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Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty, no elderly relative too deaf or senile to interrogate. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia. She once spent a couple of hours in an old goal cell so she could feel the chilling cold and fear. She has visited the battlefields of France and Belgium collecting background information for her World War 1 novels.
Margaret is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. She won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com.
I write historical romance, usually of the nineteenth or twentieth century variety. I have written two novels with a Vietnam War background, Cardinal Sin, and my latest release, Reluctant Father, both from TWRP.
At the risk of revealing my age, I have to say the 1960’s was my time. Mini skirts, stilettos (I have bunions to prove it), beehive hair dos, I couldn’t quite manage that, although I did tease (back comb), the life out of my hair and regularly put in coloured rinses, French Plum or Rich Burgundy, were the colours I favoured. Of course, it goes without saying, I went through a couple of cans of hair spray a week. Going to bed with rollers in my hair, torture but you endured it to stay in fashion.
I can remember when the Beatles made their first visit out to Australia. A couple of girls I worked with were lucky enough to get tickets to their concerts. They camped out over the weekend to be near the top of the queue when the ticket office opened. They came to work the day after the concert minus their voices, and stayed that way for about a week, because they had screamed so much.
We used manual typewriters in those days. One original and four copies of everything we typed. If you made a mistake at the end of the page and couldn’t rub it out, you had to re-type the whole page. No cut and paste in those days. I don’t know how many blouses I ruined because I got ink on the sleeves from changing the typewriter ribbon or the black stuff off the carbon paper.
During this time the Vietnam War loomed in the background. The Australian government introduced conscription. It was in the form of a ballot, or the death lottery as many called it. All twenty year old males had to register, their birth dates were put into a barrel and a certain number were drawn out, and those young men had to report to the army and subsequently many of them were sent to Vietnam. This of course caused severe bitterness and division in the community, and even though the government denied it, was subject to abuse and unfairness. Rich men kept their sons at university so they didn’t have to go. At first it was only unmarried males that were called up, but when young men started marrying their girlfriends to beat the draft, the government quickly plugged that loop hole. Conscientious objectors were thrown into prison. Only sons were called up, yet families with two or three eligible males didn’t have any of their boys called up.
I only had one brother, and I can clearly remember my father (a World War 2 veteran) vowing, that if his son got called up, he would protest on the steps of the parliament with a placard on his back. Luckily for my brother, there was a change of government a few weeks before he was due to register for the draft, and the new government promptly stopped conscription.
Make love not war was the chant in those days. There were protest marches, anti-war demonstrations outside the army barracks, sit-ins at some university campuses. Often things turned violent. Not that I went to any of the protest marches, but a cousin of mine did and got trampled by a police horse. Returning soldiers from Vietnam had buckets of blood thrown over them by some demonstrators. A truly shocking act in my opinion. It wasn’t the soldiers’ fault they were conscripted to fight in an unpopular war. It got so bad that the soldiers were returned home to Australia in the dead of night.
The folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary were very popular at that time, some of their songs still bring a tear to my eye when I hear them played.
A very turbulent time in our history was the 1960’s and I was a part of it.
RELUCTANT FATHER BLURB:Jordan Stamford is allergic to babies. At the height of the Vietnam war, this jet-setting playboy, whose motto is ‘money can buy anything,’ arrives in Sarah Watson’s seaside home to redevelop a disused factory complex. Sarah is the only child of an elderly minister of religion and adores her bay side home. She yearns for a loving husband and babies. Will Jordan’s shameful family history, and Sarah’s desperate longing for a child, be an insurmountable barrier for them to overcome?
Reluctant Father and Cardinal Sin are both available from The Wild Rose Press.
Excerpt:As they neared the lighted doorway, he gave a soft chuckle. “You’ve got a thoroughly-kissed look, and your hair is all mussed up. You’d better go to the little girl’s room and repair the damage.”
“I haven’t got my purse.”
“I don’t have any makeup, but you’re welcome to use my comb. I’ll wait here for you.”
As she walked towards the ladies’ powder room, she forced herself not to glance back at him. In the gilt-edged mirror her eyes looked wide, fever bright, her lips swollen from his fierce kisses. She detected a faint mark beneath her left earlobe where his teeth must have nipped.
She drew the comb through her hair, and heat curled through her at the intimacy of using such a personal item of his.
Outside, he waited in exactly the same place as she had left him.
“Ah, that’s better,” he acknowledged with a grin.
“You left a mark on my neck.”
“Good. I always put a brand on my women.” Laughter lurked in his eyes, and something else she could not quite understand.
My website: http://www.margarettanner.com/