Ulf is like a storm, slowly building up its power, he grows more dangerous with each passing moment. And like all storms, he will eventually break. When he does, he will destroy everything in his path.
Ulf is one of a long line of famous Norse warriors. His ancestor Tyr was no ordinary man, but the Norse God of War. Ulf, however, knows nothing about being a warrior.
Everything changes when a stranger arrives on Ulf’s small farm in Vikenfjord. The only family he’s ever known are slaughtered and the one reminder of his father is stolen — Ulf’s father’s sword, Ormstunga. Ulf’s destiny is decided.
Are the gods punishing him? All Ulf knows is that he has to avenge his family. He sets off on an adventure that will take him across oceans, into the eye of danger, on a quest to reclaim his family’s honour.
The gods are roused. One warrior can answer to them.The Son of Anger.
Even as a young child, Donovan loved reading stories about Vikings and other medieval warriors fighting to defend their homeland or raiding in distant lands. He would often be found running around outside with nothing other than a wooden sword and his imagination.
Now older, he spends his time writing about them. His novels come from his fascination with the Viking world and Norse Mythology and he hopes that you will enjoy exploring this world as much as he did writing about it.
Born in South Africa but raised in England, Donovan currently works as an English tutor and when he is not teaching or writing, he can be found reading, watching rugby, or working on DIY projects. Being born in South Africa, he is a massive Springboks fan and never misses a match.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Tony Bassett, author of Murder on Oxford Lane, to the blog with a post about the inspiration for his book.
Much of the inspiration for my books comes from the wide variety of experiences I’ve had as a journalist.
I worked for local newspapers for six years and then spent 37 years in Fleet Street, mainly working for the Sunday People newspaper.
I’ve seen so many different aspects of life. I was once smuggled into judge’s chambers at the Old Bailey to test their security. I pursued Margaret Thatcher round Epsom during a by-election. I was present in hospital when Diana Dors’ husband Alan Lake announced to the world she had died.
I got Mandy Smith’s sister in Highgate to reveal to me details of Mandy’s plans to wed Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. I’ve been to armed sieges, celebrity weddings, and was in a magistrates’ court in West London when a Welshman took to the dock in a dazzling dragon costume. I’ve watched a group of students at Middlesex University being hypnotised by a dog and taken a fugitive gangster back to jail. So you could say I’ve seen a bit of life.
I have been able to use some of this knowledge to help with my writing.
I’ll give an example. In Chapter 22 of Murder On Oxford Lane, the wife of the missing property tycoon is reluctant to attend a press conference and walks out halfway through. This is based partly on a real-life experience I had one Saturday while working for the Sunday People.
I was despatched to a police press conference about a murdered man. His widow was reluctant to attend and walked out during the briefing. Afterwards the chief inspector spoke to me and another journalist, explaining: ‘You don’t realise how terrifying it can be for someone in this situation, being faced with a group of journalists in public like this.’ A short time after the press conference, the widow was charged in connection with her husband’s murder.
Another example comes earlier in the book. In Chapter 19, when Sunita Roy is trying to trace Harry Bowers’ cleaner, Tessa. A female neighbour reveals Tessa has moved house. Sunita questions the neighbour thoroughly. Eventually the neighbour recalls that Tessa’s removal van was purple. As a result, Sunita is able to locate the removal firm and collect the new address from them. This was an initiative that a photographer and I once used to track down someone’s address.
A third example of how I have occasionally used journalistic experiences to add colour to the book comes towards the end of the novel when detectives examine suspects’ clothing. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has not read the book. Suffice to say the idea for this came to me years ago while I was covering an assault case at Cardiff Crown Court.
Of course, these kind of memories and past experiences are useful, but I also have to do some extensive research for my books as well. Much of this can be done online. For instance, I found a vast treasure store of articles on the internet about the effects of long-term immersion in water on drowning victims.
Information about personal injuries, hospital recovery times, martial arts moves, church procedures, police interviews and so on are all available at the click of a mouse.
