Chatting with Ros Rendle

It’s my great pleasure to welcome another Sapere author to the blog. Thank you for joining me, Ros, and for agreeing to answer my questions.

The Warring Heart is the second book after Sisters at War. Did you always plan to write a series and is it something you’ve done before?

I did. The original series was three books featuring sisters and troubled times during the early 20th century. However, I decided to add to the series with this book set during WW1. I haven’t written a series before and nor have I written historical fiction, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the intricacies of linking stories and characters, so I have embarked on another series but set in contemporary times.

I loved the touches where established characters from the first book are subtly included. Was it more difficult to incorporate them or was their familiarity welcome?

Thank you. I was loathe to leave some characters behind. As a writer, I become entwined with the lives of my characters.  Since publishing the first book, other people asked what happened to some of them, too. That, in particular, influenced the next book in the series which should be coming out soon. However, in this one it’s an opportunity to round off some characters, who did have a happy ending before, but as in life, it’s always good to catch up and exchange news. I did have to watch timelines carefully, though.

You display considerable skill at moving your scenes between the relatively quiet life in England and the horrors of the frontline. How did you cope with two such different scenarios?

I wanted to maintain the momentum of characters in geographically different places but who have a deep connection. They each need to concentrate on what they have to do but always they have the other at the back of their mind. In real life we do this all the time, although fortunately for most, the circumstances of our lives are not so dramatic. I tried to show, even during those dire historical times, life for those at home was very dissimilar to those in the trenches but also very difficult and often stressful in a different way.

There is a saying ‘less is more’, and your battle scenes are gut wrenching but circumscribed. Nevertheless, it is patently evident that a huge amount of research has gone into this part of your work. How did you approach this aspect?

I did do a vast amount of research both geographically and through books and archives. Since we lived in northern France for many years, I have visited the areas of Belgium and France I describe many times and have attended ceremonies at the sites of battles. As a representative of the Royal British Legion, I’ve attended reburials of soldiers rediscovered during modern-day building works, for example. I’ve also used books, and documents of the day from Kew Archives Office. I read many reports from soldiers in the trenches but some of their circumstances were too traumatic to detail. I hope I’ve done justice to their experiences and sacrifices albeit through the medium of a novel.

How many more books do you have planned for this series?

There are three more books to come. Two are set during WW2 – one mainly in France about French resistance and the other featuring a prisoner of war camp built in the UK . They feature children of the characters in the first two books. The third is set before and during the Cold War as well as in the 1970s. The youngest sister from the original story is an old lady but remembers her time travelling to East Berlin after the wall was built. Her story reflects the emotions of her care-giver in a home for the elderly.

I know you write in other genres as well, and in different times. Will you be sticking with WW1 for the time being or are there other ideas in the pipeline?

Other than the books I’ve mentioned above, I’ve written three books, accepted but yet to be published and a fourth is coming. They’re more contemporary and set in and around a rambling and ancient property called Moondreams House. One is a relationships story around eMotion School of Dance. Another is about a girl who discovers she is a foundling and a woman who had to abandon her baby. Tea and Sweet Dreams is the business established at the House for this one. A third features second time love, an enigmatic French gardener with a secret, and a rural rough sleeper. The most recent one is about a young ex-soldier missing a limb, who must find a new purpose. She comes to Moondreams House to start a flower shop and becomes involved with the meanings of the blooms she is arranging for others.

Readers are a nosy bunch (well I certainly am). What can you tell us about Ros Rendle when she isn’t entertaining us with her books?

We love dancing and dog walking although not normally at the same time. We have been caught out practising on a farm track once or twice, however! When we came to live back in the UK, we took up ballroom and Latin dancing. Under normal circumstances we would either have lessons or go to dances two or three times each week. We’re getting back into it again now. We met some very good friends through this, and they all said, ‘you should write a book about it’. Now I have. Rhythm of Life at Moondreams House was born.

With dogs we walk each day. During the lockdowns we walked the Lincolnshire lanes and tracks and as my husband has health issues it meant we both, but he in particular, lost a lot of weight. He has benefitted directly from this. Having got into the habit we shall endeavour to maintain it. Both daughters and all four granddaughters are encouraging.

We still have a house in France and hope to return at some point. I have a feeling there will be a significant amount of work to be done in the garden and a DIY project to complete.

Thank you, Natalie, for this opportunity. I hope readers find my responses of interest. Your questions certainly got my brain cells working.

Thank you so much for joining me, Ros. I look forward to the next book, and the next, and…


England, 1914
When the man she loves deserts her, young Pretoria Redfern is left broken-hearted. Facing public embarrassment, she must become betrothed to another as quickly as possible to deflect gossip.
To her surprise, family friend Nathanial Moore — a well-off farmer — soon asks for her hand. Harbouring a secret love for Pretoria, he is eager to help protect her from scandal.
Sensing his kindness and honesty, Pretoria accepts his offer and tentatively settles into married life.
But with Britain at war with Germany, the newlyweds’ peace is soon disturbed. Feeling duty-bound to serve his country, Nathanial enlists and leaves for the front line in France.
Though not yet in love with her husband, Pretoria is soon missing his warmth and companionship, and longs for his safe return.

But when a shadow from her past reappears, Pretoria must decide where her happiness truly lies…
Will Nathanial survive the war? Will Pretoria learn to open her heart to him?
Or will the distance drive them further apart…?
THE WARRING HEART is a breath-taking romantic military saga set in war-time England and France during World War I.


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