In 1960, Stuart founded the Romantic Novelists' Association with Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, and others; she also was the first elected Chairman.
Violet Vivian Finlay was born on 2 January 1914 in Rangoon, Burma (now also known as Myanmar). She was the daughter of Alice Kathleen (née Norton) and Sir Campbell Kirkman Finlay, the owner and director of Burmah Oil Company Ltd., whose Scottish family also owned James Finlay and Company Ltd. The majority of her youth was spent in Burma and India, and during her life, she frequently journeyed between Rangoon, Singapore, Java and Sumatra.
Finlay married three times during her lifetime, and had four children: Gillian Rushton, Jennifer Gooch, and twins Vary and Valerie Stuart.
Finlay studied medicine at the University of London and obtained a pathologist qualification at the University of Budapest in 1938, after which she emigrated to Australia with her second husband, a Hungarian Doctor with whom she worked. In 1942, she obtained a diploma in industrial chemistry and laboratory technique at Technical Institute of Newcastle. Finlay joined the Australian Forces during World War II and was attached to the IVth Army. She was later transferred to British XIV Army in Burma.
On 24 October 1958, she married her third husband, Cyril William Mann, a banker.
Violet Vivian Mann died in August, 1986, at age 72. She continued writing until her death.
She published her first novels in 1953, as Vivian Stuart, one of her married names, and using her most prolific pen name Alex Stuart. Under these pen names and as: Barbara Allen, Fiona Finlay and Robyn Stuart, she wrote romance novels. She used the pen name of V.A. Stuart to write two military sagas, "Alexander Sheridan Saga" and "Phillip Hazard Saga". She used the pen name of William Stuart Long to write the popular historical series: "Australians".
Many of her romance novels were protagonized by doctors or nurses, and set in Asia or Australia. The novel, "Gay Cavalier" (Alex Stuart) caused trouble between Vivian and her Mills & Boon editors. Vivian featured a secondary story line featuring a Catholic male and Protestant female who chose to marry. This so-called "mixed marriage" touched many peoples nerves in the United Kingdom at the time.
The "Australian Series" is factually and historically accurate. Much historical research went into this series. With extensive research from The Mitchell Library Sydney; The National Maritime Museum; British Public Records Office and the New York Public Library. A number of fictional characters and narrative were added due to the series being written in novel form.
Vivian Stuart’s Books on Amazon: Vivian Stuart
Alex Stuart’s Books on Amazon: Alex Stuart
William Stuart Long’s Books on Amazon: William Stuart Long