But there are also occasions when it’s necessary to make phone calls. For instance, to speak to police about how particular incidents are dealt with. To speak to farming organisations about farming methods. Or to speak to fire brigade staff about the minutiae of how a particular fire might be tackled. Occasionally, authors also have to make visits to organisations or places to add to their supply of information.
I know fiction writing is based on imagination. But, like non-fiction writers, novelists still need to ensure their work is firmly grounded in reality. The author needs to be able to walk in the shoes of his or her characters. And the plot needs to be credible.
Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck with your new book.
Here’s the blurb:
The peace of a Midlands village is upset when local businessman Harry Bowers doesn’t return from choir practice. More concerned than the man’s own wife, it would seem, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Sunita Roy becomes convinced he has met a sinister end. There is no trace of the man – just a litany of evidence of an ailing marriage and a nose-diving business venture. In charge of her first serious case, DS Roy will struggle to win the respect of her colleagues – in particular, her Brummie boss, DCI Gavin Roscoe. All that whilst fighting off the attentions of an increasingly desperate suitor.
Who had it in for the chorister? And is Roy tough enough to break down the defences and prejudices of Middle England? MURDER ON OXFORD LANE is the first book in a series of crime fiction titles by Tony Bassett.
Tony Bassett, a former Fleet Street journalist, has written a gripping series of crime novels set in the Midlands.
The first book in the series is called Murder on Oxford Lane. Published by The Book Folks, it concerns the disappearance of a property tycoon from a sleepy Warwickshire village.
Middle-aged DCI Gavin Roscoe and his relatively inexperienced sergeant, DS Sunita Roy, are confronted by suspicious deaths as they struggle to uncover what has happened to the businessman.
The second book in this Midlands crime series, The Crossbow Stalker, will be released shortly.
Tony decided to set this string of novels in Warwickshire and Worcestershire after spending many happy years working as a newspaper reporter in Worcester.
He first developed a love of writing at the age of nine when he and a friend produced a magazine called the Globe at their junior school in Sevenoaks, Kent.
At Hull University, Tony was named student journalist of the year in 1971 in a competition run by Time-Life magazine and went onto become a national newspaper journalist, mainly working for the Sunday People in both its newsroom and investigations department.
His very first book to be published, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway, was released in December 2018. It concerns a Kent couple who harbour a stowaway and then battle to clear his name when he is charged with murder.
Then, in March 2020, the spy novel The Lazarus Charter, was released. It involves foreign agents operating in the UK. The book has kindly been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and by Stan and Caroline Sturgess, parents of the innocent mother-of-three poisoned with novichok in Salisbury in 2018.
Tony, who has written at least four other novels which are as yet unpublished, has five grown-up children. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. He lives in South-East London with his partner Lin.
Michael Hollinghurst is a successful corporate lawyer living a comfortable, suburban life in leafy North West London. But on 7 July 2005, his life is transformed when he steps on a London underground train targeted by Islamist suicide bombers. While most passengers in his carriage are killed, Michael survives the explosion but is confined to a wheelchair as a result.
Coming to terms with his predicament and controlling his own feelings of guilt as a survivor conspire to push him in a direction that is out of character and a tad reckless. In a quest to seek retribution, he resorts to embracing the internet and posing as a radical Islamist in order to snare potential perpetrators.
Much to his surprise, his shambolic scheme yields results and is brought to the attention of both GCHQ and a terrorist cell. But before long, dark forces begin to gather and close in on him. There is seemingly no way out for Michael Hollinghurst. He has become, quite literally, a sitting target.
Alex’s first novel ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, a darkly humorous urban fantasy, written for children and young adults, was initially published by PenPress in 2011. It has since become a Kindle bestseller in the US. In 2014, his fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War was published by Mardibooks in its anthology, ‘The Clock Struck War’. A selection of his blog posts is also available in paperback under the title ‘Random Ramblings of a Short-sighted Blogger.’ In 2019, his psychological thriller, ‘The Chair Man’ that is set in London in 2005 following the terrorist attack on its public transport system, was published as an ebook by Fizgig Press. The paperback followed in 2020.
