Today I’m delighted to welcome Ros Rendle to the blog. I met Ros in person at the Romantic Novelists’ Association York Tea and was pleased to discover she’s just as friendly and approachable as she appears to be on social media! I couldn’t wait to put my questions to her, and luckily, she was more than happy to answer them.
Welcome, Ros. Can I start by asking you, what’s the first book you remember reading or owning?
Little Grey Rabbit books by Alison Uttley and the Noddy books from Enid Blyton were my first but also, I remember learning at school with Janet and John. That dates me! I disliked those entirely, as I had learned to read on my mum’s knee before I went to school so they were deadly dull and I mean DEADLY!
Haha, I have a vague memory of Janet and John. I loved Noddy! A Noddy book was the first book I ever owned so it has lovely memories for me. What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The best ever book was Fuzzypeg Goes To School by Alison Uttley. I always associated the three main protagonists – gentle Grey Rabbit, rumbustious Hare, and vain Squirrel, with my grandparents and great aunt who also lived together having run a private school, back in the day. In my favourite book the little hedgehog, Fuzzypeg, goes to Hare’s school and learns his ABC. ‘C’ was very wet after he fell in the water and I always related to Fuzzypeg because I, too, was the youngest, had a mass of fuzzy curls when little, and I also fell in the river.
I’m ashamed to say the Alison Uttley books have completely passed me by, which is a shame because I think I’d have enjoyed them when I was little. Do you have a favourite among books you’ve written yourself?
This is such a good question and I most definitely do. It’s The Divided Heart. It’s set between the UK and Berlin and features the third and youngest of the sisters in the Strong Sisters series. After WW2 Izzy travels regularly through Checkpoint Charlie to meet Garrit, whom she met in England when he, as a Jew, received sponsorship to reside temporarily in the UK to escape Naziism. Their illicit love affair is powerful and reflects another love story set in the 1970s between workers at a Care Home where Izzy now resides. The ending is poignant and makes me cry. Described as ‘Stunning’ and with good reviews, I’m very proud of this book.
Wow, that sounds amazing! Do you read any genres apart from the one/s in which you write?
I do. I like to read a wide variety, changing from one genre to another before reverting. Lately, I’ve read crime and gritty dramas as well as mystery and cosy crime before going back to romance/ relationships and so-called ‘women’s’ fiction. There are some excellent indie authors out there as well, and I’m lucky enough to count them among friends, so I like to support them.
Which authors had the biggest influence on you?
My mother was a published author and she was encouraging, although I didn’t finish writing a book until after she had passed away, which is sad. I think she would be pleased that I’ve had several accepted for publication, now. Most authors are an influence because they inform the skills, structures, and techniques of novel writing.
Such a shame your mother didn’t see how much you’ve achieved. I’ll bet she’d be so proud of you. I think you’re right in that almost every author we encounter influences us in some way. Do you read books more than once?
Very rarely have I done that. I read slowly, take in every word, and hear all the nuances in my head. The only book I’ve read twice is Random Harvest by James Hilton. He was more renowned for Goodbye Mr Chips and Lost Horizon, but this other is amazing. While in some senses it’s dated, having been written in 1941, it’s still heart-wrenching and beautiful.
Given that you don’t often reread books, is it worth asking if you have a comfort read?
This isn’t something I do for the reason given above but there are go-to authors. I love all the books Emma Davies has written. She writes with great warmth and understanding of relationships. There are several earlier books by Santa Montefiore, such as The Butterfly Box and The French Gardener. Again, the characters and the stories are ultimately uplifting.
Do you prefer hardback, paperback, e-book, audio, or no preference?
I definitely prefer e-book. I have the Kindle app on both iPad and iPhone and they sync so I always have a book with me and if I read on one at the dentist or hairdresser and then want to read in bed, I’m always at the correct page. Sometimes we have an audiobook if we are on a long car journey and I was over the moon when my book, Sisters At War, was requested and then produced as an audiobook.
Audiobooks are becoming so popular. I don’t know how you can read on your phone, though. It would give me a headache! Have you ever preferred a film or TV version to the original book?
In common with the majority, I believe, most books are better than the corresponding film, but occasionally the opposite is true. I enjoyed the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (phew, what a title) novel but the film was far, far better. I wasn’t keen on the letter format of the book. Random Harvest as a film simply didn’t work for me because the visual medium didn’t work at all with the twist at the end of the novel. I’ll say no more, in case anyone would like to read the book.
I haven’t read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I loved the film. I’ve heard a few people say the book made more sense after watching the film, so yes, it’s unusual in that sense. What’s your latest book about?
My latest book is Finding Happiness published by the talented and wonderful Sapere Books.
It’s the third in the Moondreams House series but each book is a stand-alone story. Some previous characters pop in to say hello but there are also new ones. Finding Happiness includes an enigmatic Frenchman with a secret and a rural rough sleeper. Both help Angela with advice when she is trying to move forwards, following tragedy. Although the background to the rural rough sleeper is entirely fictitious he is based on someone for whom my mum used to leave food, in a quarry where she walked her dog.
There are often Frenchmen in my books. Perhaps since we lived there for so many years, this is an unconscious inspiration!
I loved the first in the Moondreams House series. That one sounds intriguing though. What’s next for you, Ros?
My next venture will be a complete change. I am reverting to a historical series with some romance but this will be way back in the past. I’m researching now and I’ve written 7k so far. I’m sorry, I can say no more at the moment.
Ooh, very interesting! I’ll look forward to hearing more about that. Thanks for joining me today, Ros, and good luck with the new book.
About Ros Rendle
Ros Rendle was a head teacher previously but is now an award-winning author of contemporary and early 20th century fiction. She has eleven novels either published or about to be. She became an Amazon best-seller.
Inspiration comes from ten years living in France as well as a myriad of ideas from time spent with family and friends.
With writing her hours are filled. However, she also enjoys dog walking and ballroom dancing, and while they have been caught out once or twice along the farmer’s drove, they are not usually practised at the same time.
She is a member of the RNA, HNS, and Society of Authors.
You can find out more about Ros Rendle and her books by visiting her website.
A moving contemporary romance set in the English countryside! Perfect for fans of Mary Stewart, Fay Weldon and Barbara Pym.
Can Angela build a new life for herself and her daughters…?
Having lost her husband in a motorbike accident, forty-six-year-old Angela Ross has decided to start afresh in the small village of Waterthorpe. Along with her daughters — sixteen-year-old Grace and twenty-five-year-old Debs — she does her best to adjust to village life, supporting herself with her writing.
But when she meets Gilles Richard — the head gardener at Moondreams House, the large local estate — Angela’s heart is once again thrown into turmoil.
Torn between her loyalty to her deceased husband and her growing attraction to the kindly gardener, she is unsure whether she is ready to pursue a new relationship. And as she and Gilles become closer, she cannot shake the feeling that he has something to hide.
As long-buried secrets begin to unravel and family conflicts come to a head, Angela’s anxiety over the future increases. And with her painful past still weighing her down, she must decide whether she is finally ready to follow her heart…
Can Angela find a way to move forward? Will she and Gilles act on their feelings?
Or will their unresolved traumas keep them apart…?