07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Thursday, August 27, 2015



There is nothing more gratifying than a well researched historical romance novel. Nothing worse than a historical novel filled with historical errors, either. To write historical romance novels I feel that you must have a love of history, as well as a love of romance. You must be passionate about your subject.
Like the heroines in my novels, my forebears left their native shores in sailing ships to forge a new life in the untamed frontiers of colonial Australia. They battled bushfires, hardship and the tyranny of distance in an inhospitable and savage land, where only the tough and resilient would survive. They not only survived but prospered in ways that would not have been possible for them had they stayed in Europe.

 I would like to think I display the same tenacity. My goals are a little different from those of my forbears. I want to succeed in the publishing world.

I received my baptism of fire on the literary field of battle at an early age. I have known the highs (winning awards and having my books published), but also known the lows of the volatile publishing world. Publishing company closures, an opportunity for one of my novels to be turned into a film, only to be thwarted at the last minute by government funding cuts, and writing friends dropping off because they couldn’t get published and gave up the struggle.

 I am a fourth generation Australian. We are a tough, resilient people, and we have fought hard to find our place in the world.   We have beautiful scenery, unique wild life, and a bloodied convict history.

I admire heroines who are resourceful, not afraid to fight for her family and the man she loves. I want my readers to be cheering for her, willing her to obtain her goals, to overcome the obstacles put in her way by rugged frontier men who think they only want a wife to beget sons.  A chance for revenge.  To consolidate their fortunes. That love is for fools.  Oh, the victory for the reader when these tough, ruthless men succumb to the heroine’s bravery and beauty, and are prepared to risk all, even their lives to claim her.

Then there are the brave young men who sailed thousands of miles across the sea in World War 1 to fight for mother England, the birth country of their parents and grandparents. I also wanted to write about the wives and sweethearts who often waited in vain for their loved ones to return. Who were there to nurture the returning heroes, heal their broken bodies and tormented souls.

 This is why I write historical romance, even if it means trawling through dusty books in the library, haunting every historical site on the internet, badgering elderly relatives, and risking snake-bite by clambering around overgrown cemeteries.

Falsely Accused, the winner of the historical section of the Easy Chair Best Book Award, is one such book.

1820’s England. Visiting from America, Jake Smith is betrayed by a member of the aristocracy. Convicted for a crime he did not commit, he is exiled to the penal colony of Australia. Jake carries a dark secret that will send him to the gallows if it ever comes out.

On board the convict ship he meets and falls in love with Maryanne Watson.   

Escaping their captors in Australia, the lovers set up home in a hidden valley and Maryanne becomes pregnant.  With a price on his head, will Jake come out of hiding to protect his fledgling family? And how can love triumph over such crushing odds?



Judith Ashley said...

Laughed out loud at the "beget sons' phrase. That myth that women are only worth the number of sons they birth is still alive - unfortunately.

Do take care about the snake bites! And, to be honest, I'm not sure that your find trawling through dusty libraries such a horrendous chore.

Congratulations on the award! You deserve everyone of them.

Sarah Raplee said...

Congratulations on the award, Margaret! I love learning about Australian history through your books! Keep them coming!