Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the delightful Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.
Please, tell us about your story behind the story …
Toward the end of last year my husband and Lisa, a good friend of mine, were commissioned to chronicle the lives of the men and women of the Canungra district who volunteered to serve during The Great War.
There are many such cenotaphs and obelisks marking the service and sacrifice of our Diggers around the country, but the Canungra memorial in Queensland memorial is different – it marked all who served, not only those who fell.
Some of their stories were inspiring – the brothers who became brothers-in-arms; poignant – the faithful fiancée at home writing for news of beloved who would never return and humorous – the 15 year old boy who lied about his age and was pulled off the troop carrier by his irate father, leaving his hit to go on the journey without him.
Those who came back did not do so unscathed. Some suffered shell-shock and spiralled into alcoholic depression, others lost limbs, and others, the full use of their lungs ravaged by mustard gas.
One man who survived to leave a legacy beyond his war service was a man by the name of James (Jim) McDonald Sharp.
Initially reported dead, Jim was critically wounded and later credited his survival to the courage and bravery of his best mate, Jack Bartle, who secured his removal to a dressing station behind the front line.
With shrapnel wounds to the left foot and leg, left temple, ear drum and head, Jim was evacuated to England and admitted to hospital in London on May 15, 1916.
There, a steel plate, which he would carry for the rest of his life, was inserted in the left side of his skull. The damage to his eardrum was irreparable and he remained partially deaf.
After the war he became a successful dairy farmer and for many years served the local community and local government.
Jim’s service was recognised with awards of the King George VI Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal in 1953.
The web site was launched in late December last year on the 100th anniversary of the evacuation of Gallipoli and, after reading page after page of these remarkable stories, I started thinking of a war 100 years earlier – the Napoleonic Wars.
I thought about what it must have been like to come back physically broken and what courage and fortitude it must take to build a life irrevocably changed.
Inspired by those incredible stories I wrote my first novella, Nocturne in January this year.
The hero, Thomas Worsley is blind and lame because of his wounds in the Battle of Quatre Bras. He is a recluse, partly by choice, partly by the machinations of his brother.
He would be largely content with his life lived after dark, where he plays piano alone and in peace, if it not for the arrival of the inquisitive new governess Ella Montgomery.
So, as you see history was brought to life to me through this remarkable web site. It reminded me that the men and women on memorial are more than just names – they were people who lived, loved, laughed and have since died.
Nocturne gave me the opportunity to explore the aftermath of war and to count some of its great cost.
And that is the story behind the story.
In her first posting as governess, Ella Montgomery discover beautiful Blackheath Manor hides family secrets and suppressed passions.
Mysterious music in the darkness of night draws Ella to the talented Thomas Worsley, the brother of her employer, the Earl of Renthorpe.
Grievously wounded in the Napoleonic Wars that killed his beloved twin brother, Thomas is held prisoner at Blackheath by more than his blindness and scars.
Fuelled by a bitter jealousy, the Earl has ensured Thomas is only a memory, his name etched on a marble memorial in the Bedfordshire village graveyard.
Drawn together by their love of music, Ella and Thomas begin a clandestine affair, but how far will the Earl go to keep his family’s secret?
Elizabeth has kindly offered the chance for three lucky commenters to win an e-copy of Nocturne. Just leave a comment below for your chance to win.