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The Next Big Thing

Last week I was tagged by Laurie Gilbert to take part in The Next Big Thing. This is a viral blog chain which apparently you ignore on pain of death!! So here I go answering the questions …

1 What is the working title of your next book?

2 Where did the idea come from for the book?
It follows on from my previous three Lavender Road novels – the original idea was suggested by Rosemary Cheetham at Orion who to publish a wartime series set in London. We had a brief wrangle about where it was to be set (she wanted it to be in the East End of London, but I managed to convince her that Clapham in South London was an equally (or perhaps even more) interesting area!) She then commissioned me to write the three book series, which was great.

3 What genre does your book fall under?

4 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d choose Dan Stevens (Mathew from Downton) for Ward Frazer, Dani Harmer (brilliant on Strictly) would make a great Molly Coogan, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) would be perfect for Helen de Burrel, and I think Ryan Gosling could play André Cabillard. Emma Thompson would be fab as Celia Rutherford, Jenna-Louise Coleman (from Dr Who) would make a wonderful Jen Carter and how about challenging Meryl Streep to play Jen’s mother, Joyce?! Any other suggestions gratefully received!

5 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
As the war enters its fourth year the people of Lavender Road long for peace, but instead they find themselves right up against it, challenged by privation, love and unexpected danger.

6 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m not sure yet. Previously, for my physical books, I have been represented by an agent (A.M. Heath) and published by a big publisher (Orion). But when the digital revolution began I decided to set up a small publishing imprint (TSAP) to publish eBook versions of my novels myself. These have done so well I may well decide to go on down that route.

7 How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I haven’t finished it. It will probably take at least six months.

8 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
William Boyd, Wendy Robertson, Freda Lightfoot, Sebastian Faulks and Jack Higgins have all written great Second World War novels / family sagas, they aren’t the same but if you like them you might like mine and vice versa!

9 Who or What inspired you to write this book?
When I was first thinking about writing the Lavender Road series I was living in South London and had got to know quite a few people who had lived through the war years there. I was fascinated by their stories of the courage and resilience that people showed during those difficult years and thought I could weave some of them into a wartime street saga. The success of the first three books in the series has encouraged me to write LONDON CALLING, set in 1943.

10 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My readers seem to love with my characters. I try to make them as ‘real’ as possible so the reader can engage with them and experience their highs and lows. Most of the old favourites will feature in this next novel – Jen Carter, Katy Parsons, Helen de Burrel, Joyce Carter (and of course the gorgeous Canadian Ward Frazer) – but I will also be taking up the story of the young nurse Molly Coogan who has only had a small role in the previous novels. Exhausted by her relentless wartime routine and compelled to live with an awful secret, she longs to get away, only to find when her wish is granted that she has jumped out of a very calm frying pan into a tumultuous and life threatening fire.

Thanks for reading! I am now passing The Next Big Thing baton onto my friend and up and coming writer Natalie Lloyd Evans … at http://www.wordyhood.com and her connected blog http://natmegevans.wordpress.com

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2 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

  1. Hello Helen,how exciting that you have a follow on to the Trilogy.I have read them all twice and see something new in them each time.You have a real gift in your portrail of each character,one can easily forget we are reading fiction,they come off the page as real people,this is indeed a gift.
    I have lent each book to family and friends,(those I could trust to return them) and they have frequently asked me if there was any possibility that you would write about the characters live’s after the war,hence i have a number who can’t wait for this book to come out.
    I do hope it will be in print for those who do not have an electronic book,otherwise
    I will be in serious difficulty in prioritising who should borrow my kindle first.!!
    after I have read it of course.!
    Don’t stray far from your computer to walk the dogs etc,leave that to your husband Marc.!oops!! .so we need not wait to long.

    • Thanks so much for these lovely comments! Yes, there is indeed another one on the way, although it will take me some time to complete. And I am very happy to take your advice – I’ll leave all the chores to Marc while I write!

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