Romantic Novelists' Association

The Oath By Patricia M. Osborne

17 November 2023

We are delighted that you could join us to talk about your new release. Could you tell us a little more about it? The Oath is a coming-of-age story set in the late Victorian era. It uses dual narrators in first point of view. Opening in France, 1895, seventeen-year-old Françoise is left with no choice but to abandon her carefree life and set sail for England, with her brother for company, to marry distant cousin Charles Dubois in order to fulfill a one-hundred-year-old oath made by their ancestors. If she refuses then her vulnerable parents risk the workhouse as they will become penniless.

On arrival to England, Françoise finds the bridegroom evasive and aloof. Lonely and missing home she befriends her cheery lady’s maid, Tilly, who is the second narrator.

The Oath takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster with its captivating story. Although heartbreaking, it is also uplifting, both of which may cause the reader to shed a tear or two.

Friendship, heartbreak and betrayal run throughout.

What was the inspiration behind your book? What prompted you to tell this story? Inspiritation was derived from my time as Poet in Residence at a local Victorian park in Sussex as part of my MA in Creative Writing. Here I studied the Montefiores who owned the mansion at that time. In 1897 Sir Francis, baronet at Worth Park, married seventeen-year-old Marianne Von Gutman. The marriage came to an end when Marianne returned home after a year but no one knew why. I wondered whether it had been an arranged marriage and decided to set my story in the same time period but chose a French bride and a fictional Hall in Kent. The one-hundred-year-old oath was an idea that sprang in the early hours while unable to sleep.

What is your writing day like? I’m not like a lot of writers who challenge themselves to write so many words a day. My days starts with marketing and networking on Twitter, setting up any guest author features on my blog, and critiquing works from my online writing forum or other writers I work with.

I don’t normally start my own writing until after lunch at the earliest but sometimes it may not occur before evening. It depends on how many interruptions I get throughout the day and how much housework and cooking that get in the way.

Once my writing time begins the first thing I do is go over the last three chapters of my work in progress and warm myself back into the story. Some days I may not get any further than layering and editing up those last three chapters, and other days I may not get to the chapters at all, but instead work on poetry.

As long as I’ve managed some kind of writing then I’m happy. If I’m not allowed to step into my fictional world with my characters I find I become lethargic.

Without giving too much away, what was the hardest part of the book to write? Definitely the heartbreaking scenes. I initially skimmed over them, only to be told by my critique buddy to go back and show in more detail. That the reader would want to see it all. Because I write in first person and become my character, when rewriting these sections I cried my eyes out feeling Françoise’s pain. This happened each time I re-wrote and proofed the sections but then as Robert Frost said, ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.’

What was your journey to publication? Prior to 2017 I had only published short stories and poetry. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be writing a novel, never mind publishing. After writing House of Grace (my debut novel) as a screen play for my BA creative writing module I felt I could convert it to a novel. It then sat in my computer archives for more than three years. It was only when I visited Swanwick Writers’ Summer School for the first time in August 2016 and became inspired by other delegates’ books in the bookroom that I made a pact that my book would be in that room in 2017. I came home, dug the file out of the archives, added another few thousands words, sent it to my editor and between us we came up with a new draft. I arranged for a cover designer and formatter, bought myself a batch of ISBN numbers under my own imprint White Wings Books and published my debut novel House of Grace in March 2017.  It took five years from starting to write the novel to publishing. By 2021 House of Grace was a trilogy, and in July 2023 The Oath was published.

Can you tell us what you are working on now? At the moment I’m working on a couple of poetry projects along with the sequel to The Oath as well as a time travel novel which is something completely new to me and has really taken me out of my comfort zone. ‘The Girl in the Ticket Office Window’, working title, was prompted by a an old photograph of my local train station as it was in early Edwardian era. It made me wonder what it would be like to go back to that time. The female protagonist is an editor for a women’s magazine and by chance is transported through a portal back to the early 1900s. Like all my stories it has a family and friendship theme with elements of romance.

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About the Author

Author patricia osborne pictured with her book, the oathPatricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. In 2019 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing. She is a published novelist, poet and short fiction writer with six poetry pamphlets published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, and numerous poems and short stories appearing in various literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Taxus Baccata, was nominated for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award.

Patricia has a successful blog at featuring other writers. When Patricia isn’t working on her own writing, she enjoys sharing her knowledge, acting as a mentor to fellow writers.

House of Grace

The Coal Miner’s Son

The Granville Legacy

The Oath

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 Poetry: Signed Limited Editions –