The guest sharing her Five Photos with me today is author Ros Rendle. I have talked to Ros on social media for a long time now, but back in September I had the pleasure of meeting her in person for the first time, at the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual York Tea. She really is as lovely as I’d imagined, so it’s a pleasure today to welcome her to the blog. She’s brought some fascinating photos with her, too!
I’ve engaged and really like this blog since the start and so I’m especially pleased to be featured. It’s such a good way to know an author better. Thank you, Sharon.
French house – soul food
We lived full-time in France for eleven years. Although we are based in the UK again, we visit often, and family come in the summer. It’s peaceful, the weather is generally not bad, and we enjoyed our time there with many friends among both the French and English communities. It was here I started writing seriously, having little else to do apart from gardening and eating with friends. This is the reason many of my books have a French flavour, either the contemporary or the early 20th century historical ones.
While living in France we had a minor flood. This set the creative side whirring and I remembered the significantly worse flooding at Boscastle some years ago when the village was devastated. Weaving traditional French villagers with a similar catastrophe and writing about whether disparate people could come together was the focus for my first published novel, ‘Sense and French Ability’. Of course, there is a love story in the mix too. This book received an Amazon orange ‘best seller’ sticker – very gratifying and encouraging.
This is an image of my Granny taken around 1920. The cover designer for the first in my ‘Strong Sisters’ series – ‘Flowers of Flanders’, used the image on the front cover. Since Granny was the inspiration for the book, although it’s not her story, it was an emotional commemoration for me. She was also an excellent artist and had a painting in the National Gallery, but it’s not catalogued. She introduced me to reading with the Alison Uttley Little Grey Rabbit books. She lived with grandad and her sister lived with them, too. I still associate her with the title character of the delightful books; my Grandad with the bumptious Hare; my great-aunt, with vain Squirrel. I still love those books. I was sure, at a young and impressionable age, I was a reincarnation of the young hedgehog Fuzzypeg, with my tight curls. Although Granny didn’t write, her daughter, my Mum, did and she had 27 books published in 1970s and 1980s. She was also a member of the RNA, as am I. It’s this part of the family tree that I thank for my interest and success in novel-writing. ‘Flowers of Flanders’ has won two awards, and so have the sequels.
Family is my best antidote to being lonely
In France, I came to realise that family was more important than anything and our six girls are each a focus of mummy and granny pride. They may not thank me for this old photo, but I need a newer one. Our older daughter is a very successful head teacher and the younger is practice manager at a large doctors’ surgery. Both are demanding jobs. The oldest of the four of the next generation is twenty now! She’s training at the prestigious Norland College in Bath for nannies to royalty, the rich, and famous. The middle two win numerous awards for ballroom dancing or running and the youngest who is now thirteen plays football with Cambridge and her team have won national awards. Our sons-in-law are great. I am blessed.
Billy – loyal and trustworthy friend
I love my dog. He’s been with me through the best of times, the worst of times. We actually have three dogs. There’s a border collie, a little one we inherited from my dad when he passed away and this one – Billy, or Billy-Bob, Bilbo Baggins or Billy-Boy, depending on the day. He’s loyal and trustworthy and always close by since he follows me around. Look at his lovely kohl-rimmed eyes.
He’s a handsome chap! Thank you, Ros, for sharing your five photographs with me today. It’s been fascinating to look through them.
Ros Rendle was a head teacher in a previous life but when her husband took early retirement she did too, and they moved to France. She used to write policy documents, essays and stories to which young children enjoyed listening, but now she writes contemporary and historical fiction for adults – a much harder but more enjoyable task.
You can buy Ros’s books here.
Find out more about Ros on her website
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Coming soon! Flowers that Shattered Stones set during the Cold War.