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The Ghosts of My Ideas, by Joy Martin

Wonderful Women. Here is an image out of my childhood: a woman on her knees weeding a field in which turnips have been planted before it’s set out for grass seeds. Around her are her 13 children, the older helping with the weeding: their younger siblings tethered like goats to prevent them wandering off. In…
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The Ghosts of My Ideas, by Joy Martin

The castle which might have been ours… My grandmother, Nina O’Brien Kelly, took ghosts in her stride. Official records state that her family home, Manister House, in Croom, County Limerick, was ‘demolished because of problems with ghosts.’ Kneeling by her bedside to pray as a child, knowing that she was alone in her room, she felt…
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Why I wrote ‘The Blockade Runners’ by Peter Vollmer

I always thought the UN embargo and the civil war in Rhodesia an excellent background for a novel. The fact that I’d actually been on the sidelines as a banker working for a bank that was assisting the Rhodesian government (this with the blessings of the South African government) gave me insight in how the…
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Writing ‘Blackthorn Child’, by Nora Fountain

I fell in love with Paris at the age of seventeen. Leaving England, still suffering from the ravages of war, I was suddenly transported to wide, graceful boulevards, under a clear, cerulean sky. The air was redolent of coffee, perfume, Gauloise. There was an energy about the place. Handsome, dark-eyed men would undress you with…
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Speaking at the Malvern Festival of Military History, by Tom Williams

At the Malvern Festival of Military History, I was on a panel talking about historical fiction. We were the light relief at the end of three days, but there were some pretty high-powered speakers on before us. Nicholas Shakespeare’s talk on the debate that finished Chamberlain and saw Churchill become prime minister gave me considerable…
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Four Days to Trinity by Bill Mesce

This is the second time Endeavour has given me a chance at a “re-do.” A few years ago, when they decided tore-publish my WWII trilogy featuring Army lawyer Harry Voss, they agreed to let me replace the third volume, which I’d always been unhappy with, with a new third book bringing the trilogy, finally, to…
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The Ghosts of My Ideas by Joy Martin

Evicted and forced to live on the roadside, some Irish itinerants joined the travelling people, or the tinkers as they used to be called, and made new homes for themselves in the traditional horse-drawn wagons known as Romani vardos. In my childhood, these brightly painted and highly decorative caravans, with their sloping bodies, large wheels…
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The Last Hero, by Tim Madge

As we look ahead to the centenary of the end of the Great War in November, we should pause to celebrate one of its most extraordinary survivors, a man who was probably the greatest explorer of the 20th century… On St Valentine’s Day, this year, an anniversary passed, unremarked by the wider world, but one…
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The Birth of ‘Prey Silence’ by Sally Spedding

Almost thirty years ago, while I was full-time teaching and my artist husband in Higher Education, we decided to find a bolthole in France where I could focus on my writing and he on his painting. We were travelling south towards the Eastern Pyrenees when we stopped at a Service Station near Cahors. The main…
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By Blood Divided by Lewis Orde

Two Twentieth-Century families have always fascinated me: the Grades of entertainment fame from England and, across the Atlantic, the publishing Annenbergs.  Each family had roots in Eastern Europe.  Each epitomized the immigrant experience, gaining fame and fortune in adopted countries.  And each was headed by a powerful figure.  So strong were the similarities, to me,…
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