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Archive for the tag “VICTORY GIRLS”

Four questions

Tregwynt

Tregwynt Mansion

Tomorrow I will be joining three other authors for a Writers’ Forum at Tregwynt Mansion in Pembrokeshire. As well as talking about our books, part of the format is that we each answer pre-set questions, so I thought it might be a good idea for me to answer mine here on my blog as a kind of practice for the actual event. Apologies to anyone coming to the event, but I promise there will be lots of other chit-chat too!

Question One: How long does it take you to write a book?

My contract with my publishers, Headline (Hachette), gave me a year to write each of my Lavender Road novels. That included research and editing. And I have to say it was a push. I probably take three months to research and to create my characters and to work out the plot. I am a very careful plotter because I hate editing. I don’t see the point of writing thousands of words only to cross them out later. So I make sure my story and my story structure works before I start. Not every detail of course, but I make sure I know where I am going, what the ending will be. Actual writing time is perhaps six months, working 10am – 7pm every day.  And then I step away for a couple of weeks before going through the manuscript once or twice more for adjustments and tweaks, and to make sure it works as a story.

Question Two: How did you get published?

I was working as a management consultant, running courses in various British Universities. I was driving down the motorway one Friday after a particularly gruelling week and I said to myself ‘I’m sure there was something else I wanted to do with my life.’ I remembered that I had always had an ambition to be a novelist. Even as a child I had written pony stories, but somehow real life had got in the way. So I began writing – mostly rubbishy stuff , it takes time to learn how to create a page-turning novel – and after a while I was shortlisted for a new writers’ award. That led to my getting an agent. When we first met I had talked to her about an idea I had for a novel starting at the end of the Second World War, so when an editor at a big London publishers asked her if she knew anyone who might be interested on writing a series set in world war two she immediately thought of me. As it happened I knew very little about the war, but I was so excited about the idea of writing a series I did a massive amount of research in about five minutes and created a story outline which seemed to do the trick. The publisher commissioned me to write three books, and so the Lavender Road series was born.

Question Three: How important is the cover?

I think it is really important. And it is an issue which I am finding particularly interesting just at the moment. Book publishers are really into branding. And they love to jump on a lucrative bandwagon. It is much safer for them to add a book into an existing brand than to take the risk of starting a new brand, or genre as they would probably call it.

My UK publishers have taken the decision to put my books into the wartime romantic saga genre even though my books aren’t really like many of the other books in that genre. So, to fit the genre, they have produced covers with pretty young women’s faces on the front and a wartime scene in the background. Romantic sagas form a huge market in the UK, especially in supermarkets, and my publishers feel this is the best way of achieving the highest number of sales.

In the US we have taken a different approach. My American covers, with their wartime poster style, are designed to be perhaps more middle of the road, more historical fiction than romantic saga, and to appeal to a wider range of reader, including men.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating of course. There is also a big difference between the paperback market and the eBook market. Time will tell how the books all do longer term. But as it stands today, four of my novels are in the top 100 historical fiction chart on Amazon US. So the American covers are doing something right!

Question Four: Which books have inspired you? Who are your Favourite authors?

I am an eclectic reader. Over the last couple of months I have read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Leopard, the Italian classic, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, a couple of spy thrillers, a Mary Stewart novel, and Eligible, the Pride and Prejudice pastiche, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I love beautiful or clever language, and compelling characters, but the books that most inspire me are books I can’t put down. My interest in story structure draws me to writers who can keep me hooked from beginning to end. I also love it when readers contact me complaining that my books have kept them awake all night.

 

The Writers Forum will take place in Tregwynt Mansion, nr Fishguard, Pembrokeshire at 7.30 on Thursday 26 July.

Helen Carey’s latest novel is Victory Girls, the 6th novel in the Lavender Road series. It is out now out worldwide as a Kindle eBook. The paperback will follow in October.

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The final moment has come

victory girls show card + me in france

UK edition

And so the final moment has come! VICTORY GIRLS, the sixth and final book in my Lavender Road series, is published today. In hardback in the UK and as eBooks in the UK and USA. The Audio versions will follow very soon, and the paperbacks later in the year.

I can hardly believe that after writing over a million words, I have finally brought the series to an end. And although everyone is asking for more, I really do think a million words is enough! The series starts in 1939 just as the Second World War began, and it finishes in 1945 on VE Day just as Victory in Europe is declared. I like the symmetry of it, six books over six years. And I very much hope all my readers will feel that I have brought the story to a satisfactory end. I will of course miss my long suffering characters, Jen, Joyce, Helen, Molly, Louise, Katy and Mr Lorenz (not to mention the ever gorgeous Ward Frazer, Henry Keller and André Cabillard!) but they will be there in print, and on our Kindles, for perpetuity, available for revisiting and rereading at any point.

me and us victory girls

US edition

So all I am going to say now is that I very much hope you enjoy VICTORY GIRLS, and hope that if you do you will post reviews and star ratings on Amazon and other social media or historical fiction groups. And, if you have time, for the earlier books in the series too! It really does help, and might even persuade me to write the next book!!!

 

VICTORY GIRLS is published by Headline in the UK and TSAP Books in the USA on 19th April 2018. (Click here to find it in your local Amazon store.)

It’s August 1944. Allied forces are finally making headway in Europe. But continuing rocket attacks on London are a chilling reminder that the war is not yet won. Victory may be just round the corner, but the fighting is far from over for the residents of Lavender Road.

