Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Welcome to Regency Author - Catherine Kullmann

I am delighted to welcome Catherine Kullmann to the blog.

Catherine Kullmann - Author

Hello Catherine – It was lovely to connect with you through The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Historical Interest Group on Facebook and I’m looking forward to reading about your Regency writing experiences. But before you tell us about your latest release - The Potential for Love - here are a few questions that will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.

Arabella: How did you manage to get your first Regency novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Catherine: After receiving several warm declines from publishers, I decided to go ahead and self-publish. Fortunately, because of trying the agent/traditional publisher route, I had several books in the pipeline by this time and so was able to publish the first three within 24 months. This helped build a brand and I would recommend any author wishing to self-publish to have the second book well on the way before publishing the first one. The other thing I learnt was the importance of marketing and how time-consuming it is.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Catherine: My first choice will always be the sea. I live ten minutes’ walk away from it. Our local strand has a huge tidal difference and when the tide is out I love to walk barefoot on the firm sand and splash in the little puddles and rivulets left behind by the tide. You just have to be careful that you don’t get cut off when the tide turns as it races in.

Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest Regency release, The Potential for Love?
Catherine: My books are set against a background of the off-stage Napoleonic wars. Where previous ones considered the situation of women left behind when their menfolk disappeared over the horizon, many never to return, The Potential for Love considers the aftermath of these wars.

Arabella: Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime in the 1800’s.
A Pink Rose symbolises: grace, happiness and gentleness, and a Forget-Me-Not symbolises: true love memories. Do you have a favourite flower, and does it hold a special symbolic meaning or sentiment for you personally?
Catherine: I love all flowers, but daffodils are my favourite. Not only are they harbingers of Spring that have cheered up many a grey day, they have inspired such wonderful poetry. So many of us have ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ with Wordsworth but I love Robert Herrick’s Sweet Daffodils too. According to my book on The Romantic Language of Flowers (Gill Davies and Gill Saunders), they can signify ‘chivalry, regard, respect, sunshine, uncertainty, unrequited love & deceit’. What a range of meanings! I’ll take sunshine and uncertainty, the essence of Spring.

Welsh Daffodils

Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a gallop across the fields or a glass of Madeira before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Catherine: I need to have the decks cleared—breakfast, the newspaper read, the crossword and the daily chores done. It is usually mid-morning before I sit at my desk.

Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Catherine: I’m a very solitary writer and don’t seek guidance on writing matters elsewhere. I would never kill off a hero—I believe in a happy end— but I do wonder ‘what happens next?’ When this happens, I consult my public timeline containing all the historical and trivial events I could find for the time in which the book is set, and also the many diaries, letters and memoirs of the period. Generally I find a new starting point. In The Potential for Love, for example, Thomas accompanies Arabella’s family to see Edmund Kean play the title role in Richard III, an occasion that helped me progress several plot lines.

Arabella: Your next Regency WIP (work in progress) is on schedule, and it’s time to take a break and relax. Which Jane Austen adaptation would you choose to watch (again J) ?
1) Persuasion
2) Pride and Prejudice
3) Northanger Abbey
4) Mansfield Park
Catherine: Persuasion. We visited Bath some years ago and I reread Persuasion while we were there. I got just as much of a thrill in tracing Anne’s and Captain Wentworth’s footsteps as I did in visiting the places associated with Jane Austen herself.

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Arabella: In Georgette Heyer's "Frederica", when Alverstoke is contemplating the merits of Miss Frederica Merrivale, his thoughts turn to her two brothers. Alverstoke believed he had allowed himself to yield to the blandishments of Felix (detestable imp!); then Jessamy had got himself into a scrape (tiresome young chub!), and as for Frederica, she had been as cross as crabs, and was a top-lofty little pea-goose.
What endearing nick-names or slang expressions have you used, (if any), for your characters in your Regency novels?
Catherine: I don’t know if they are endearing. Generally, I use slang sparingly but, in The Potential for Love, Francis Nugent is a friend of the Malvins. He is a member of the Fancy (a fan of boxing). When he visits Thomas, he treats him to a blow by blow account of the best mills he had witnessed, letting his cheroot burn out on the little plate while he demonstrated how, “Haydon then planted a desperate right-handed hit upon Smith’s upper works that made a dice-box of his swallow. Smith’s claret flowed freely but he was full of game and put in a most severe blow on Haydon’s jaw, flooring him.”

Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” historical authors starting out on their writing journey?
Catherine: Research, research and research. Not only the big events but also the quirky trivia that bring an era to life. I have a large research library and also collect engravings of the period.  I was surprised when I started out to discover the wealth of hand-coloured prints and engravings that help set the scene. The internet is another wonderful resource. I have a huge document called Historical Facts & Trivia where I save everything that I come across, whether I need it immediately or not. It is invaluable.

Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Catherine. And about your "essentials" to help you write…I too have to have everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion before I can put pen-to-paper (or fingertips-to-keyboard). My mind has to be clear of “things to do” leaving the muse to flow. (Not always easy when something like a pandemic is threatening the world).
All the best and wishing you lots of happy-ever-after writing…
Stay safe.

About Catherine Kullmann

Catherine Kullmann - Author

Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.
Catherine has always been interested in the extended Regency period, a time when the foundations of our modern world were laid. Her books are set against a background of the offstage, Napoleonic wars and consider in particular the situation of women trapped in a patriarchal society. She also blogs about historical facts and trivia related to this era.
You can find out more about Catherine’s books and read her blog (My Scrap Album) at

Website and Social Media Links
When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for one interminable moment she thinks he is her brother, against all odds home from Waterloo. But it is Major Thomas Ferraunt, the rector’s son, newly returned from occupied Paris who stands in front of her.
For over six years, Thomas’s thoughts have been of war. Now he must ask himself what his place is in this new world and what he wants from it. More and more, his thoughts turn to Miss Malvin, but would Lord Malvin agree to such a mismatch for his daughter, especially when she is being courted by Lord Henry Danlow?
As Arabella embarks on her fourth Season, she finds herself more in demand than ever before. But she is tired of the life of a debutante, waiting in the wings for her real life to begin. She is ready to marry. But which of her suitors has the potential for love and who will agree to the type of marriage she wants?
As she struggles to make her choice, she is faced with danger from an unexpected quarter while Thomas is stunned by a new challenge. Will these events bring them together or drive them apart?

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