A Poignant Anniversary: the Armistice of World War I

Every village in France has its war memorial, the lists of names a sad litany of those “morts pour la France”. The longest rollcall by far is that of World War I. Few families were spared the tragedy of deaths, sometimes multiple, injuries and enduring mental scars. More than a century later, the memory stillContinue reading “A Poignant Anniversary: the Armistice of World War I”

Doorways to the Past

I’m delighted to be involved in Ocelot Press‘s latest venture: Doorways to the Past, a collection of historical short stories and character interviews from five Ocelot Press authors, will be released on 30th July 2020. There’s something for all historical tastes in here. Sue Barnard, myself, Cathie Dunn, Nancy Jardine and Jennifer C. Wilson haveContinue reading “Doorways to the Past”

The Unofficial Truce of Christmas 1914

As Christmas approaches, we’re moving to the end of the Historical Writers Forum December Blog Hop. This has included a lot of fascinating posts by fellow historical fiction writers on the theme of Christmas in past times. Today, it’s my turn, and I’m focusing on one of the strangest happenings during World War I. “There,Continue reading “The Unofficial Truce of Christmas 1914”

Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month

  “But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you areContinue reading “Eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month”

D-Day: the Beginning of the End

Today marks the anniversary of D-Day, 6th June 1944, the Allied invasion of German-occupied France. Down here in SW France, the weather is equally damp today, but perhaps not quite as cold and windy as it was on that significant day back in 1944. The decision to go or not to go that Eisenhower hadContinue reading “D-Day: the Beginning of the End”

True Inspiration for Fiction #5: the Ghosts of World War I

At 11 am on this day in 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Ninety-nine years later, none of the combatants in that terrible war is alive, but the memories still echo down the years. In France, where I live, the smallest village has its war memorial. Often, several men with the same surnameContinue reading “True Inspiration for Fiction #5: the Ghosts of World War I”

True Inspiration for Fiction #3: Plague!

The plague first made an appearance in 1347-48, when a catastrophic and unstoppable pandemic swept through Western Europe. In four years, the population of 14th-century Europe plunged by an estimated 33-50% and its civilisation changed forever. The figures are debated, but as many as 150 million people may have died worldwide. The disease spread acrossContinue reading “True Inspiration for Fiction #3: Plague!”

Book Cover Design: the Story of French Collection

  When people buy a book, their choice depends on many factors: recommendation, a favourite author, a catchy title, a genre they like and so on. The cover also has a big influence on book buying. For that reason, instead of exercising my minimal (no, zero) design skills on my forthcoming collection of short storiesContinue reading “Book Cover Design: the Story of French Collection”

True Inspiration for Fiction #2: Edgar Degas’ Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

Works of art can provide endless inspiration for fiction. The paintings alone, with everything they convey, would be muse enough. But sometimes the story behind the painting is just as enthralling. I have always loved Edgar Degas’ paintings and I was fascinated to learn the origins of ‘Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando’, whichContinue reading “True Inspiration for Fiction #2: Edgar Degas’ Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando”

True Inspiration for Fiction #1: the Christmas Truce 1914

“There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” This was the slightly bemused verdict of a British Tommy on one of the most extraordinary and poignant events of World War I: the Christmas truce of 1914. Up andContinue reading “True Inspiration for Fiction #1: the Christmas Truce 1914”