Alex lives in NW London with his wife and terribly spoilt feline.
He is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.
Back to face the darkness at the heart of Cornwall.
In the search for her sister, Willow will face deception and betrayal, before she’ll find love – and herself. But will she uncover how close the enemy is, or will she become another victim of the Badlands?
Gary Kruse is a multi-genre writer of flash fiction, short stories and novels. He lives with his family in Hornchurch on the Essex/London border.
He began writing as a teenager after seeing the Craft in the cinema and wondering what would happen if the coven of witches from the Craft came face to face with the Lost Boys (the vampires, not Peter Pan’s crew!).
His work has appeared online and in print anthologies and his short story “Mirror Mirror” was shortlisted in the WriteHive 2021 Horror competition, and subsequently featured in the “Duplicitous” anthology.
His short story “Hope in the Dark” won first place in the November 2021 edition of the Writers’ Forum Short Story competition.
His debut novel “Badlands” is published through Darkstroke on 21st January 2022.
I’ve been reading Catherine Coles previous series for a while now. I do love a Golden Age mystery novel, so I was really pleased to see she was becoming a fellow Boldwood Books author, and that there was going to be a new series as well.
Here’s the blurb:
With the war finally over the residents of Westleham village are trying to reclaim a sense of normality and the upcoming village show is proving to be a popular event!
Newcomer, Martha Miller, has high hopes for the village show. Since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, some of the villagers have treated Martha with suspicion – why would a good man like Stan simply up and leave? Was it something Martha did?
All Martha knows is that she’s hoping that she can win people over and hopefully they’ll but her delicious homemade plum gin, too and she’ll be able to make ends meet.
But as glasses of Martha’s gin are passed around, disaster strikes. Alice Warren, Chairwoman of the village show slumps to the ground after taking a sip. It’s clear she’s been poisoned!
Martha is shocked, but not surprised, when fingers of suspicion once again point her way. Determined to prove her innocence, Martha sets about trying to find the real culprit. But who would kill Alice and why?
Ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker, Martha quickly tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. But with the villagers closing ranks it quickly becomes apparent that the only person with a motive is Martha herself….
Will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it’s too late?
Here’s my review
Poison at the Village Show is a charming mystery set in a small village in the years after the Second World War, featuring Martha Miller, her sister Ruby, and the new vicar, Luke Walker.
I’ve already read all of Catherine Coles Tommy and Evelyn books set in the aftermath of World War I and love the depictions and the characters of Tommy and Evelyn. Fans of those books will not be disappointed with Martha, Luke and Ruby. They are all excellent creations and make for an engaging read.
The story really gathers pace as it continues, and the ending is both satisfying, and I confess, slightly unexpected for me. It’s always good not to guess who the real perpetrator was.
I really look forward to reading more of this series and returning to the charming village of Westleham with its cast of eclectic busy-bodies in the years after the war when a sweet cup of tea is the solution to everything.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.
The daughter of a military father, Catherine was born in Germany and lived most of the first 14 years of her life abroad. She spent her school years devouring everything her school library had to offer! Catherine writes cosy mysteries that take place in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in 1920s North Yorkshire. Catherine lives in northeast England with her two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!
Today, David Fitz-Gerald is going to share with me the process he went through to write Waking Up Lost.
Brainstorming Waking Up Lost
The idea for Waking Up Lost came from a brainstorming process. It’s kind of like planting a row of seeds in the garden. They don’t all germinate. Some get pulled out to leave room for the ones that have a better chance of surviving. As they grow, a lot of weeds have to be pulled.
I don’t recall the premise for Waking Up Lost coming in a single, cataclysmic inspirational moment, but rather as a wondrous evolution. I made a list of supernatural, paranormal, and otherworldly premises, then after eliminating other possibilities, selected this one. I thought it would be fun for readers to imagine what they would do if they found themselves transported to some perilous place.
