When I was growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, the term “the three R’s” referred to reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” … which never made sense to me since two of the words didn’t actually begin with an “R”.
As an author of vintage historical romance (pre-1970), I prefer to think of the three R’s as Rock and Roll and Romance … the absolute perfect combination! My ten-novella series, The Golden Decade of Rock and Roll, spans the decade between 1955 and 1964 with each story based on a Billboard Top 10 song for the corresponding year.
When outlining the series I first chose the song titles from each year, based on a romantic title. Then, after playing the songs through a few times, I let both the lyrics and the events of the chosen year lead me to a plot.
The first book in the series, “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing”, (The Four Aces) is the story of Korean War widow Marnie Shelton. A chance encounter with the man she’d met at the worst moment of her life leads to a new friendship and eventually convinces Marnie to trust and love for the second time around.
“Once on a high and windy hill, in the morning mist, two lovers kissed and the world stood still. Then your fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing ….” How do these beautiful lyrics NOT scream romance?
Books 2 & 3, “Love Me Tender” (1956) and “Wake Up Little Susie” (1957), also embraced portions of their respective song lyrics. Although with “Wake Up Little Susie”, I played to the comical strength of the song as much as the romantic side and featured a time-traveling heroine who wakes up fifty years in the past and falls in love with a younger version of her elderly, highly respected, professor.
The fourth installment in the series, “April Love” is scheduled for worldwide release in early February, and available now through Amazon. I used Pat Boone’s amazing lyrics to support the time-honored romantic entanglement of a marriage-shy architect boss and his overly-efficient private secretary. The last line of the song, “so if she’s the one, don’t let her run away” sums up the entire concept of a Happily Ever After to perfection.
Over the next couple of years, I’ll complete the series with songs from 1959 through 1964. While all will have the predictable romantic overtones, I do intend to have a little extra fun with Martha and the Vandella’s “Heat Wave” and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. If you’re a fan of the “oldies” and sexy romance, I invite you to try out this fun and well-reviewed series of novellas.
If you were employed in the 1950s, what profession do you think you would have followed?
A Giveaway! I will draw a name from those who comment and give a $5 gift card from the online book retailer of their choice.
Eleanor Martin is every company’s dream employee. She arrives early, stays late and never misses a day. If it weren’t for Eleanor’s skill as a private secretary, her architect boss would never make a deadline. Not only does she keep him on track, she runs interference between him and his over-bearing mother, his deadbeat brother, and the half dozen or so women who want to bed him and/or wed him.
When Jess Norton acquires a new client who asks him to build a palatial hideaway on Grand Cayman Island, Jess is certain he’ll never be able to complete the multi-million dollar job without the help of his efficient secretary. Despite her reservations, he convinces Eleanor to accompany him on the assignment of a lifetime.
The sun and the sand cast the perfect spell for romance. But will the tides turn in the opposite direction?
“I didn’t hear you come in,” Eleanor said, as she followed her boss into his office.
He chuckled, the timbre of his voice sinking into her subconscious. There were many things about her boss’ life she’d learned to ignore, or at least accept. His deep, sexy voice wasn’t one of them.
“You were too busy discussing pastry with our new receptionist.”
Eleanor met his teasing gaze and broad grin. “She’s inquisitive, and very bright.”
“And now she knows everything there is to know about pastry in the workplace.” He removed his suit jacket and handed it to her before adding, “As long as she can answer the phone without hiccupping in the client’s ear, I’m happy.”
Eleanor did her best to control an outright laugh. “Yes, that was definitely a problem. I can’t imagine wanting to be a receptionist if you panic every time the phone rings.”
“Whatever happened to…what was her name? Clarice?” he asked. “Did you let her go?”
Eleanor shook her head. “I transferred her to the mailroom.”
“Good for you. I hate to see anyone out of a job.” Reaching for the telephone he asked, “Has my sainted mother called already this morning?”
“Yes. She thinks you’re angry with her and don’t want to speak to her.”
Looking up until their gazes met, he rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I don’t know where she got that idea. No wait. It might have something to do with the fact she arranged another blind date for me.”
Eleanor quickly covered a smile with her hand and pretended to cough. “She worries about you.”
“Worrying is one thing. Arranging a date with one of this year’s debutantes is ridiculous. Hell, I’m nearly old enough be the girl’s father.”
A quick, and thoroughly unwanted, picture flashed through Eleanor’s thoughts. Jess Norton surrounded by a bevy of evening gown clad debutantes, each of them doing their best to snag a rich, influential businessman. “If you check the engagement announcements in the newspaper, it seems most well-established businessmen prefer to marry gently-raised, properly educated younger girls.”
“Not me. I prefer my women a bit more on the experienced side.”
April Love is available on Kindle at Amazon.com
Bio: Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
You can find Nancy at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004AOL61Y
3 thoughts on “The “New” Three R’s !!! – Guest Post by Nancy Fraser, Author of April Love”
I thoroughly enjoyed April Love and the memories the story invoked. Even though I was just a kid at the time…I remember all the songs.
If I’d been employed in the 1950’s, I’d have been an airline stewardess or a nurse. I simply ate up those Cherry Ames novels, and there were other girl books about a stewardess–though I can’t remember the heroine’s name right now.
Since I was there, I love this whole premise!
Thanks to both of you for posting. And, Liz, I know what you mean. When the editor commented on how realistic my facts were I told her it was simple … I was there!