I am delighted to be joined today by Victoria Cornwall who will be talking about her new book Waiting for Our Rainbow.
Following a career in nursing, a change in profession finally provided Victoria Cornwall the time to write. Her books have subsequently reached the finals of the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction, the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award, the 2021 RNA’s Goldsboro Books Historial Romantic Novel Award and have twice been nominated for the Rone Best Indie or Small Published Book Award by InD’tale magazine.
Victoria grew up on a farm in Cornwall and can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century. It is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels. She is married, has two grown up children and likes to read and write historical romance with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Hello Victoria thank you for joining me on my blog today to talk about your super new novel. But first did you know on Amazon you can buy Fridge Magnets which say “I love Victoria Cornwall” – How cool is that?
That’s so funny. I thought you were joking! I rarely google my name, Victoria Cornwall. The last time I looked I’m in direct competition for top billing with Victoria, a very small hamlet in Cornwall. The hamlet is near another small settlement called Demelza, which provided Winston Graham with the perfect name for his lead female character in the Poldark series. I suspect the fridge magnet is more likely to be linked to a place rather than little old me.
So, congratulations on your new book.
Thank you for having me on your blog, Anni, and congratulations on your Recipes For Life series.
Waiting for Our Rainbow: A heartbreaking historical WW2 novel, filled with hope
Would you give your heart away if you knew it could only end in goodbye?
It should have been a time of romance and excitement for Anne – but it’s 1941 and the war is raging. So instead, she spends her days repairing spitfire wings and reminding herself that the real sacrifice is going on far away from her Cornish village.
When the news breaks that America has entered the war, it brings cautious hope to Anne and her family. And as the Jeeps filled with GIs eventually roll in, it seems their little community is to play a pivotal role in the next stage of the fight.
But the Americans don’t just bring Hollywood glamour and optimism, they also bring something more tantalising – so when Anne meets handsome Joe Mallory, she has to remind herself of exactly why he’s there; that any relationship between them could only end in goodbye.
But is the inevitability of ‘goodbye’ powerful enough to stop what has already begun to blossom?
This is quite a change of era for you, isn’t it? I seem to remember Daniel’s Daughter was set in the last decade of the 19th Century and A Daughter’s Christmas Wish followed the first world war, what made you decide to write about this era?
Yes, Waiting For Our Rainbow is a departure from my previous novels, however WW2 has always fascinated me so it was inevitable I would write about it one day. As a child, I was aware a local wood was used in WW2 to hide American tanks. I also heard tales of American soldiers arriving in the rural community. Many of the local children were surprised at how friendly and generous the soldiers were and this experience left a lasting impression on many of them for the rest of their lives. The beauty of Cornwall and the sudden arrival of handsome American soldiers seemed an ideal setting and plotline for my next romance.
You’ve set the story along the banks of Carrick Roads, on the Fal estuary. What made you decide to use this location?
This area, and its neighbour Falmouth, played major roles in the preparations for the D Day assault. The estuary also provided the perfect mechanism to show the impact the preparations had on the rural community. For example, initially the estuary is beautiful and a good source of fish, but as the amphibious landing craft and boats increase in number in preparation for D Day, the tranquil waters gradually become polluted with diesel and oil, whilst adventurous children scavenge the shoreline for washed up military rations. The area helped to tell the story so it was the perfect main location.
You always manage to place your novels firmly in the period you are writing about, do you do much research? And how do you go about it?
I love researching so I do a lot of it. I spoke to historians with a special knowledge of the American division who were billeted to Cornwall, read government issue advice booklets, watched interviews and read many archived accounts of the war. I visited some of the places, used the internet and spoke to people in person who were there at the time. I also contacted authors who had written books about the training of the soldiers while they stayed in England. Everyone was eager to help and so generous with their time.
A lot of food items were rationed at this time, bacon/ham, butter, cheese, margarine, cooking fat, milk/cream, sugar, jam, tea and eggs and no bananas– how would you have coped with food rationing?
I think people in the towns and cities found rationing difficult, but people in rural areas, particularly in the farming community, grew a lot of their own food anyway. I would be fine with rationed sugar, fat, cheese and jam as I limit those myself anyway, but I would find it very difficult to prepare varied, interesting meals and my only attempt at growing vegetables ended in a dismal failure!
My mother tried something once with parsnips instead of bananas, thus ensuring I never went near a parsnip for many years. Do you have any recollections of a dish that hell would have to freeze over before you tried again?
In the 1980’s there was a trend for exotic packaged meals, bit like pot noodles but without the noodle or the pot! The Vesta brand cornered the market and they were great fun and played a major role in my first flirtation of what I thought Chinese and Indian cuisine tasted like. However, it was a paella that still burns in the memory. As soon as it was prepared it smelt ‘off’ but my husband and I persevered having never tasted paella before. It tasted awful and we are convinced to this day that it was either contaminated or had gone off. More than 36 years have passed but we still talk about how awful it was. Needless to say, we didn’t eat it all. I have had a freshly made paella in Spain since then. That dish was amazing!
Did you know whale meat was never rationed?
No, I didn’t, but I’m not surprised. Whale hunting is not prolific off the shores of England so they probably didn’t consider it available enough to bother rationing. I think fishermen had their work cut out fishing during the war. Too busy avoiding underwater mines and enemy aircraft and shipping.
Would you have ever used gravy browning on your legs?
Peer pressure is a persuasive force. If my friends were using gravy browning and they looked great… I would too! However, knowing my luck, the smell would attract all the dogs, foxes and cats in the area too!
You’ve had a great deal of success in the past with novels, what has been your journey to publication?
I had a lot of rejections from agents in the beginning. This experience led me to self-publish my first two novels. Since January 2017, my novels (including the ones I previously self-published) have been published by Choc Lit Publishing and Soundings Audio. I’ve had two of those books released in large print and one sold for translation to the Czech Republic. My books have reached the finals of the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction, the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award and the 2021 RNA’s Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award. This experience has taught me that although rejection is painful, it’s best to learn what you can from it and move on.
I’m sure my readers and I certainly want to know so I have to ask what are you working on next?
I have two more WW2 stories that I would like to tell. One day, I hope to share them with you too.
And because we’re only in February, what resolutions did you make this year? Are you normally quite successful at keeping them?
I didn’t make any this year. In the past I made the same resolution every year – not to swear. Unfortunately, I would do something silly like burn myself on the oven door and break the resolution quite quickly. I know I will always fail eventually. Twelve months is a long time to keep any healthy/virtuous promise to yourself.
Thank you again and good luck with the book launch. I’m off now to see if I can persuade someone to produce an “I love Anni Rose” fridge magnet, that’ll take care of this year’s Christmas presents. Yes I know it’s early days, but you can already buy valentine cards and easter eggs, so it won’t be long!
Thank you for having me, Anni. I enjoyed chatting to you. Good luck with your fridge magnet hunting!
Social media links
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3hTR1yuAwJUbFyj0k9P4eQ
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BPDC858B?th=1&psc=1&geniuslink=true
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BPDC858B/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6