Friday, 16 February 2018

Creating historical characters:

Characters for historical fiction are created in the same way as for any other genre, i.e: with a major characteristic or trait, but must be made relevant and connected to the period in which they live. Don’t judge the past by modern standards. Balance your characters with good points and a flaw, which could lead to them making them a mistake about their decision in life and for which the reader will feel sympathy or admiration for them. Always remember the historical mindset. To make characters believable, they must act as if they are contemporary to that time and place. For instance, they might not know that a war is looming even if the reader does. Anything they are planning might have a poignant threat of hope and interest but possible devastation to it. So long as their motivation is clear and the world in which they exist is a living breathing place, the reader will accept attitudes and actions they never would in their own. It helps to read contemporary novels of the period if you can, to get the feel of behaviour, problems and concerns, attitude and speech. And you naturally have to put words into their mouths, so carefully check the language of that period.

Some characters of the less salubrious kind if it’s a gritty historical, could be guilty of prejudice, prostitution, cruelty or whatever, for which the reader will feel no respect. We live in a world with certain demands of political correctness and moral requirements. Our society disapproves of prejudice and bigots, racialism, chauvinism, sexism, provincialism. Remember your characters are people of their own times who may accept some of these issues. You must allow them to act according to their own standards, not yours. Don’t pass judgment on them by making excuses or being dismissive. Don’t apologize for their mistakes and don’t attempt to make them all into free thinkers who are ahead of their times. You have to be able to see the story from their perspective, even if it offends you. And if they are more of a villain to a mistaken hero, they’ll pay the cost for their dreadful behaviour.

Should you use real historical figures? A novel about a famous historical figure may feel quite exciting and good to write. However, can the facts of their life be changed and fiction added? Can you have a woman marry if in reality she actually remained single or was captured and threatened? Could your hero live in Scotland when he never left London? Are you free to change these characters and the way they lived, simply because they are dead? It is essential that you make it plain that you are adding fiction to the story of your chosen historical figure. You’re saying - What if she was able to free herself/marry/live elsewhere, survive, or whatever. Wouldn’t that have been better for her? Sometimes you are short of knowledge and have to guess what she did and why, so make that clear too. The concern is, do these historical people or their descendants still have rights? In theory they do, but if it suits the story you are writing to give them a safer or more interesting life, make sure that you do it well. Do it badly and the critics will slay you as being inaccurate, sloppy & anachronistic.

A less well known figure may seem easier to write about but not as interesting. But using real historic figures can be difficult and inflexible, making you feel constrained by the facts and details you can’t find an answer to. Readers too have their own perception of these real historical figures, sometimes wrong ones. If you feel it might be a problem to develop them in a way to suit your story, it could be much more fun to be imaginative and create your own historical figures. You could instead use genuine ones as secondary characters. In the end there are no set rules. It’s up to you.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Evacuation Of Children in WW2

It began the first day of September 1939 due to the threat of bombing. Parents were expected to pay 6s per week. Those who were not so well off were charged less and assisted by the government and people taking in evacuees were paid around eight shillings or as much as sixteen, according to the age and needs of the children. Billeting officers helped find them foster homes. Some sent out by Operation Pied Piper at the outbreak of war, involving over a million children being moved to the countryside within just a few days. More were sent in 1940 when the phoney war was over and bombing really started.

Indication of the official return was sent out in May 1945 but permitted until the war was completely over in the east. Not all children chose to come when instructed to do so. Megan, in Peace in my Heart, much preferred to stay with the landladies she thought of as their kind and caring aunts, having lived with them for three years. This was very often the case. Some children hardly recognised their parents, looking and feeling like strangers, not having seen them for years. This was often because they had little memory of their parents, felt they’d been neglected and abandoned, or simply loved their surrogate parents more. Coming home often didn’t seem much fun.

The parents were devastated when they found little show of affection from the children they’d badly missed. And many had lost loved ones for whom they were grieving. In this story Cecily and Megan discovered that their home had been bombed and had no idea where their mother was living, or even if she was still alive. Evie was, but finding her children was equally difficult, as was locating a new place for them to live. And when they found them, would they ever agree to come home and would they still their mam and dad?

Settling in with their family after years away was never easy and adjustments had to be made by all. For some the place they’d been living during the war had been exciting, and they found it difficult to return to their previous life they considered more boring. Their personality too had changed as they’d gradually grown up with caring people in a different area. However, if they’d suffered problems as an evacuee, perhaps been overworked, neglected or abused, they ceased to trust anyone. Sometimes their class or religion could be considered wrong by their surrogate parents. Whatever problems they suffered could result in them feeling rife with stress and anxiety, depression or obstinacy. Nor had they any wish to discuss these problems with their parents, once they returned home, not wishing to recall what had happened. Evacuation had saved lives but in many cases did create yet more problems for the family.

