Tag Archives: Belleville family series

1950s fashion: How Julia and Catherine might have dressed

 

I wanted to share this little bit of Friday frivolity – these images are from this website selling custom-made frocks – and I thought just how much this range was inspired by the 1950s.

I can certainly see my character Catherine Cavendish in the little black number – and Julia in the two full skirted cocktail dresses. (Referencing my Belleville family series.)

That’s the fun of writing fiction ….. creating the characters and imagining how they would dress, where they would live, what they would drive …. it’s all part of creating the fictional world.

Check out my Belleville books

  • Book 1: Julia’s Story
  • Book 2: To Love, Honour & Betray
  • Book 3: Return to Prior Park

on my website http://www.jmarymasters.com or on Amazon.com

Book 1 is now only US$14.95 in paperback on Amazon.com

 

 

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.

Brisbane – then and now, from a writer’s viewpoint

I was in Brisbane earlier this week. Readers of my Belleville trilogy will know that Brisbane features in the story from time to time (but in its 1940s guise).

As I walked along Brisbane’s streets this week, I realised how much change had happened in the intervening years.

70+ years on, Brisbane is a modern city with some fine early buildings and a multi-cultural feel. It almost felt like a European city with its inner city open air market.

The Wednesday city market, which I hadn’t seen before, was great – food stalls from many cuisines, fresh fruit and vegetables from Brisbane’s highly-productive hinterland and some delicacies too – wonderful Portugese tarts.

I think June (winter) is the best time to visit Brisbane. It was bright and sunny, around 25 degrees C.

One landmark remains quite unchanged from the 1940s, certainly from the outside. The Queensland Club, of which one of my fictional characters was a member, still commands the prime spot opposite the Botanic Gardens in Alice Street. Check it out here – members only of course.

I have been to the Queensland Club once for a dinner. It’s every bit as grand as it appears.

And, of course, the Botanic Gardens that featured briefly in Book 1 would be as recognisable today, with its great towering fig trees pushing against the wrought iron fence, the legacy of an earlier era.

I had such fun incorporating these real places into my story. In what might seem like a straightforward family saga/romance, there is real history, real people and real events providing the framework for my fictional narrative.

European settlement of Brisbane dates from 1824 with its beginnings as a penal colony. If you’re planning a trip to Brisbane, take a walk along George Street for the best preserved landmark buildings that bear testament to the city’s colonial heritage. Of course, thousands of years before white settlement, Australia’s first people occupied the area.

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 …..