One of the most common questions I get from the readers of The Faithful Heart, my sequel to The English Heart, is how much of the story is true. Of course, this is a perfectly sensible and appropriate question, being that The English Heart is the story of how I came to be in England. Although fictionalized, this first book in the Nordic Heart Romance Series is based on my life and how I met my Englishman.
My usual reply to the query is, ‘Unlike The English Heart, The Faithful Heart is completely fictional’.
To this comment, I get two kinds of reactions.
Firstly, there’s the, ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more,’ comment, ‘Sure!’ 😉 . When the book came out a few months ago, I spent a lot of time arguing the case, saying that the Englishman and I had never lived in married quarters in Helensburgh and that he had never served on a Polaris submarine. But soon I learned just to smile, and agree that yes, a little of the book came out of the diary I’d written as a newly married Navy Wife in 1980s Portsmouth. Which is absolutely true. Besides, what happens in the book could have happened to us! Thankfully it didn’t, right?
The second reaction from my readers to the question of whether The Faithful Heart is true to life is disbelief, ‘Really? Why not?’
Why not indeed?
Well, there are a couple of reasons.
When I’d finished writing The English Heart, I realized the characters of Kaisa and Peter had developed into two people quite different from us. In the course of writing the novel, I had made the main protagonists into much more complicated and defined characters. I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it did. To write a second book where the plot followed my own life wouldn’t be right for these two new people I’d created.
Also, I have to admit to being selfish; I absolutely loved reinventing myself in Kaisa and rewriting my own life story.
‘Look how it could have turned out,’ I say to the Englishman and he smiles. I think secretly he’s glad he’s off the hook; reading one’s past in a novel can’t be easy … I know a little about this because he uses me in his stand-up comedy routine. Payback time.
Having just finished writing the third novel in the series, The Good Heart (I hope you like the title!), I know I made the right decision in going over to pure fiction. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed writing a book more than I did this one. It was a complete hoot! There are so many exciting plot turns, so much sex (I know), and the action moves between Helensburgh, Plymouth, Helsinki, and London. All places I know and loved revisiting on the page.
Of course, there are events and even traces of people I knew in those days in both The Faithful Heart and The Good Heart – but I don’t think anyone could possibly recognize themselves in these books. Least of all the Englishman, or me, for that matter.
While I’m plotting the next book in the series (no title as yet), I’m counting the days until the publication day of The Good Heart on 18th September.
But here’s the good news: you don’t have to wait that long to find out more about the novel. I’ll be posting the first chapter of The Good Heart here soon, so keep an eye out!
And in case you haven’t yet had the chance to read any of my Nordic romance books, the first novel in the series, The English Heart, is now FREE on Amazon, GooglePlay, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and many other online retailers.