Welcome to Day 14 of the Romancing September Across The World Blog Tour. The question I put out to all of these authors was “What challenges do you face in writing romance in today’s society?”
Don’t forget to go over to Rosie Amber’s page and check out her page too. I’ll put the link at the bottom of this post.
Today my guest author is Jean Fullerton and I want to thank her for blogging with me today. Here is a little about Jean and her book Call Nurse Millie.
What Challenges do you face writing romance in today’s society?
I write historical fiction set in East London just after WW2 and the most difficult thing about Writing Romance in today’s Society is to try to show readers the vast changes that have occurred in social and moral attitudes over that time.
I’m very interested in twentieth century social history and how women’s lives have changed over the last seventy years in the way men and women interact and fall in love. For example; a woman from a working class background going to university was almost unheard of. Rather than thoughts of a career the ambition of the majority of young women at that time was to get married and have children. It was the socially accepted thing and no one questioned it. Even their education that majored on domestic science cooking and sewing was designed to equip them with the necessary skills to be a housewife.
There is nothing wrong with this of course, but it is very different from the expectation of young women today. Don’t get me wrong working class women have always worked to support their family. My own mother was a sewing machinist who worked at home and my grandmother took in washing to pay the rent but in the post-war period if a young woman seriously wanted to train as a doctor, nurse or teacher they often had to put aside all hopes of a family to achieve their goal.
But readers want a strong heroine that they can identify with even though she might have a much more restrictive life. Millie Sullivan, the heroine in my current book Call Nurse Millie, is a district nurse and midwife and as such has almost unheard of freedom in her working life this made it so much easier for me to have her taking a very proactive and modern approach to the situations she found herself in.
Life inside marriage could be very different, too. Although, modern surveys show that women are still doing the bulk of the cooking and cleaning most have control of their wages. In the 1940s and 50s men took the lead role in the family and their word was law in women’s romantic literature of the time the hero was often portrayed as a strong man who would take care of the heroine whereas today’s female readers would call him a bully.
Women today are also entitled to a great deal more protection under the law than the women of the 1940s and 50s ever knew. It seems strange to this generation of women that their foremothers weren’t automatically entitled to half the property if they divorced and could be the victim of domestic violence to which society, their neighbours, the police and law courts would turn a blind-eye.
Society itself has also changed, in the most part for the better. People with disabilities aren’t hidden away in faceless institutions any longer and quite rightly; it is no longer acceptable to discriminate against someone for their colour, sexuality or religious beliefs. However, it can seem incredible to the modern readers that people belonging to minority groups were described using words that I couldn’t bring myself say but I had to write in Call Nurse Millie so that my readers can see what it was really like just a generation ago.
The challenge I have as an historical author is always to use the fascinating historical detail of our grandmothers’ world around a cracking, page-turning romance story.
Jean Fullerton is a native Londoner and was born in the East End within the sound of Bow Bells. Until she was five her family lived in Wapping, alongside the Thames, and then moved to Stepney. She is a trained nurse and teaches healthcare and nursing. Her husband is a Church of England vicar, and his parish includes the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. She has three daughters.
Go by Amazon and check out Jean’s Books
Here’s a link to Rosie’s side of the tour: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2tg