Three friends …
Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.
Two Secrets …
Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.
One Hidden Life …
How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?
Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.
When and where do you prefer to write?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog.
I’m very much a morning person and so I write mostly between 6 am and midday. When writing a first draft I only work in my study, sitting at my desk. If I don’t, I end up with achy hips! As a rule, after around two in the afternoon, I’m only good for editing words that are already on the page and find it very difficult to write new ones. Afternoons and evenings is the time I do my research, either on the internet or reading around my subject using non-fiction books.
Do you have a certain ritual?
On writing days I get up, flick on the computer, go downstairs, have coffee, let the dog out so he can bark a lot and annoy the neighbours, and then I pad back upstairs and plonk myself in front of my computer. It’s been a ritual for a while now that I always leave the previous day’s work to end, literally, mid paragraph; I do this so that the next day I’m not stuck as to where to start – trying to avoid that horrendous feeling of, where do I begin?
Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
Very sweet tea and water. And cheese. I love hunks of cheese.
Oh, and a huge glass of white Rioja, but I do try to wait until after 11am for that.
What is your favourite book?
I have a few favourite books and I keep them all on one special bookshelf. On my bookshelf now I see several Kate Atkinson’s, a Maggie O’Farrell, a Kate Morton and an Anna Hope novel, plus three of Sebastian Faulks’ books. I love the work of John Irving and Margaret Atwood. My favourite book of all time is DH Thomas’ The White Hotel.
Do you consider writing in a different genre in the future?
Actually, I write in another genre already! My debut contemporary thriller, Falling Suns by JA Corrigan, was published in 2016. Although my first love is writing stories set mostly in the past, which I think is connected with my passion for history (I have a BA in modern history) and enthusiasm for reading non-fiction history books and biographies of the late and great from the past. There is so much rich story material to be found in history. The challenge of writing historical fiction is using that rich source material in a compelling and engaging way.
I have begun work on a new book recently, a speculative thriller, although it’s very early days for that one, but I’ll be going back to it when I’ve completed my current project, which is my next dual timeline historical novel.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I’m sure that, subconsciously, I use small aspects/traits of people I’ve encountered within the characters I create; but my characters are powered by my imagination, especially the deeper emotional parts of their psyche. I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s very fragmented parts, and from a wide range of people, which might eventually become the solid elements of one of my fictitious characters.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I’m really bad at remembering my notebook when out and about. I often forget to transfer it from one handbag to the other! When I do that, I use the Notes on my iPhone, or the back of an old receipt loitering inside my bag! If I have a strong idea though, I remember it; and if I don’t then I figure it wasn’t important!
Which genre do you not like at all?
I can’t say there’s a genre I really dislike, but I don’t like fiction that blatantly and insensitively exploits and distorts for no good reason, or at the expense of the story.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Margaret Atwood or Sebastian Faulks. I would learn so much! Realistically though, there are several authors I know with whom I’d love to co-write a book.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
South America – Peru, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela … as I’ve always wanted to visit and haven’t done so yet, and somewhere deep inside my brain – and a notebook – is a story set there.
Thank you, Jules Hayes and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.
Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.
Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.
Twitter @JulesHayes6 – http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6
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Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at:
Twitter: @juliannwriter – http://www.twitter.com/juliannwriter
Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan – http://www.facebook.com/jacorrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann http://www.instagram.com/corriganjulieann