I’m thrilled to welcome Ros Rendle back to the blog to talk about her latest book, Resistance of Love. Make yourself comfortable, Ros, and we’ll begin.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Natalie. I hope your readers find my answers of interest.
I’ve been waiting for this book, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I thought separating the book into parts was an ideal way of seamlessly moving from one timeframe to the next. Was it in the planning or did it just ‘happen’ and is it a method you’ve used before?
I haven’t used ‘parts’ before. A significant number of people asked what happened to Delphi after Book 1 – Sisters At War, and so it seemed necessary to write that. Moving onto the next part of the story lent itself to having a separation and so Part 2 was born. That meant that section was much longer than Part 1, so my publisher and I decided to split it. Thus Part 3 came into being when the story changed its profile a little.
Without wanting to give anything away, Resistance of Love is a generational book. Can your readers expect a sequel?
In a way, this is the sequel. I haven’t planned one for these characters. However, the youngest sister from Sisters At War, her name is Izzy, is about to appear in The Divided Heart. This is set between 1970 when Izzy is elderly, and much is set during the Cold War when she harbors a secret.
You have set me thinking now, though, about the possibilities of writing a sequel more directly about Flora from Resistance of Love. There were some major world events for France during that era.
I know you lived in France for many years and your geographical knowledge is in evidence. Do you think you could have written the same book without that personal experience, using only Google Maps and reference books?
I do use Google and books a lot but having lived in the regions about which I write has enable some more detailed knowledge. We had a V1 ramp and its associated buildings on the edge of our village in northern France and a couple of the elderly residents were able, though reluctant, to speak of the invasion and building of those.
I should not have heard it were in not for the fact we lived there and got to know these residents well.
I learned of the Resistance escape route through Chateau de Chenonceau when we visited, and that information is on Google. However, to tread in the steps of my protagonists is always helpful for those small details. A small example is the dint in the limestone steps where hundreds have trodden before, which lends authority to a story, as does the weight of a dark oak door.
When we were renovating an ancient wall at our house in the Loire region, we found a German coin from 1944. One of our farmer neighbours spoke of when troops were sent there to ‘rest’ and of the strain of living with the enemy and with the culture of being encouraged to inform on each other. I think life in this country must have been dreadful during the war but life in an occupied country was extremely stressful at times.
The drama of Part 3 had me racing through. It certainly brought home to me the fear and terror that people lived through. Did your research include talking to anyone who experienced it first-hand?
One man who was a boy, during those times told me of how his family planned to outrun the Nazis and escape to the ‘Free’ Zone further south. They were half-way down his long driveway in the middle of the night, when the invaders arrived, and they fled back indoors. This story was too good not to use from the time distance we are in now, but the people who lived through it were extremely reluctant to speak in detail, especially about the bullet holes in the wall of the church. I never did get to the bottom of that, and if I had, I wouldn’t have included it.
There was a real sense of family but some of the scenes were very harrowing. Did you find them difficult to write?
The particular scene to which you refer was hard to read about. I discovered a lot more information, through reading and old TV programmes, than I used. The difficult part in writing was to decide what to use and what to leave to the imagination and how best to interpret cold facts and bring them into a personal domain. The balance of these things was testing as I didn’t want to make it too horrific for the genre in which the story resides.
You’ve given us a really interesting cast of characters. Was each meticulously planned beforehand or did some present themselves to you as you were writing? It was really good to see Delphi achieve her happy ever after but for me this is Flora’s book. A brave young woman who did what so many had to at the time.
It became Flora’s book. She took over and got on with what had to be done during the time and place in which she found herself. One or two of the other characters in her sphere became more prominent as I wrote, and the influence of the Great War could not be denied. It had tentacles which influenced long into the future for some, and even for the future families of those who fought in that.
I know your writing covers different time periods. Is there anyone, past or present, who is your own personal hero or heroine and what makes them stand out from the rest?
For the last eight years or so, my husband has befriended, via a local charity, an old man who was suffering from loneliness. Cyril, known as Sid, became a good family friend and often came to our house as well as my husband visiting him far more regularly than the charity suggested, sometimes going in the night when he was called, because Sid had fallen. In 2017, on learning of Sid’s exploits in the Channel and elsewhere during WW2, my husband informed the relevant authorities, and after their research and much form, filling Sid was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French President. The letter of thanks and congratulations arrived, and Sid became proud to wear the accompanying medal at our local Remembrance Day services. He had volunteered early to join the navy, going aged only just seventeen, and some of his real-life exploits, I have written in the book.
He died last month, aged 96, and the Royal British Legion played the last post at his funeral. Sid never believed he was a hero … but he was.
There were so many unsung heroes, weren’t there. I’m so glad Sid ultimately received recognition.
Thank you for joining me. It’s been lovely to chat. Let’s do it again some time.
Delphi’s peaceful new life is threatened by the spectre of war…
After spending ten years in Australia, Delphi Strong is on a ship back to England with her daughter, Flora.
While on board, Delphi meets Rainier, a charming vineyard owner on his way home to France. Forming an instant mutual attraction, the two share a whirlwind romance before disembarking.
Unable to forget her, Rainier crosses the channel a few months later and asks Delphi to marry him. Equally lovestruck, Delphi accepts, and she and Flora join Rainier in France.
However, their idyllic lifestyle is shattered when war breaks out and the Nazis begin to occupy the country. Forced to flee to the Free Zone in the south, the family must now pull together to resist the enemy…
Can Delphi keep her family safe? Will they find a way to defy the occupying forces?
Or will the brutal new regime destroy their peace forever…?
RESISTANCE OF LOVE is a page-turning romantic saga set in England and France during World War II. It is the second book in The Strong Family Historical Saga series.
To find out more about Ros you might visit her website or join her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. She loves to interact with readers.
Resistance of Love purchase link: https://amzn.to/3EAr2pC