With the paperback of London Belles, the first of my WW2 Holborn set series of books coming out, I'm getting both excited and apprehensive.
I'll keep everything crossed that you will love my 'belles' as much as I do.
In these books rather than write about various members of an existing family, I plan to write about four young women who will form their own 'family of friendship' which will help to support them through the difficulties that the war years bring them.
Every family needs a matriarch and mine for these books is Olive. I love Olive so much and feel as protective of her as she does of her four 'girls'; her own daughter Tilly, and her lodgers, Sally, Agnes and Dulcie.
London Belles opens just ahead of the formal announcement of WW2. We meet the girls, and Olive, and set off with them on their journey through the war years of their lives.
I've had tremendous fun creating the characters for these girls. They are all very different to one another; pretty Tilly whose mother Olive worries protectively about her while shy, quiet Agnes spent her early years growing up in an orphanage. Hard-working Sally, with her private unhappiness is very different from the street-wise Cockney Dulcie who is determined to 'better herself'.
If there is one thing I've learned whilst doing the research for these books it is that human emotions don't change, even if the dark days of wartime do add a sharp and sometimes painful edge and urgency to them.
As I write, I am smiling, imagining 'my girls' clustering together 'offstage' in a rustle. They're wearing their best Hammersmith-Palais-dance-frocks, gravy browning tanned legs, pin curled hair, all nervous giggles and whispers, as they wait excitedly to meet you and tell you about their lives.