Hello again folks! The lovely Alexandra Martin joins me today with her answers to the 10 Question Blog Hop! If you love Downton Abbey and The Village, her book Daffodils should appeal. Being fond of a ghost story too, I can’t wait to read The Rose Trail when it comes out later this year. Over to you Alexandra …
1. What is the working title of your book or project?
I’ve got two books ‘out there’ at present. The latest one is called Daffodils and it’s set in Edwardian England just as World War One broke out. My first book is called The Twisted Vine and is based on my own experiences as a grape-picker during the French wine harvest back in the 1980s. My next one is already started and is called The Rose Trail, a ghost story set against the back drop of the English Civil War.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book or project?
I’ll tell you about Daffodils, my latest release. This was a slow burn! I lived in a village in Wiltshire and borrowed its geography for the book. There was an old guy, called Harry, who lived in skid row – the terrace of tiny cottages we lived in – next to us. He had a wooden leg from an old injury working on the railways. Harry was nearly 100 years old and a great talker. He told me about how taps finally arrived in the cottages in the not too distant past. Initially there was only a pump on the village green, then standpipes at the end of the row of cottages, then a tap to be shared between two back doors and then, finally in the sixties, each cottage got a sink with its own tap! I was captivated by this and the germ of an idea was born. We caught the end of an era when we lived there in the 1980s and it was where our children were born. I wanted to capture the era I could see would pass with Harry, who still rented his cottage from the local landowners, in a feudal, timeless way.
3. What genre does it fall under if any?
Historical fiction with a bit of romance, and some military background from the battlefields of WW1. It could also be seen as a bit feminist!
4. If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I always find this a hard question! Katy could be portrayed very well by Keira Knightly; Jem by James McIvoy and Lionel by Christian Bale. I must remember to give them all a ring. I know they are waiting to hear from me!!!
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?
Showing the impact of the First World War on everyday people living ordinary country lives and how it shook up society values on class, gender and other values forever.
6. Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Would you believe ten whole years?
8. What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?
Birdsong covers similar ground and left a big impression on me but only after I’d finished Daffodils. I was pretty annoyed that Downton Abbey also covered this era and stole my thunder and now The Village is doing the same. Downton is a bit lightweight and The Village is too miserable. I hope Daffodils strikes the right balance.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book or story?
Old Harry, cited above but also when I started to write about his era and read the research I was so moved by the sacrifice and courage of that generation, particularly the women (and you don’t hear of them so often), that I felt compelled to tell their story, in the best way I could.
10. What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?
Anyone who loves history and learning how people managed country life before electricity, cars and information technology should be interested in the detail shown of Edwardian life. Also I did a lot of research on the conditions of the soldiers in the British Expeditionary Force, and the way they were treated really shocked me. And any woman who wants to know how we evolved from being drudges and became independent people in our own right will find Katy’s journey in to the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps fascinating. I did when I researched it and had no idea how involved and resourceful these women were.
This is a link to my blog where I post about my writing experiences and works in progress. Reviews are also posted here. And blog posts from other lovely authors too!
Daffodils follows the varying fortunes of three people through the turbulent time of the First World War, as Edwardian England’s rigid class structures crumble under its weight. Katy is frustrated as a domestic servant and longs to escape. Jem loves Katy but cannot have her. Lionel, fresh …
Every journey is an adventure. Especially one into the unknown. The shocking discovery of her lover with someone else propels Roxanne into escaping to France, and seeking work as a grape-picker. She’s never been abroad before and certainly never travelled alone. Opportunistic loner, Armand, explo…
The Next Authors with exciting books to tell you about are:
Malika Gandhi who has written 3 books and published them on amazon:
Rakesh’s Story, Freedom of the Monsoon and Where The Secret Lies.
Prue Batten who is the author of the Gisborne Saga and many other best selling books.