The world was crumbling, but her love stayed strong
November 1915. For young housemaid, Anwen Rhys, life is hard in the Welsh mining village of Dorcalon, deep in the Rhymney Valley. She cares for her ill mother and beloved younger sister Sara, all while shielding them from her father’s drunken, violent temper. Anwen comforts herself with her love for childhood sweetheart, Idris Hughes, away fighting in the Great War.
Yet when Idris returns, he is a changed man; no longer the innocent boy she loved, he is harder, more distant, quickly breaking off their engagement. And when tragedy once again strikes her family, Anwen’s heart is completely broken.
But when an explosion at the pit brings unimaginable heartache to Dorcalon, Anwen and Idris put their feelings aside to unite their mining community.
In the midst of despair, can Anwen find hope again? And will she ever find the happiness she deserves?
1. Do you always take a book/ereader wherever you go?
Normally I keep a book of some sort in my bag, especially if I’m going on the train somewhere. It could a factual research book as well as a fictional one.
2. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
That’s an interesting question. I think either way I’d be a little nervous about how they might portray me! It would be more exciting, maybe, to be the ‘bad one’, depending on what exactly I was getting up to. Being an international jewel thief, for instance, might be quite exciting!
3. Where can I find you when you are reading?
All over the place. At night in bed, in the evening sitting in the living room. If I get an hour or two off during the day, I like to sit with a book in the garden if it’s warm, or if not, in the café of a local garden centre.
4. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Quite often in the garden, especially in the warmer months, as I enjoy gardening and find it relaxing. Under normal circumstances, I love to go for walks around National Trust properties and local parks, or visit museums and galleries in London. During lockdown I’ve been learning Welsh and taking walks in the local woods and meadow.
5. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
No! I love bookshops of all sorts, but particularly independent and secondhand ones, where you can often find something a little different.
6. What are you most proud of?
In writing terms, I’m most proud of Heartbreak in the Valleys, which has taken a lot of research and work.
Outside of writing, I’m most proud of my four children, who’ve all been successful in different ways, especially since two of them have had to cope with dyslexia and dyspraxia.
7. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
When my first book came out, a DC Thomson pocket novel called Danger for Daisy, it was disbelief that it had actually been published that went through my mind. There’s been a sense of amazement for everything I’ve had published, including the short stories. Seeing Heartbreak in the Valleys available online to order is surreal and I have to metaphorically pinch myself.
8. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read books on writing, join a class, get involved with the writing community. Don’t give up. But if something is constantly rejected, look at why that might be and take on board any critiques or advice. Don’t get upset about it – it’s not personal. Onwards and upwards!
9. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
My great gran, Mary Jones, who was my mum’s mum’s mum. She was living in the village of Abertysswg, on which my village of Dorcalon is based, in World War 1. She’d have been able to give me a good insight into life back then. She was ninety-seven when she died and in my life for twenty-nine years, yet I never thought back then to ask her. What a lost opportunity! She has a cameo role in ‘Heartbreak’ as herself. I hope she’d approve!
10. When and where do you prefer to write?
I like to get a good head start in the morning. If I’ve got a deadline looming I’ll often write till nine o’clock at night, but prefer writing in the daylight hours.
As for where, at the moment I’m in the dining room as I can see the garden from here. The table is also a lot larger than the desk in my study, so I can spread out my notes and research.
Thank you for your questions, I’ve enjoyed answering them.
Thank you, Francesca Capaldi and Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
About the author
Several years ago, Francesca Capaldi pursued a childhood dream and joined a creative writing class. Lots of published short stories, a serial, and three pocket novels later, she’s now explored her mother’s ancestral history for a novel set in a Welsh colliery village. A history graduate and former teacher, she hails from the Sussex coast but now lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrissian.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heartbreak-Valleys-emotional-romantic-courage-ebook/dp/B087FX94S8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=28YMYICGNPLRO&dchild=1&keywords=heartbreak+in+the+valleys&qid=1591174766&s=digital-text&sprefix=heartbreak+in+the+va%2Cdigital-text%2C172&sr=1-1