Today is publication day for the new historical novel by Deborah Carr - The Poppy Field and just look at that delectable cover!
As my contribution to the blog tour to help celebrate todays launch of this exciting new title I have a question and answer session with the author for you.
Q&A with Deborah
J: Hi Deborah and Welcome to Beadyjans books.
D: Thanks very much for hosting me and my new book, The Poppy Field published by HarperImpulse.
J: Q1: Firstly can you tell me a bit about The Poppy Field and what inspired you to write it?
D: The Poppy Field is a novel about two nurses, one a contemporary trauma unit nurse, Gemma Kingston, who is suffering from burn-out after a personal tragedy. She’s desperate to find a way to forget what’s happened and travels to a rundown farmhouse outside the town of Doullens to renovate it for her father. The other nurse, Alice Le Breton is a VAD working at a casualty clearing station near Doullens in the First World War. She is escaping her controlling mother back in her home island of Jersey and is desperate to ‘do her bit’ for the war effort. Both woman, have to face up to challenging obstacles in their lives and it’s through getting to know more about Alice’s life that Gemma comes to a decision about her own future.
Charlotte Ledger, Editorial Director at HarperImpulse read Broken Faces, my debut historical romance set during the First World War and commissioned me to write a book commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I’ve always been shocked and fascinated in equal measure by the horrors of that war and what people had to go through to survive it, both the men on the front line and the nurses and VADs who cared for them, to those back at home having to cope with their loved ones’ lives being in danger so far away from them. I was delighted to revisit the period and writing for HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse was a dream come true so was relieved when I soon came up with an outline for the book that Charlotte liked.
J: Q2: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, what change made since world war one has had the biggest impact on your life and career?
D: Apart from medical advances brought about through necessity from the shocking injuries caused by shrapnel, men being shot down in their planes as well as instruments of war, such as the dreadful gasses used on the soldiers, the best advance for me personally has to be computers. Drafting a book and being able to change it, countless times, as I go along rather than using a manual typewriter and needing to completely retype each draft must be the biggest impact on my daily life and certainly my writing career.
J: Q3: Do you have a special place to write or somewhere special which inspires your creativity?
D: I have a shed where I write during the summer months. The shed was known as Grumpy’s Palace and won the Office Category in the 2009 Shed of the Year competition – Grumpy was the nickname I gave to my gorgeous Miniature Schnauzer who used to doze in the office next to me on his pink Lloyd Loom chair as I worked from my matching one. I also write on my laptop at the dining room table, outside under a parasol whenever it’s warm enough, upstairs in my office, or anywhere really. I always have a notepad to hand to write things down if I’m not with my laptop.
J: Q4: Can you recommend 3 books which readers of your work may also enjoy?
D: Ooh, that’s difficult. I suppose readers who enjoy Pam Jenoff, or maybe Liz Trenow. My favourite book set during that period was Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.
J: Q5: What advice would you give to budding authors?
D: I’ve included some writing tips on my website: http://deborahcarr.org/ I’m also one third of The Blonde Plotters. We’re three local authors who meet up and talk for hours about writing, we’ve also got writing tips and tips about becoming published on our website: https://theblondeplotters.com/
Personally, I always work out my main plot line, decide the names of my characters and write a vague synopsis before starting to write the first draft of any book. With Broken Faces and The Poppy Field, I also kept a chart for the different chapters and what happened in each one. I’ll develop the synopsis as I go along and as I work out more intricate aspects of my book. It can be easy to fret about a first draft being perfect. I doubt many are, but I think an aspiring author should allow themselves to simply write the first draft of the book. Don’t worry that it’s going to need editing. You can’t edit a blank page. Also, if you want to write, you need to read books. When I’m busy with my writing, especially if I have a looming deadline it’s difficult to take time out to read, but I always catch up on my reading when I’ve finished writing a book.
Another piece of advice I’d give is that all writers receive rejections, so developing a thicker skin and learning when to take note of the rejections - usually if several people are saying the same thing about the book. However, in the past I’ve had rejections from two different publishers completely contradicting each other, so sometimes it’s difficult to know what to think, or do. Writing isn’t a science though, it is subjective and that’s a good thing.
J: Q6: Finally sum up The Poppy Field in just 3 words.
D: Romantic, atmospheric, heartbreaking
Thanks, once again, Jan!
Many thanks, Deborah it was a pleasure to have you on BeadyjansBooks today and I wish you huge success with your historical romance. I must confess I'd love to spend some time in the wonderfully named Grumpy's Palace!
The Book Blurb
The Poppy Field
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.
This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.
A bit more about where you can find the book and meet Deborah.
Purchase Link -
Author Bio – Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather's time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.
She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a 'special commendation' in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.
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