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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: R O Neish #BookSpotlight


Today I am delighted to welcome author, R O Neish to Books, Life and Everything to talk about his writing life and his latest novel, Fight or Flight, which was published on May 15th 2021.The first in the Davy Stuart Trilogy, it is an historical adventure novel with a maritime bias.

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Ron. 

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?


As a writer, I started out doing the history of the ships built at the shipyard where I began my own working life. Not happy with what I could find on this history I decided that I could do something better myself. Having started with a Blog, then a website it was just a natural progression to end up putting all this information into book form, as books cannot be hacked the same as a website.

I love writing about the subject with both fiction and non-fiction books being produced.

My fiction stories are just running around my head and have been for a great many years.

What is your favorite childhood book?

The one I remember most was one given to me by my aunt and uncle and it was a geography book about Europe & the U.S.S.R. full of maps and information about each country ignoring the iron curtain that was in place at the time, I credit that book with giving me my thirst for adventure and travel.

Where were you when you heard your first book was going to be published? How did you celebrate?

I was in a garden having a smoke it was freezing and dark, my mobile opened and I saw the text, brilliant but no one around to tell, so many different emotions flooded my wee brain, fantastic sense of achievement and pride.

 Tell us three surprising things about yourself.

I have been sober for almost 23 years, I am an ex-smoker of more than one year, so if I can do this then anyone can. I have worked on the design of an experimental fusion machine now being built, I worked on this in Japan, where I lived for a couple of years with my son who was 12 when he first went out there with me.

 

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

 


Davy Stuart

Fight or Flight

“It’s either black or white. There’s no in-between for Davy Stuart.”

Fight or Flight is an historical adventure novel with a maritime bias; the first in a trilogy.

Leith, Scotland, 1880. Davy Stuart is an apprentice shipwright down in the docks. He’s from the poorest of the tenements and it’s a tough existence. Davy spends his free time drinking and day-dreaming with his pals.

He then wakes up wounded on a ship, told he has to flee from home, his family and Scotland.

He is like a rudderless ship stumbling from one fight to another, is his best friend really a friend or his worst enemy.

Davy travels on going from adventure to battle, never really knowing who he really is, his encounter with Voodoo leaves him even more confused.

His adventure takes him half way around the world, then he lands in post-Civil war America, in the South with his Black Friend. He owes his life to Sol.

As he continues his quest to find the woman he intends to marry, things are never how they seem.

 

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I don’t really have a routine I just write when I can in between the day job and all the other requirements of life. When working on my novels I have a selection of small note-books I carry around, jotting down notes and ideas wherever I may be.

A lot of the first book was noted down in long hand on the train travelling to work.

 How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?

I have many of my own resources in the form of books and website with lots of the ship’s histories included. My stories all contain real ships that had been built at Leith, in the shipyards there during the late 1800’s early 1900’s. For other history facts and such I use the internet.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are they based on anyone you know?

Names and characters come from many resources, I have spent a lifetime travelling, working and living all over the world, meeting so many people some good and some not so good, so perhaps bits of people can make it into some of the characters.

Are there any secret references hidden in your books?

Oh yes there are many!


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Sometimes both

 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Start writing earlier and don’t give a damn what other people say.

 Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do to break its spell?

I sometimes reach a block, I’m going through one right now with my 3rd book. I don’t try and force anything, the story and plot will come back to me when the time is right. I move on to other projects and books, never get bogged down in one, it could destroy you, so put it aside and do something else.

Do you have any unfinished or unpublished books hidden away?

I have a whole heap of books/ideas hidden away with a spread-sheet list showing me which ones I should be looking at in any certain order. There are no lack of stories, many of them are for me to decide if a whole book be made from the information and ideas that I have right now.

I looked into my own family background and I find a war hero who was captured at the fall of Hong Kong during WW2 and he along with two American volunteer pilots managed to escape from the Japanese. Helped by the Chinese Communists they eventually made it to Ceylon. Not many managed to escape the Japanese, just a small example of where a potential story could come from, could be turned into fiction or if enough information could be found then perhaps a non-fiction tale of escape and evasion.

Thank you for dropping by. Your writing certainly sounds as if it is based in authentic real life experiences!

About the Author

 

Having spent a lifetime designing parts for ships, aircraft and cars I am now back working as an active shipbuilder, I have travelled the world working and living amongst different cultures always observing, noticing that people are basically the same the world over. I have always had a natural passion for ships and the sea.

I love writing about the subject with both fiction and non-fiction books being produced.

I have written a four-volume history of the ships built at Leith, with the first Volume published by Whittles Publishing in November 2019.

https://www.whittlespublishing.com/They_Once_Were_Shipbuilders 

Volume II, published May 2021.

https://www.whittlespublishing.com/Leith-Built_Ships 

I am on linkedin with over 5,200 connections as my shipbuilder brand “The Loftsman”, I also have the beginnings of a facebook and instagram set up.

I have another four books underway, all non-fiction.

I have contributed articles to maritime magazines worldwide and I have my own website and Blog. 

https://www.theloftsman.com/ 

This trilogy is my first series of novels; book 1 and book 2 are complete, with book 3 approximately 30% complete, start, middle, with two different endings.

Maritime history and adventure with a twist, set amongst actual ships built, incorporating events in history. As a shipbuilder who witnessed many adventures or stories in the shipyards and other industry worldwide, over time, this story is a mix of experiences adapted to a mix of actual ships that were built at Leith, Scotland. This was the shipyard where I started out my own working life in the 1970’s. Born and bred in a town that was full of maritime heritage and characters, all of which lends itself to my story.

You can follow Ron here:  Instagram  |  Facebook |  linkedin 

Book Spotlight: Fight or Flight - A Davy Stuart Adventure


Leith, Scotland, 1880
. Davy Stuart is an apprentice shipwright down in the docks. He’s from the poorest of the tenements and it’s a tough existence. Davy spends his free time drinking and day-dreaming with his pals.

He then wakes up wounded on a ship, told he has to flee from home, his family and Scotland.

He is like a rudderless ship stumbling from one fight to another, is his best friend really a friend or his worst enemy.

Davy travels on going from adventure to battle, never really knowing who he really is, his encounter with Voodoo leaves him even more confused.

His adventure take him halfway around the world, then he lands in post Civil war America, in the South with his black Friend. He owes his life to Sol.

As he continues his quest to find the woman he intends to marry, things are never how they seem.

Fight or Flight is an historical adventure novel with a maritime bias; the first in a trilogy.

Book link: Amazon UK

 

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