 
The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 


Available in WH Smith and other good books shops, also online:

Amazon UK

Amazon US 


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Bumper Saga Novel Give-Away Competition!

Bumper Saga Novel Give-Away Competition!
How would you like to receive this bumper list of SIGNED books from your favourite saga authors just in time for Christmas?

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER!

For your chance of winning complete the title of this popular Charles Dickens novel: 'A Christmas _ _ _ _’ Then post your answer below, along with your name, and share.

                              The competition ends midday on 8th DECEMBER

Follow your favourite saga authors on Twitter with the hashtags #SagaSaturday & #LoveSagas

Authors taking part:

AnneMarie Brear
Isabelle’s Choice
Ebook, Paperback

Will the choices she’s made ruin her?



 

AnneMarie Brear
To Gain What’s Lost
Ebook, Paperback

She thinks her life has changed for the better, her dark secrets hidden, but little does she know…



 
Felicity Dwyer
When Blossoms Fall
Paperback, Ebook
For Matti life has not been easy, brought up through the hardship of war and the heartbreak of the loss it brings was difficult enough without her own physical challenges. Matti steadfastly refuses to accept less from life and with the strength and protection of her friends she faces head on the bitter past and secrets that threaten her happiness. Gladys has a physically abusive father that destroys her trust in any man and decides that marriage is definitely not for her. Ada is a feisty young lady who achieves her dream of being a fire-fighter but at what cost.

Elaine Everest
The Woolworths Girls
Paperback, Ebook, Audio
Pan Macmillan
Amazon link
It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship. Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realise that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

Elaine Everest
Christmas at Woolworths
Paperback, Ebook, Audio
Pan Macmillan
Amazon link
Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?
As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . .
With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?


Marion Fellows
Bridie McMahon
FeedARead.com Publishing
Ebook, paperback
Amazon link
At the turn of the twentieth century Ireland is in the throes of depression, work is scarce and families are starving. Michael McMahon makes the decision to emigrate to England but his vision of a new life is ephemeral. Blighted by the squalid conditions that his family are forced to endure, it is with a heavy heart that he sends his daughter Bridie to work in service as a scullery maid at Oldfell Hall. Will the splendour of this ancestral home erase her memory of the squalor of Baldock Court...or will the young Irish girl's naivety be her downfall? Along with his wife, Mary and young son, Jamie, he watches as the carriage takes her away to face an uncertain future.
Romance, love, tragedy and heartbreak make this a compelling read. You will experience every emotion as you follow Bridie's sometimes traumatic journey culminating at the end of the First World War.



Fiona Ford
The Spark Girl
Ebook, Paperback, Hardback
Orion
A knock on the door early one morning shouldn't be cause for concern but it is 1941, Britain is at war, and Kitty Williams's fiancé is far from home fighting Hitler with the Navy.
As her heart is shattered hearing the news she had been dreading, Kitty becomes more determined than ever to do her bit for the war effort.
Signing up to the Women's Army is just the sort of challenge Kitty needs but when bombs start to fall on her home town of Coventry, and allies turn against her, Kitty must find the strength she never knew she had to save her family, fix her broken heart and help her country to victory.

Jean Fullerton
Pocketful of Dreams 



Paperback, Ebook

Corvus 



Amazon link
It's 1939, and the Brogan family of London's East End are ready to
show Hitler what for. But things don't seem so rosy when rationing,
evacuation and air-raids start to put this larger-than-life family to the
test.
When a mysterious young man arrives at the Brogans' local parish church, he
provides just the dazzling distraction they need - and for eldest daughter
Mattie, the promise of more than she'd ever wished for. But as the pair fall
deeper in love, they are drawn into secret dangers, rife on the very London
streets they call home.
As the young couple race to protect the East End as they know it, can their
dreams survive the darkening backdrop of war-time...?

Annie Groves
Winter on the Mersey
Paperback, Ebook
Harper Collins
The phoney war is over and Hitler’s bombs are raining down on the city of Liverpool.Rita Kennedy is forced to face some unpalatable truths about her husband, Charlie. But she must still play the part of dutiful wife, while her childhood sweetheart, Jack Callaghan, has shown her nothing but kindness. Can they keep a check on their emotions or will their friendship develop into something more?
For Kitty Callaghan, burying herself in her work distracts from the constant worry about her brothers. Tommy is back from his evacuee posting after falling ill, but now he faces danger in another guise. And what about Danny, always ducking and diving and up to no good? And then there’s Frank Feeny, the man she adores. Will they ever be together?
  
