Category Archives: Romance writing

I’m often asked: Is your book based on a real person? My American neuro surgeon was ….

I wonder how many authors get asked this question? Is your book based on a real person?

And in fact some great fictional heroes have become so real to the reading public, they are treated as if they are real.

Think Hercule Poirot, proudly claimed by the Belgians. Or Sherlock Holmes. Or in more recent times, Ian Rankin’s creation Inspector Rebus, who, aged in real time, became too old for the police force.

In writing my family saga with its mixture of family drama, deep buried secrets, a terrible crime, infidelity and romance, beginning at a time when the world was at war, I was tapping into stories my father told of our local district, complemented by my own research.

American men stayed behind in my local city after the war to marry their sweethearts and become Australian citizens. Some Australian girls headed to America after marrying their American boyfriends.

In amongst all this, I found the inspiration for my American Army surgeon Philippe Duval – there was an American neuro surgeon posted to American Army forces in Queensland.

He had an interest in photography and joined a local camera club. I know nothing of his life after the war or whether he had a local sweetheart, but those small details were enough to help me flesh out the character of Dr Philippe Duval. I made him a native of Long Island, (Sag Harbor).

Why Sag Harbor? It suited the story line of his life and my husband and I visited Long Island in 2003. We loved it!

Philippe Duval’s story is a key thread through my three Belleville novels – we meet him in Julia’s Story, again in To Love, Honour and Betray and finally in Return to Prior Park where his story is centre stage. I hope you’ll love this character as I do.

Check for full details of the books at http://www.pmabooks.com or Amazon.com or your favourite retailer.

4 Star Review: Julia’s Story

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I wanted to share this 4 star review of the first of my Belleville books, Julia’s StoryThe review was written by  ElizaBeth Adams » 30 May 2019, 21:31

4 out of 4 stars ****  BUYING OPTIONS CLICK HERE:

All I have to say is, “Nooooooo!” Not, “No, don’t read this book,” or, “No, it isn’t any good.” “Nooooooo,” because the book ended. It ended and so many plot lines are achingly unresolved. You just can’t do this to me J Mary Masters. I have to know what happens next! Forgive me for a second while I throw an unattractive grown-up fit. I want the next book and I want it now. Phew! At least there is a next book, two actually, and they are already released. Okay. I believe I can calm down now. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Let’s see, where was I? That’s right. I was getting ready to tell you all about the engaging book I just finished reading, Julia’s Story, Book 1 in the Belleville Family Series, by J Mary Masters.

So, here’s the scoop. The high-society Belleville family resides in Australia, and we are introduced to them during WWII. The culture described had many parallels to the antebellum period in the American South; fancy dresses for the well-to-do ladies, cattle farms instead of cotton plantations, house servants instead of slaves, and was complete with societal expectations shaping accepted public behaviour. These expectations played a large role in fuelling the conflict in this story.

Within the walls of Prior Park we meet Francis and Elizabeth Belleville’s family. Elizabeth is a strong-minded woman who is in charge, especially in regard to her children’s marriage prospects. Francis on the other hand is painted as a lazy, pampered man who drinks too much and never lives up to his full potential.

They have three mostly-grown children; Richard, William, and Julia. Richard, the oldest and favourite son unexpectedly joins the air force. He departs for training immediately after he drops the bomb that he plans to marry someone of lower-station who, of course, doesn’t meet with his mother’s approval, leaving a severe rift between himself and his parents. Will Richard’s love outlast the war? Meanwhile, with Richard away, William finds himself in the lime-light and uses this time to power-play his way up within the family ladder. When Richard returns, will William be willing to relinquish his new-found control? Julia, not long after her eighteenth birthday, falls in love with the American soldier, Dr. Philippe Duval. Knowing that her family would never approve, they keep their relationship a secret. Soon the American gets posted in Hawaii, and Julia finds her virtue in precarious standing. Will Julia and Philippe ever be reunited? As the tale unfolds and scandal ensues the Belleville family members must make decisions with consequences that could ruin their treasured reputation in society or tear their family apart.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this novel. It’s difficult for me to say what I loved the most, because multiple strengths synergistically worked together to make this an enjoyable read. The characters were well-developed and showed vulnerabilities. Elizabeth’s domineering ways could be easily imagined. Her actions were frustrating and yet at times a softer side of her character was shown and she was endearing.

Julia experiences heartbreak, and this wasn’t overdramatized or underplayed. I really appreciated the way the author meted out information and used foreshadowing to build suspense. We know in advance that Julia and Dr. Philippe Duval face heartache, but we don’t know of what nature. Also, we find subtle clues to Francis’ on-going affair well before it is concretely revealed. Then, there was the cliffhanger ending. When I swiped left and found no more story, the plummet into panic I experienced told me that the author had done her job. I wanted more. And isn’t that a sign of good storytelling?

Due to the depth of characters, an intricately complex plot, and suspenseful writing, I happily give this book a 4 out of 4 rating. If you enjoy family dramas set in historical time periods with romance elements woven throughout, this one’s for you. If plot lines centred on character relationships don’t sound appealing, steer clear. This book was an amazing ride. Just be prepared for the sudden stop. Better yet, go ahead and snag a copy of the next one in the series. You’ll be happy you did.

[An official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Julia’s Story” by J Mary Masters.]

BOOK DETAILS:

Julia’s Story
BOOK 1 OF THE BELLEVILLE FAMILY SERIES
By J Mary Masters
Published by PMA Books  www.pmabooks.com
ISBN 9780994327642 $24.95 in paperback

 

My Belleville family: Love affairs, seduction, temptation …. this story took on a life of its own

The story of the Belleville family had been in my head for so long I feel as if they are old friends. Yet I could not have imagined how book 3 would turn out.

