blog.  

There will be more to come ;D

Jane Lark's debut novel is due to be published 2nd May 2013, by Sapphire Star Publishing See  Jane's website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more or click  like on Jane’s Facebook  page. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

Friday, 9 November 2012

My New Book Blog

I've been blogging about the stories from history which inspire my books for some time so if you are interested in true-life tales from history and fascinating facts go and have a look at my history blog. http://janelark.wordpress.com/

In my book blog, here, I am going to focus on writing and books, so sometimes it'll be about my own work, and sometimes I will give other authors a chance to promote theirs, or review other books.

I intend using this space in January to share the settings which have inspired some of the scenes in my debut novel, Illicit Love, which will be published by Sapphire Star Publishing on May 2nd 2013.

Then following on from this I will share some juicy real stories about courtesans from the 19th Century, again it was these true stories which led my imagination to run in the direction of the tale told in Illicit Love.

I'm also going to share next year how I use the knowledge I've developed in People Management to establish engaging characters and build relationships in my books.

To find out more about me and my books see my website www.janelark.co.uk or  click  like on my Facebook  page, or follow me on twitter at @janelark