Meet My Main Character from My Novel ‘The House at Zaronza’

Jagged landscape of Corsica
Jagged landscape of Corsica

Today, I’m taking part in a blog hop for historical novelists, entitled ‘Meet My Main Character’. I was tagged by fellow writer and Writers Abroad colleague Dianne Ascroft who wrote about her main character last week.

Dianne is a versatile writer. She has already self-published a novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, that follows the fortunes of a young German boy in Ireland in World War II. She writes short stories and has published a collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves. Dianne also ghost writes memoirs, writes articles for magazines and is heavily involved in her local writing group.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Maria Orsini, a young Corsican woman. I have made up the name but this person did exist, although I have clearly invented her character and the things that happen to her. She’s not a famous historical figure.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story starts in 1899 and moves through the early 20th century to World War I and beyond. Parts 1 and 2 are set in Corsica. Part 3 is set mainly at the Western Front in World War I, where Maria goes to nurse, but the story ends in Corsica.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Maria is an only child, the daughter of a bourgeois family living in a village on the Corsican coast. A new schoolmaster comes to the village and he and Maria fall in love. But they have to conduct their relationship in secret, since Maria’s family would not approve. They write to each other and leave their letters in a secret letter-drop. In real life, some love letters were found walled up in an attic in a Corsican house, which provided the inspiration for the story.

At the beginning of the story, Maria is a rather self-centred, naïve young woman. As the story unfolds, her character develops, and her innate capacity for organisation and her ability to confront adversity take over.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Maria wants to marry her schoolmaster but her parents have other plans for her. They want her to marry a cousin to keep the family possessions together. Her plans to avoid this are thwarted by circumstances and by the actions of someone close to her.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

At the beginning of the novel, it is simply to lead a more interesting life and escape the deadening boredom of life with her parents in the village of Zaronza (an invented name). Later on, she engages in a quest to recapture her lost love.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

‘The House at Zaronza’, which will be the title on publication, too. I’ve listed some posts below that tell you more about it. Watch this space for more details or look at my Facebook page.

7) When can we expect the book to be published? 

It will be published on Tuesday 29th July by Crooked Cat Publishing. There’s an all-day launch party on Facebook. Stop by and say hello on publication day – you might win a surprise!

The House at Zaronza was reissued in April 2018. You can read more about it or purchase a copy in your Amazon store.

I’ve tagged a fellow Crooked Cat author, Cathie Dunn, who will post about one of her main characters on Monday 26th May, so keep that date in your diary. But do go along and have a look at her blog now. You will find it interesting and entertaining.

Cathie writes romantic, historical adventures ranging from medieval England and Normandy to 17th-century Scotland.

You might also like:

Corsica, l’île de Beauté
My novel, The House at Zaronza, to be published by Crooked Cat Publishing
The Next Big Thing – ‘The House at Zaronza’

River Restonica near Corte
River Restonica near Corte

Copyright © 2014 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved


  1. Your title reminds me of a book I read a long time ago called The House on Mango Street. I don’t remember what happens in that book (I had to read it for school) but it had nothing to do with illicit love affairs in Corsica or WWI. Can’t wait to read your book! Will it be available in e-book format?


  2. I am so looking forward to reading this Vanessa – Corsica has always fascinated me, and I have yet to visit the island. but I think your character is going to help bring Corsica to life in my imagination. Thanks for posting!


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