An interview with Black Rose Writer Kerin Freeman
Kerin Freeman has agreed to speak with us today about her new release, 'War and Chance.'
Tell us a little about your latest release. Under what genre would you say it falls:'War and Chance' falls under historical fiction. It’s set in the city of Southampton, England, where I was born and grew up. During WWIIthey experienced a lot of bombing. Southampton’s a very old city and still has the remains of buildings and walls built hundreds of years ago. Because I love the history of the place, and because I had just written the biography of the Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire, 'Jack Howard’s War,' I wondered what it would be like for a young naïve boy of eighteen, who was being conscripted into the army, to go and fight a war on foreign soil; a war he didn't believe in, seeing as his father did the same in WWI.
Sounds like an interesting plot. What’s next? Are you writing a sequel or something new? My next project is something completely different. It’s a true story about a young man who sails from England in the early 1950s to Australia, then onto New Zealand (where I live now). There he finds work and the love of his life. She finds out he is still married to a girl in Australia. She leaves him and the protagonist winds up heartbroken. He decides to win her back and comes up with a foolish plan. Only it backfires on him and the girl dies. At the age of 27 the NZ government decides to hang him for manslaughter. The day before he is due to hang, he is taken into hospital for appendicitis. He is operated on and sent back the following day to be hanged. My book is called 'The Quality of Mercy.'
Can’t wait to find out how it turns out. Is this your first book or do you have previous novels? I have a manuscript, 'Jack Howard’s War,' which is yet to be published. I’m currently very active in finding a publisher. It has taken me four and a half years to research and write. It basically tells the true story of a young man who became an earl at the age of eleven, a sailor at 17 on one of the last big sailing ships that sailed from England to Australia in the late 1920s, a sheep farmer in Australia, a scientist in pharmacology with first class honors, a British spy for the government who went on a Top Secret mission to Paris, and a pioneer in Bomb Disposal, saving many lives. He and his secretary Beryl and his chauffeur Fred became known as 'The Holy Trinity.' He received, posthumously, the George Cross medal.
How about your writing rituals? Is there something you do every time you sit down to write? I do have a ritual. Something I can’t deviate from, try as I might. The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is boot up my computer, then do the usual; breakfast, shower, walk the dog, come home, get myself a drink, sit down at the computer and check my emails to see if any research I’ve been waiting for has come in. If I didn't do this, I’d feel out of sorts all day. I go over what I’ve written the day before then begin to write. I write for an hour solid, take a break, get a cup of tea minutes later back at keyboard, and repeat the process. I do that because I’m prone to getting Repetitive Strain Injury in my wrists from typing too long.
Are you a plotter or a planner? How long does it take you to complete a novel? I’m a planner really. Once I decide on what I’m going to write about, I do an awful lot of research into my subject. I usually end up with mounds of it, just like I did with 'Jack Howard’s War.' It helps me get the feel of the era and characters I’m going to write about, and the story in my head. It also helps me to get inside the main character I’m writing about, much like an actor learning his part in a film or play. If I can’t feel the characters, my readers won’t either.
Do you have any favorite authors? What is your favorite genre? I don’t know whether I have a favorite genre. When I’m not reading or researching, I love to read psychological thrillers. I enjoy reading about what makes people tick. I enjoy biographies. The last book I read, 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,' was superbly written and a complete joy to read. The characters were so real that you thought of them as your friends. It’s written in a form of letters from an author to people who lived in Guernsey. It was a true pleasure to read from cover to cover. I borrowed it from a friend but once I had finished it, I bought a copy for myself. I also love bookslike 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' 'In Cold Blood,' and Jodi Picoult books. She has this amazing ability to get inside her characters.
What are you reading now? At the moment I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s novel 'The Poisonwood Bible,' which is excellent. It is full of the prickly threads of religion, politics, race, sin, and redemption in the Belgian Congo. It will be another favorite of mine.
Do you take any of your storylines from your true life? In War and Chance there is a character called Freddie Murphy. Growing up in Southampton, England. I knew many people like him. He was a bit of a wheeler-dealer, kind hearted, bit of a scrooge and always after a bargain. Yes, some of the characters in there I’ve known. With 'Jack Howard’s War,' I know the type of kindhearted people who worked for the 20th Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire. Jack Howard, the earl, however, took time to gel. Once that happened, it was like we had become firm friends. That may sound weird but I lived and breathed Jack Howard for four and a half years so it’s not uncommon to truly feel your main character.
If you could do anything else in the world besides write, what would you be doing? If I had my time again, I’d be a historian or an archaeologist. I love history. At the moment in England there is the excitement of Richard III being found. I find that thrilling and want to know everything about it. England has such a rich history that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s in my blood. So I like my books to be set in an era I can research, like the one I am writing now, which is the hanging of a young Liverpuldian, set in the 1950s in New Zealand.
You can find more information about Kerin and her books at,