Rosie Hendry
East End Angels
Hardback, Paperback, Ebook
Little, Brown Sphere
 Strong-willed Winnie loves working at Station Seventy-Five but when tragedy hits she finds herself wondering if she's cut out for this life after all.
Former housemaid Bella has been building a new life for herself but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.
East-Ender Frankie's sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home and with her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?
Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London's East End during 1940, these different women soon realise that they'll need each other if they're to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

Emma Hornby
A Shilling for a Wife
Paperback
Transworld, Penguin Random House
A dismal cottage in the heart of Bolton, Lancashire, has been Sally’s prison since Joseph Goden 'bought' her from the workhouse as his wife. A drunkard and bully, Joseph rules her with a rod of iron, using fists and threats to keep her in check.
When Sally gives birth, however, she knows she must do anything to save her child from her husband's clutches. She manages to escape, and taking her baby, flees for the belching chimneys of Manchester, in search of her only relative.
But with the threat of discovery by Joseph, who will stop at nothing to find her, Sally must fight with every ounce of strength she has to protect herself and her son, and finally be with the man who truly loves her. For a fresh start does not come without a price . . .

Emma Hornby
Manchester Moll
Paperback
Transworld, Penguin Random House
Amazon link
Eighteen-year-old Moll Chambers works her fingers to the bone doing all she can to support her family. With an ailing father and a wayward mother, Moll is the only one who can look after her siblings, Bo and Sissy. Manchester is an increasingly dangerous place to live, overrun with a ferocious rivalry between gangs of so-called ‘scuttlers’. And they have her brother in their sights. Soon even Moll can’t protect Bo from the lure of the criminal underworld. Then the scuttlers looked her way.
When she falls for the leader of a rival gang, Moll’s choices place her and Bo firmly on opposite sides of the city’s turf war. With her loyalties now torn in two, and tragedy lurking round every corner, will Moll be able to rise above the conflict and protect those she loves the most?


Lizzie Lane
A Wartime Friend
Ebury Publishing
ebook, large print, audio and paperback
A little Jewish girl escaping persecution meets up with a guard dog who refuses to be vicious. The two of them are rescued by the husband of a woman who loves her home above everything else - relocation to an English village where their lives are made whole again.


Lizzie Lane
War Orphans
Ebury Publishing
ebook, hardback, paperback, audio, large print.

350,000 dogs and cats were destroyed during the first week of WW2. This is the story of a puppy who survived and his affect on an orphan, two lovers and a man struggling with bereavement.

Lynette Rees
Black Diamonds
Self Published
Available in Kindle and Paperback

One woman's brave heart.
It is a day of tragedy at the local coal pit just before Christmas 1865 that brings Lily Jenkin into contact with the new chapel minister, Evan Davies. Although a dark cloud of death passes over the village, Lily and Evan draw close to one another as they help the villagers deal with the tragedy. Lily has the opportunity to escape the valley of the shadow of death. Will she seize the chance to go to ‘Zion’, Great Salt Lake in America to follow her Mormon relatives, and more importantly, will Evan, a Welsh Baptist minister, go with her? 

Carol Rivers
Lizzie of Langley Street
Paperback, hardback, Ebook, Audio
Simon & Schuster

Eastender 15-year-old Lizzie Allen is facing desperate times after World War 1, fighting the poverty and crime that threatens to ruin her family.'



 
Kate Thompson
Secrets of the Singer Girls
Paperback, Ebook, Hardback, Audio
Pan Macmillan
1942. Sixteen-year-old Poppy Percival turns up at the gates of Trout's clothing factory in Bethnal Green with no idea what her new life might have in store. There to start work as a seamstress and struggling to get to grips with the noise, dirt and devastation of East London, Poppy can't help but miss the quiet countryside of home. But Poppy harbours a dark secret - one that wrenched her away from all she knew and from which she is still suffering . . .
And Poppy's not the only one with a secret. Each of her new friends at the factory is hiding something painful. Vera Shadwell, the forelady, has had a hard life with scars both visible and concealed; her sister Daisy has romantic notions that could get her in trouble; and Sal Fowler, a hardworking mother who worries about her two evacuated boys for good reason. Bound by ties of friendship, loyalty and family, the devastating events of the war will throw each of their lives into turmoil but also bring these women closer to each other than they could ever have imagined.

Mary Wood
Brighter Days Ahead
Paperback
Pan Macmillan
Molly lives with her repugnant father, who has betrayed her many times. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen the harsh realities of life . . . When she’s kidnapped by a gang and forced into their underworld, her future seems bleak.
Flo spent her early years in an orphanage, and is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could be everything she never knew she wanted.
Will the girls' friendship be enough to weather the hard times ahead?


#SagaSaturday GOOD LUCK AND DONT FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON TWITTER #LoveSagas