Something amazing happened as I wrote it. My characters’ lives really took over the writing. I cannot describe just how satisfying that was.

As I wrote the story, it took so many surprising turns. 

New people inserted themselves into the story. New ideas and new directions for their lives took over the storytelling.

There is no one main protagonist. It is, instead, the story of a family and a story of their lives as they cope with tragedy, disappointment, failed marriages and love affairs that threaten to derail their lives.

Who will you fall in love with as you read about the Belleville family?

Is it the handsome war hero Richard Belleville? Or the charismatic James Fitzroy with his roving eye? Or will you be seduced by the suave charm of American surgeon Dr Philippe Duval? Or the polite and sophisticated Englishman Sir Edward Cavendish? Or does your heart belong to the steady and faithful William Belleville?

And of the women? Who would my women readers most like to be?

The controlling matriarch Elizabeth Belleville? Or her daughter Julia Belleville whose life is changed irrevocably in Book 1 by the actions of her mother?

Of is it the aristocratic beauty Catherine Cavendish who tries hard to love the Australian way of life but cannot settle?

Or Alice Fitzroy whose ambitions are simply for a good marriage and a happy family?

And then, in Book 3, we meet the new friends.

Kate Lester, a wife and mother who had settled for a loveless marriage until … (no, sorry, no spoilers here).

AND finally

Karen Clarke … glamorous, provocative, a temptress ….. a woman not used to be denied. 

Through all this there are two great family secrets. One ends in …… (no, no spoilers) … and the other ….. you must read the books. You must know the outcome of these Belleville family secrets. 

You must read the books, cover to cover. Only that will do.

And who am I secretly in love with? That will remain my secret …..

The pleasure of writing the story of the Belleville family

The Belleville trilogy is now complete

Some years ago, as I was completing a Year of the Novel course at Queensland Writers Centre, I had an idea for a story. Or more precisely, an idea for a story found me through a dream. Several years on, the story has now been told through the Belleville family trilogy with the third book – RETURN TO PRIOR PARK – being released this week.

As I wrote the third book, I was amazed at how the characters’ lives took over their stories. In some ways book 3 is quite a departure from the first two – so I will be very interested to hear what readers have to say.

I wanted to refresh the first two books – not the stories – but the presentation, so I have released each book with a new more contemporary cover design.

The Belleville story is a timeless story – of love, of betrayal, of secrets and tragedy. Its origins are Australian but its reach is international – from New York to London to Sydney and to country Australia.

The Belleville trilogy

Julia’s Story (previously The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story)
Book 1 – ISBN 9780994327642

To Love, Honour and Betray
Book 2 – ISBN 9780994327659

Return to Prior Park
Book 3 – ISBN 9780994327635

My one hope is that my readers enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoyed writing them. Will there be more Belleville books? Perhaps. 
For more information, including links to buy the books, go to
my website.

Criterion Hotel – this is where all the trouble started for Julia Belleville

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It isn’t fiction – the Criterion Hotel, Rockhampton – owners: Megan and Ryan Turnbull (Image courtesy The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin)

Readers of my two books The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – will know this hotel – The Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton – because it featured prominently in both books.

Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t a figment of my imagination although it’s internal layout might have been fictionalised.

READ THE FULL STORY OF THE HOTEL HERE

American troops did commandeer the hotel as an officer billet in WWII and it was the location for many social events – my elder sister Deidre Hofmann​’s engagement party was held here (probably late 1962).

If you’re ever visiting Rockhampton, you should check it out. It’s well located overlooking the Fitzroy River – and there’s another name from my books.

Other local landmarks that were mentioned include the Rockhampton General Hospital (up on the hill). The city name was fictionalised.

While all the characters are purely fictional, I chose to set my books in a setting I knew well – even though I left the area as a teenager.

Check out the book details at this link – http://www.jmarymasters.com

 

To Love, Honour & Betray: cover preview

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To Love, Honour & Betray_550px

I have been very quiet on the social media front in recent months.

But now that I am close to finishing Book 2 of the Belleville family saga, I wanted to share with my readers and those who are interested the new cover designs.

The cover of Book 1 – The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story – has been redesigned to relaunch with Book 2 in the saga: To Love, Honour & Betray.

When are you likely to get your hands on Book 2? End of April/early May 2017.

I’ve just got to get stuck into the last few chapters – oh, and by the way, I’m heading off on Friday on QF1 bound for the London Book Fair. I’m hoping to interest an international publisher. Fingers crossed.

More soon. This is the first viewing of the cover of book 2. Feedback is welcome.

 

 

A free read & my first author talk booked

If you head west of Brisbane (Qld, Australia) on the highway, past Ipswich, for an hour or so, you’ll soon find yourself in the heart of the Lockyer Valley, which is where my career as a ‘speaking’ author begins on Friday 29 April 2016 – 10.00am at the Laidley Library (pictured) and 12.00 noon at the Gatton Library, which is close by.

LaidleyLib

The Lockyer Valley is an area of rich farmland. It is intensively cultivated, growing the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in Australia.

The regional council (local government) runs the Library service. There are literally thousands of small libraries throughout Australia, supported by local government. I’m thrilled to be asked to speak to the locals about my book.

I’ve created a new FREE link for THE HOUSE OF SECRETS: Julia’s Story

http://data.axmag.com/data/VIP/201603/U7668/F376128/index.html

for anyone who may be interested in dipping into the book. It’s probably hard to read the entire book this way (we use this method to create digital copies of our magazines in my day job) but it’s a good way to see if it is of interest.

I’m beavering away on Book 2 ….. more on that soon.