I like to write fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. I use that phrase like a mission statement. My Adirondack Spirit Series is an epic, multi-generational family saga. Each book stands alone. What they have in common are ancestry, the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, surviving in nature, and supernatural tendencies that just seem to run in the family. The common ancestry includes the Native American people that inhabited New York state before colonization.
When I finished writing She Sees Ghosts, I thought about what should follow that book, featuring an empathic medium named, Mehitable, set in 1799-1816. As that book ended, the recently widowed mother of a toddler was expecting a second child. What supernatural tendencies should her children possess? That’s where my brainstorming list came in.
Waking Up Lost is the story of a young man raised by a single mother in a newly formed woodland town in 1833. One morning, he wakes up miles from home at an isolated lake where his mother once met his father. A few nights later, he is transported in his sleep to the bedroom of the meanest man in town’s daughter. Another night, Noah awakens in a storm on the peak of a mountain. Just when Noah thinks that he has found a solution to his problem, he awakens on a depraved scow, and its captain forces him to lead mules along the banks of the Erie Canal. Will he find a way to break free from captivity and escape the horrible plans the captain has for him at the end of their journey?
Caught in a Trance, set in 1849, is the story of Noah’s brother, Moses. He has the ability to blast through the air, from one location to another, and yet nobody notices when he does so, even when it happens right before their eyes. Moses also discovers that he can hypnotize people. What happens when Moses becomes addicted to hypnosis and mesmerizes himself? I hope to publish this story in the summer of 2022.
Some ideas are so good, it is hard not to return to them. It is tempting to imagine more adventures for Noah. Maybe I should make a list of different places I’d like to jettison him off to and see if he can make his way home, yet again.
Or maybe I’ll go in a completely different direction. I wonder whether I’ll pull anything else from that list of ideas.
I’d like to think I could just work on one thing at a time, but these little book babies all seem to have their own needs. One needs to be planned, another needs to be written, a third requires editing, this one is setting off to find its way in the world, and the ones that came before still require attention now and then. But I think my favorite part is planning and plotting new stories to develop.
So, I’ll keep brainstorming and see what else I can come up with. Thank you for your interest in Waking Up Lost!
Thank you so much for sharing and good luck with all your writing plans.
Here’s the blurb:
Traveling without warning. Nights lost to supernatural journeys. Is one young man fated to wander far from safety?
New York State, 1833. Noah Munch longs to fit in. Living with a mother who communes with ghosts and a brother with a knack for heroics, the seventeen-year-old wishes he were fearless enough to discover an extraordinary purpose of his own. But when he mysteriously awakens in the bedroom of the two beautiful daughters of the meanest man in town, he realizes his odd sleepwalking ability could potentially be deadly.
Convinced that leaving civilization is the only way to keep himself and others safe, Noah pursues his dream of becoming a mountain man and slips away into the primeval woods. But after a strong summer storm devastates his camp, the troubled lad finds his mystical wanderings have only just begun.
Can Noah find his place before he’s destroyed by a ruthless world?
Waking Up Lost is the immersive fourth book in the Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like coming-of-age adventures, magical realism, and stories of life on the American frontier, then you’ll love David Fitz-Gerald’s compelling chronicle.
David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.
What better way to celebrate, nearly, two years of Coelwulf and his pals, than with a blog tour to showcase all of the books in the series (to date – I’m currently working on book 7).
What started as a bit of mad idea in The Last King has become a series featuring a cast of warriors (and horses) that my readers love reading about, and about who I love to write. Not to mention inspiring the prequel series – which begins with Son of Mercia – and tells the story of a very young Icel.
To celebrate all of this, I have three, yes three, paperback copies of the short story collection, Coelwulf’s Company, to giveaway to readers. They’ll come signed and dated, and to anywhere in the world. To enter, just follow this link to Rafflecopter, where it’ll ask you to follow me on Twitter, and you should be entered. I’ll get in touch with the winners at the end of the giveaway, which I hope is midnight on 18th March 2022 (if I’ve set it up correctly). Good luck with the prize draw and do let me know if there are any problems.
Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter. I do hope you enjoy reading.
Excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter by Sofi Laporte:
In the middle of the London season, Lady Ludmilla gets herself entangled in a hopeless muddle: she has fallen in love with her best friend, and that cannot be. Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lady Ludmilla does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…
Dear Addy, my dear friend,
Oh, how I miss talking to you. For our letters have always been conversations, haven’t they?
For the first time, I wish you were here so we could really talk.
I am so confused.
I miss you terribly.
I feel that there is no person on earth who understands me as much as you do.
Yet, I feel this confusing longing for someone who you may know very well.
It is St Addington.
He is a terrible rake. And a terrible flirt. And I should cut him out of my mind immediately. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about him. And here I am, in the middle of the night, writing this letter like a love-sick schoolgirl.
Oh, Addy, I fear the worst has happened.
I fear I have fallen in love with him.
But he is to marry someone else.
What to do?
What to do?
I wish you were here to advise your distraught friend,
Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter is a mistaken identity, enemies-to-lovers Regency rom-com with some surprising twists and lots of laugh-out moments.
Here’s the blurb:
A resolute spinster. An irresistible rake. One accidental letter… Can love triumph over this hopeless muddle in the middle of the London season?
Lady Ludmilla is mortified. Though the spinster extraordinaire knows it is foolish, she has fallen head-over-heels for the amiable man with whom she’s been secretly corresponding, and that cannot be. When she sets out to uncover his identity, her world shatters. For her best friend Addy turns out to be none other but London’s worst rogue—the man who has ruined her engagement to someone else ten years earlier.
Lord St.Addington is perturbed. The wicked Viscount is developing a marked tendre for a spinster, and that cannot be. She might be mistaking him for someone he is not, or, what is worse, know precisely who he is. As London’s worst hellrake, he has a role to maintain, a charade to play. A depraved heart like his surely can’t be falling in love…least of all with a plain, outspoken spinster.
Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lu does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…
If you crave a humorous romp with witty banter and surprising twists, you will love Sofi Laporte’s charming masquerade.
Sofi was born in Vienna, grew up in Seoul, studied Comparative Literature in Maryland, U.S.A., and lived in Quito with her Ecuadorian husband. When not writing, she likes to scramble about the countryside exploring medieval castle ruins. She currently lives with her husband, 3 trilingual children, a sassy cat and a cheeky dog in Austria.
Sofi writes sweetly simmering Regency Romance with mischievous, witty banter and heart-throbbing happily-ever-after.
The SeeMs Agency detectives, employed in 2019 to discover if Anastasia murdered her first four husbands before she marries the fifth, are following any leads they can find. They discover that the first husband lived and worked in the Shetland Islands in 1987 and Cat, the lead detective, goes there to investigate. As she interviews people who were working on the oil rigs at the time, she finds that Shetland in 1987 was a very different place from the modern island it is today.
The forty-knot wind forced the November downpour into harsh curtains that reversed into spray guns as they hit the tarmac. Inside the Scatsta Airport hut, a young boy looked intently out into the maelstrom. Weather like this was not unusual in Shetland, but why was the helicopter flying out to the oilrigs tonight? What could be so important that they needed to fly in a storm?
Yes, even the best pilots got caught out, but Clement was better than the best. He was infallible.
Peering out into the fading light, the boy rubbed the pane automatically, willing the visibility to improve. Clement will be back, he told himself, his leg tapping up and down in a curiously constant rhythm. Ignoring the goosebumps growing on his arms and legs, his eyes searched the sky, but there was no sign of the helicopter.
The airfield cat rubbed itself against his leg. The boy reached down and stroked it; his gaze still glued to the horizon.