 Sweeping from London to France and on into Germany as Hitler’s army begins to retreat, Victory Girls is full of emotion, excitement and suspense, which will hold readers on the edge of their seats.

  Praise for the Lavender Road novels:

 ‘A tale of ordinary people living extraordinary lives.’ Inside Soap

 ‘Told with real excitement and a passion for the foibles of character and behaviour.’ Andrew Rissik

‘I never got so involved in the lives of book characters as in this series of books.’ Amazon review

 ‘Helen Carey’s Lavender Road novels are written with a lightness of touch, an emotional integrity and an historical accuracy which has brought her respect from critics and readers alike.’  Louis de Bernières

 ‘Funny, poignant, emotional and un-putdownable!’ London Evening Standard

 ‘An incredible tale of bravery, love and trust. A must read.’ whisperingstories.com

Christmas Update

Hello and Happy Christmas to all my lovely readers and fans,

xmas xnoopy reading

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

As we are nearly at the end of the year I wanted to bring you up to date with all the latest news and developments about my books.

In the USA, all my current novels, including THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET (Lavender Road book 5), are already available as eBooks, and LAVENDER ROAD itself, and (very shortly) SOME SUNNY DAY, have now also been published as paperbacks. So do seek them out if you are looking for gifts for friends! The other books will follow these two into paperback over the next few months.

All five Lavender Road novels are also now available in the USA as audio books read by the wonderful British actress Annie Aldington, and are available from bookshops, libraries and on Audible.com.

In the UK, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET has just been released as a paperback, like the others, published by Headline Books.

All five books are also available as CD audio recordings in the UK from libraries or for sale from ISIS Soundings, but unfortunately not yet on Audible.co.uk.

Other UK news is that earlier in the year LONDON CALLING, the fourth in the series, was shortlisted for the RoNA Award, Best Historical Novel.

But the BIG NEWS is that coming on the 19th April next year (2018) in the UK and the USA will be the sixth book in the Lavender Road series, VICTORY GIRLS.

VICTORY GIRLS will sadly be the final novel in the Lavender Road series. It will bring the story up to the end of the war. It was a poignant moment for me when I typed the last few words. But I worked out that readers who have read all six books will, by the end of VICTORY GIRLS, have read over a million words about the characters of Lavender Road, and I felt that was enough!

The VICTORY GIRLS covers for each region have just been revealed. Pre-ordering is already available in the UK and will be available in the USA in the New Year.

Victory-Girls-1000x625px

USA Edition

victory girls

UK Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know many of you are eager to get your hands on VICTORY GIRLS and I’m sorry it is such a long wait but I hope you will feel that the wait has been worth it!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read them already, there are two other Helen Carey novels available, SLICK DEALS, a pacy, fun, contemporary thriller, and THE ART OF LOVING, a light, sexy romance set in Germany.

Wishing you a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a NEW YEAR filled with lovely things,

 

Helen Carey

VICTORY GIRLS

churchill ve dayToday is an exciting day for me because my publishers are announcing the title of my next novel.

It will be called VICTORY GIRLS.

VICTORY GIRLS will be the final book in my Second World War Lavender Road series.

The series started with the outbreak of war on the 3rd of September 1939 and, six books and a million words later, I have brought it to what I hope is a suitably celebratory close, at the end of VICTORY GIRLS, on VE Day, the 8th of May 1945.

I won’t give away the VICTORY GIRLS’ storyline here, but, suffice it to say, like its predecessors, it contains a good wartime ration of excitement, history, love and adventure, all combined with a light sprinkling of humour!

VICTORY GIRLS will be published in April next year (2018), and it is heartening (to me at least!) that interest in the Second World War seems to be stronger than ever.

You only need to look at current blockbuster film releases to see that. The recent film ALLIED with Brad Pitt had a massive budget (even though sadly it didn’t receive quite the success and publicity it deserved due to his marital breakup). And now we have two more huge films to look forward to, CHURCHILL and DUNKIRK.

Dunkirk featured in the first book of my series, LAVENDER ROAD itself, when one of the characters, at huge personal risk, takes his small river boat over the English Channel to help rescue the encircled British troops from the French coast.

Winston Churchill, always present in the background of the Lavender Road books, makes his first actual appearance in LONDON CALLING, as he lies ill with pneumonia in Tunisia at the end of 1943. He also figures in the upcoming VICTORY GIRLS, both at the Rhine Crossings, and in the VE celebrations.

Having covered almost the entire war in my six novels, I can imagine how Churchill (and everyone else) felt when peace in Europe was finally declared. In an odd way I feel as though I have vicariously lived through it all too! Not just Dunkirk, the Blitz, and subsequent relentless bombing of London, but also the trauma of evacuation, the fear for friends and loved ones, SOE operations in France, the sinking of the French fleet in Toulon harbour, torpedo attacks in the Mediterranean, the Sicily landings, POW camps, D Day, V1 and V2 rocket attacks, not to mention the day to day privations of rationing, shortages, love and loss, and the constant presence of danger.

But of course it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The aspect of my research that I found most amazing was the extraordinary courage, resilience, acceptance of adversity and gritty humour that people showed, people of all nationalities, and from all walks of life. And that’s what I have tried to show throughout the series, that when the chips are down people do what they have to do to survive, to cope, and to to overcome. I think we must all hope that some of the same attitudes of strength, tolerance and resilience will prevail today in our current troubled times.

 

 

Helen’s most recent novel, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, (Lavender Road Book 5) is now out in Hardback (UK) and eBook (UK AND USA). It will be published as a paperback on 19th October 2017.

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