Launching her second book – Fenella Forster

Denise/FenellaToday I’m welcoming Fenella Forster, writer extraordinaire. Her debut book, Annie’s Story, set in the early 20th century, came out last year with great enthusiasm and was recently awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion. Her second book, Juliet’s Story, has just launched. Both books are part of ‘The Voyagers’ trilogy stretching from 1913 to the present day. Fenella Forster writes non-fiction (from Bad to Wurst and Seller Beware: How not to sell your business) under her real name Denise Barnes.

Welcome Fenella!

Writers often have ‘second book blues’ when they worry if the second is as good as their first. How did you find writing and publishing Juliet’s Story?
This was easier than it might have been, because these two novels started life as one. It was to be called ‘The Voyagers’ and was to be a dual time-line – the story of Annie set in the early 20th century interwoven with the story of Juliet, the granddaughter, set in the present.

Juliet's Story front coverI eventually finished the manuscript at 150,000 words – far too long for any agent or publisher to risk taking on a debut author. Undeterred, I began writing the sequel about another family member, Kitty. When a couple of agents suggested I split the first book into two separate stories I was beside myself. But you learn not to be too precious in the writing world. You’ll remember, Alison, it was you who said: ‘Split Annie and Juliet, then Kitty becomes the third book in the trilogy.’ (Remember it well!)

You can’t imagine how spurred on I was to think I was writing a trilogy. Trouble was, Juliet was fine at 100,000 words, but Annie was way too light. I ended up almost writing another book for her. So Books 1 & 2 of the trilogy were written together, you might say – hence no deep worry about whether the second novel would be as good.

Publishing Juliet’s Story was a breeze. It went the same way as Annie’s Story – straight to SilverWood Books, the brilliant all-encompassing service for indie authors.

Juliet’s Story is part of a series called The Voyagers. Tell us more about the series.
Annie_BRAGThe trilogy begins in 1913 with Annie’s Story. She’s a housemaid in a fine country house in Norfolk, recently engaged to Ferguson, a footman from a neighbouring house. He springs it on her that they should go to Australia ‘to better themselves’. Annie knows her place is to follow her husband-to-be or break off the engagement so she decides to take the risk. The voyage out throws up new problems for Annie to deal with, not to mention Alexander Townsend, the handsome ship’s doctor. And once they are in Melbourne, Ferguson finds it difficult to stick to his promises. I’d better not say anymore!

In Book 2, Juliet’s Story, it’s in 2005 Juliet, Annie and Ferguson’s granddaughter, is a careworn businesswoman who has a passionate longing to go to Australia. There, she believes the secret she holds close to her heart might be resolved. But how can she ever get away? An ex-client provides her with the opportunity and Juliet boards a freighter, mainly in deference to her grandparents – they wouldn’t have enjoyed the kind of luxury modern passenger ships provide – and also it seems more of an adventure. However, she doesn’t reckon on meeting the enigmatic Jack Delaney, one of the six passengers… I’m going all fuzzy so I’ll stop there!

In Book 3, Kitty’s Story, we drop back to 1941. Kitty is the youngest of Annie’s children. She’s seventeen when the story opens, and her only dream is to become a singer like her idol Vera Lynn. She joins ENSA and is sent to Cairo. There, singing to the soldiers in the desert, she meets the man who will change her life forever. Ruggero Andreotti is a high-ranking Italian prisoner-of-war, with a passion for opera – and for Kitty. But Kitty has to face a terrible choice between the conflicting demands of her duty and her heart.

The epilogue ties up the whole trilogy, though each book can be read as a stand alone.

So what’s next for you?
My fourth novel is a complete breakaway from the sweeping sagas and I’ve already written the second draft.


It’s a rom-com set in 1975, loosely based on one of the experiences in my own life when I was a chauffeuse (we used the feminine terms in those days) to a multi-millionaire Swiss tax lawyer. I lived in his house on Lake Zurich near a small village. So Ashley, my heroine, does the same. But instead of her boss being plain and elderly – as mine was – hers is quite dishy, though rather serious, leading Ashley to fall for his even more handsome fun-loving brother Benvenuto. There are lots of misunderstandings but you’ll have to read it to find out if it all comes out right in the end.

One lonely rom-com didn’t seem enough so I’ve started another, where my heroine goes off to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Express. I’ve done this same trip so unfortunately don’t have to do much research. Shame.

Thanks so much for inviting me as a guest on your blog, Alison. I always enjoy your posts, and this has really been fun to do.

Thank you for being my guest and good luck with Kitty’s Story and The Lies.

Juliet's Story


Juliet’s Story available now from
Amazon UK  Amazon US  Kobo  B&N Nook





Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines…

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