‘Don’t worry Cashy,’ he told the cat, ‘he’ll be here soon. He’s the best pilot in Shetland. And he knows the helicopter and the weather like … like … like you know which cat food is best.’
The cat gave a soft meow and the boy smiled.
‘Sorry, Cashy, are you hungry? We’ll just wait a bit more.’
Then, through the crashing cascades and howling wind, the boy recognised the whoop whoop beat of Bolkow blades. His whole body shuddered and then relaxed.
‘See, Cashy,’ he said. ‘I told you Clement would be OK. I told you he was the best pilot in the world.’
The cat rubbed itself on his leg, purring. The helicopter nosed out of the rain curtain, arcs of steam around its blades reflected in the hangar lights. The boy grabbed the cat and ran like a gazelle, his clothes immediately saturated by the downpour, arriving at the heliport ready with the trolley just as Clement landed.
Measuring the moment to drive the trolley under the helicopter’s belly, the boy’s heart gave a jolt of surprise. Clement was not alone in the helicopter. The boy recognised the people with him and knew it was against regulations.
Why? Clement never broke the rules. He would lose his licence if he was caught, and for Clement flying was life. What could Clement and his passengers have been doing that would be worth risking his licence, and potentially his life, for?
Here’s the blurb:
Is murdering husbands an addiction or merely a bad habit?
This is the question facing Private Investigator Cat Harrington when rich builder, Tom Drayton, dies shortly after his wedding night. Suspicion falls on his widow, Anastasia Rodriguez, the survivor of three previous ‘lost’ husbands.
Two years later, Anastasia is engaged again, to Cat’s friend Angelo, an Italian snail collector.
Angelo’s sister, Gia, employs Cat and the SeeMs Detective Agency to discover if her brother’s financé is a killer.
The search for Anastasia’s lost husbands takes Cat and her team from Scotland to the South of Spain and on to Argentina.
They have just a few weeks before the wedding to discover if Anastasia is a murderer and save their friend from becoming victim number five.
For fans of Arsenic and Old Lace and The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Gina has worked as a physiotherapist, a pilot, freelance writer and a dog breeder.
As a child, Gina’s parents hated travelling and never went further than Jersey. As a result she became travel-addicted and spent the year after university bumming around SE Asia, China and Australia, where she worked in a racing stables in Pinjarra, South of Perth. After getting stuck in black sand in the Ute one time too many (and getting a tractor and trailer caught in a tree) she was relegated to horse-riding work only. After her horse bolted down the sand, straining a fetlock and falling in the sea, she was further relegated to swimming the horses only in the pool. It was with some relief the racehorse stables posted her off on the train into eastern Australia to work in a vineyard… after all what could go wrong there?
In the north of Thailand, she took a boat into the Golden Triangle and got shot at by bandits. Her group escaped into the undergrowth and hid in a hill tribe whisky still where they shared the ‘bathroom’ with a group of pigs. Getting a lift on a motorbike they hurried back to Chiang Rai, where life seemed calmer.
After nearly being downed in a fiesta in Ko Pha Ngan, and cursed by a witch in Malaysia, she decided to go to Singapore and then to China where she only had to battle with the language and regulations.
Since marrying the first time, she has lived and worked in many countries including Spain and the USA.
For a few years Gina was a Wingwalking pilot, flying, amongst others, her 64-year-old mother standing on the wing to raise money for a cancer charity. She was also a helicopter instructor and examiner and took part in the World Helicopter Championships in Russia and the USA.
She became a writer because her first love was always telling a good yarn!
Under the name Georgina Hunter-Jones she has written illustrated children’s books such as The Twerple who had Too Many Brains, and Nola the Rhinoceros loves Mathematics.
She now lives in Sussex with her husband and dogs, one of who inspired the Biscuit and Pugwash Detective Series about naughty dogs who solve crimes.
The Mystery of the Lost Husbands is the first in the SeeMS Detective Agency series and Gina’s first crime novel for adults.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Adrienne Chinn to the blog with a fascinating post about the role of photography in her new book, Love in A Time of War.
