Hi Catherine and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Hi, Jo and thank you for the invitation to Tuesday Talk. I am Irish and live in Dublin. In the past I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I am now retired and grateful that I can enjoy all the ‘good things’ of life such as food and wine, travel, music, especially opera, and theatre. My favourite countries to visit are France and Greece. I am never without a book to read or a notebook to scribble in.
Who are your favourite writers and have they influenced your own writing in any way?
Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen pointed me towards the Regency, J R R Tolkien is a wonderful story-teller and P D James and Reginald Hill showed me that so-called ‘popular’ ‘genre’ fiction can include great novels.
What inspired you to set your stories during the Regency period?
I was introduced to the Regency while I was in my teens, not only through Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, but also through the romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Shelly and Keats, and essayists such as Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt.
The first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most significant periods of European and American history whose events still resonate after two hundred years. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 all still shape our modern world. The aristocracy-led society that drove these events was already under attack from those who saw the need for social and political reform, while the industrial revolution saw the beginning of the transfer of wealth and ultimately power to those who knew how to exploit the new technologies.
It was still a patriarchal world where women had few or no rights but they lived and loved and died, making the best lives they could for themselves and their families, often with their husbands away for years with the army or at sea. And they began to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation.
I love the challenge of evoking this fascinating era with characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader.
What makes a great hero?
Strength, courage and loyalty. Strength and courage to bear his burdens, confront his demons, do his duty, question received wisdom and shibboleths. Loyalty to his principles, his family, his duty, whether professional or personal. These are general attributes that might apply to anyone. In terms of fiction, and especially in terms of a romantic interest, there must be an initial spark between the couple even if at first it is unrecognised or ignored. There must also be a certain compatibility of mind and interests, mutual respect and a strong sexual attraction. And, of course, a true hero’s strength, courage and loyalty will always be at the service of his other half.
Beach or City? Where are you the happiest?
Here I just have to say, ‘both’. I live ten minutes on foot from the sea and a ten minutes’ journey from the city centre. I love to walk on the beach and also love the buzz of the city. On holidays, I like to find accommodation near the beach, preferably with a sea view, but to use the day for sight-seeing, followed by an evening walk and a sundowner by the sea. One of my favourite places is Chania in Crete. The sunsets by the harbour are spectacular and there are so many places to visit during the day.
Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?
I am completing the final edits for my new novel A Suggestion of Scandal that will be published at the end of July. Here is the blurb.
If only he could find a lady who was tall enough to meet his eyes, intelligent enough not to bore him and had that certain something that meant he could imagine spending the rest of his life with her.
It is high time Sir Julian Loring married, but he certainly does not expect to discover ‘that lady’ in his half-sister Chloe’s governess. When he first met Rosa Fancourt, the orphaned daughter of a naval officer, she was a gawky girl fresh from a Bath Academy, when he returns to his father’s home for a house-party, somehow she sparks his interest. Then, just as he begins to get to know her better, she disappears—in very dubious circumstances. Julian cannot bring himself to believe the worst of Rosa, but if she is innocent, the real truth is even more shocking. Despite this, he is determined to find her and to ensure justice for her.
This has repercussions for his own family, not least for Chloe. And how is he to pursue his courtship of Rosa when she has taken refuge with her cousins? Driven by her concern for Chloe, Rosa accepts an invitation to spend some weeks at Castle Swanmere. But Julian’s cousin, the widowed Meg Overton, has also been invited and she is determined not to let such an eligible match as Julian slip through her fingers again. When a ghost from Rosa’s past rises to haunt her and Mrs Overton discredits Rosa publicly, Julian must decide where his loyalties lie.
You have been chosen to take part in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Choose four candidates you would like to share the jungle with and give your reasons for choosing them.
I don’t think I am a suitable candidate for I’m a Celebrity. I would be voted out very quickly if I had not already been medically evacuated due to my allergies. Instead, I have picked four people with whom I would like to be snowed in. They must not only be good company, but also willing to turn a hand to keeping the household going.
Captain Frederick Wentworth (Jane Austen’s Persuasion). As a sailor, he would be used to all weathers, he is kind and practical, and would have the drive cleared of snow in no time.
Jamie Fraser and Clare Randall (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander). Even if the power went, they would ensure we would have food and heat and Clare would be useful for any medical emergencies.
And now I must decide. Do I allow Captain Wentworth to bring his Anne, who would be a cheerful companion, or do I opt for my own husband of almost forty-five years? I think I must have both. This will give us a nicely balanced house-party of six, all of whom would have no difficulty in coping without electricity or access to modern media. And everyone will have their partner to snuggle up with during the cold nights.
Author Bio and Purchase Links
Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-six years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. After taking early retirement Catherine was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write. Her novels are set in England during the extended Regency period—that fascinating period between the demise of hoops and the invention of crinolines- the end of the Georgian era but before the stultifying age of Victoria.
Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, published in 2016, is a warm and engaging story of a young woman’s struggle to survive and find love in an era of violence and uncertainty. It takes us from the ballrooms of the Regency to the battlefield of Waterloo. https://goo.gl/zr7xvE
In Perception & Illusion, published in March 2017, Lallie Grey, cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride. http://amzn.to/2n9Ljxi
Her third novel, A Suggestion of Scandal, will be published in July 2018.
Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catherine-Kullmann/e/B01IW3F4MA/ref=