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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

Meet the Author: Ben Lyle Bedard

Today I am delighted to welcome author, Ben Lyle Bedard to Books, Life and Everything to talk about his writing life and his latest post apocalyptic novel, The World Without Wings, which is published on June 1st 2020.

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Ben.  Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer? 

Sure, I’m from rural Maine, a little town called Buckfield. I started reading very young and always wanted to be a writer and produce my own books. I went to college to learn more about writing and ended up moving across the country, ending up in a PhD program in Buffalo. That’s where I met my wife, who was a Fulbright scholar from Chile. I followed her back to Chile where we both live now, by the ocean in La Serena. 

What are you interests apart from writing?

I really like to read, of course. I also enjoy drawing and mathematics, although I’m not very good at either!

Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.

The World Without Flags is about a young woman who must travel across a post apocalyptic landscape, using her wits to survive. Fundamentally, it’s a story about hope and love.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?  

This is a difficult question, but a very good one. I tend to do a lot of research and planning for my books. Each book seems to have its own demands. It’s difficult to know how much, but I tend to know when enough is enough, and it’s time to start writing. In the process of writing the first draft, it’s pretty common that I have to stop and go back to research when I hit a spot that I’m uncertain about, and that I really need to get right. In this sense, writing a book is constant research, and it never really stops until you’re happy with the final draft.  

Were there any scenes which you had to edit out of your book which you still hanker after?
Great question! There was a scene in my latest book, The World Without Flags, that I wrote and liked, but it just stopped the flow. In the cut part, my main characters all do a scene from King Lear that really makes sense as the book goes on. I liked it, but, in the end, it just seemed out of place and maybe a little too much on the nose. It slowed the rhythm and it just didn’t feel like it belonged. So out it went. But I do think about it.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?
Names! They are the bane of my existence! I really hate finding names for my characters. Sometimes the names do naturally come, but more often, I have to do some web surfing to help me. For example, in this book, the lead character’s name I got from looking at regional web pages where she was born. When I saw the name, I was like, yes! That’s it! But names. They’re very difficult for me.

Are there any secret references hidden in your books?

Yes! One of the games I play on my family, my father, in particular, is that I put in some detail that only he will understand. It might be a name or some story that he used to tell or some detail from his life, that might even be embarrassing. I don’t tell him about it. I like to think about him reading the book and coming across these references. It’s very funny, but I’m afraid none of the references would make any sense to anyone outside my family.

Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned? 

Right now, I’m writing a fantasy book about people trying to tunnel under a wall to freedom. I’ve just started it after a long period of research, but I’m very excited to be writing in that genre for the first time in many, many years.

Thanks so much, Ben and good luck with your writing!

About the Author

Born in Buckfield, a rural town in Maine, Ben grew up reading Tolkien, Stephen King, and Charles Dickens. When he went to college at the University of Maine at Farmington, he published his first piece of fiction in the local college journal. While in Buffalo, New York, he met his future wife, Fernanda Glaser, a Fulbright scholar from Chile. To meet the requirements of her scholarship, she had to move back to Chile, and Ben followed her. They were married a year later, under crimson bougainvillea. He is currently living by the Pacific Ocean in La Serena while he researches and plans his next book.  

You can follow Ben here: Blog   |  Twitter   |  Instagram 

Book Spotlight- The World Without Flags

 Ten years after a plague of parasitic worms nearly wiped out humanity, the worm mysteriously re-emerges and infects the community of a young woman, Birdie. Alone in a world paranoid of infection, she must use all her wits to survive and protect the man who raised her. More than a post-apocalyptic story, The World Without Flags is a story of loyalty and determination, a story about fathers and daughters, about love and what we will do for it.  

Book links: Amazon US   |  Goodreads 


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