Photography plays an important role in Love in a Time of War, the first of three books in The Three Fry Sisters series. In this novel, Gerald Fry, the three sisters’ father, runs a small family photography studio in south London, where he spends his days recording the lives of the local community. Gerald has followed his father, Frederick Fry, into the photography business, and embraces the creativity his profession provides him, even becoming a court photographer for King Edward VII early in his career. His love of photography is shared by his eldest daughter, Celie, whom he trains as his assistant. He encourages her to take the photographs of the steady stream of soldiers wanting portraits to send to their families, despite the fact that the idea of a professional female photographer is considered by many to be odd in the extreme. When Gerald recognises Celie’s talent, he gifts her with a new portable camera and encourages her to explore the world around her and develop her creative “eye”.
For both Addy Percival in The Lost Letter and Celie Fry in Love in a Time of War, photography provides them with the opportunity to experience the world in unique ways and to become self-actualised women. For photographer Addy, she decides to visit Morocco to take photographs for her first photo exhibition, and finds herself deeply involved with an Amazigh family in the Morocco mountains; for Celie, photography is the path through which she grows as a person as her skills lead her to a job as a photojournalist for a London newspaper where she ends up documenting the lives of Londoners during the war years.
I have been fortunate to be exposed to photography from an early age through the albums kept by my great-grandfather, Frederick Fry, who was himself a court photographer for King Edward VII, with one of his tasks being travelling around Britain to record the towns and villages of the day. My great-grandmother, Caroline, often joined him on these adventures, and shows up quite regularly in his photographs, for instance, a country bridge in Ecclestone Glen, or under the shade of trees in a bluebell wood in Sussex. My grandfather also photographed his family quite regularly, and it’s because of him that I have so many wonderful photographs of my grandmother, Edith, and her sister May and brother Fred, as well as my grandmother Caroline and his second wife, Cecilia.
It seemed inevitable, as I sat down to draft out the structure of Love in a Time of War, that one of the main characters would be a photographer, given how key photography has been in my own family’s history. I have always found these portrait photographs of the late 1800s and early 1900s so evocative; if eyes are the window to the soul, then photography opens the window for us in a way that paint can’t quite capture. For a novelist like me, these images send out an invitation to explore and once more bring to life the lives of people who still have things to tell us if we only stop and listen.
I have included a few of my great-grandfather, Frederick Fry’s photographs which helped me reach back and recreate an era that ended long before I was born.
1. My great-aunt, Ethel May Fry, known as May.
2. My grandmother, Edith Adelaide Fry Chinn, in 1904 at the age of 20.
3. My great-grandfather, Frederick Fry, the photographer.
4. My great-step-grandmother, Cecilia Fry.
Thank you so much for sharing such a fascinating post about your new book. Early photographs are so interesting. I’ve just been given one of my great-grandmother from the 1910s. Good luck with the new book.
The Great War
The end of innocence…
In 1913, in a quiet corner of London, the three Fry sisters are coming of age, dreaming of all the possibilities the bright future offers. But when war erupts their innocence is shattered and a new era of uncertainty begins.
Cecelia loves Max but his soldier’s uniform is German, not British, and suddenly the one man she loves is the one man she can’t have.
Jessie enlists in the army as a nurse and finally finds the adventure she’s craved when she’s sent to Gallipoli and Egypt, but it comes with an unimaginable cost.
Etta elopes to Capri with her Italian love, Carlo, but though her growing bump is real, her marriage certificate is a lie.
As the three sisters embark on journeys they never could have imagined, their mother Christina worries about the harsh new realities they face, and what their exposure to the wider world means for the secrets she’s been keeping…
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer writing, she often can be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk. Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — was published in June 2020 and has become an international bestseller. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. Her latest novel, Love in a Time of War, set during WWI, is the first in a series of three books based around the changing lives of three English sisters and their half-Italian mother, with a timeslip to 1890s Capri and London.