I’m delighted to be one of the first stops on Rosemary's blog tour for her new WWI saga, Until We Meet Again. Here we are chatting on publication day.
Welcome back to my blog, Rosemary, and thank you for talking with me today and answering my questions.
Thank you for inviting me as your guest again, Natalie.
May I begin by saying how very much I enjoyed your book. There is an air of authenticity about ‘Until We Meet Again’ that is apparent from the first page where you introduce us to Amy and her home in Larchbury. Though your location changes, this sense of place remains throughout, almost as if you were there over one hundred years ago. How did you go about your research?
Although times have changed, the old-fashioned village is still part of our heritage. There are traditional looking villages to be seen, including ones in Kent, where I live, if you can ignore the roads and traffic. They featured a lot in storybooks when I was young. You often see them in TV series, like Lark Rise to Candleford. The weather always seems better there! I need to be careful of details, as public phones, for example, were beginning to appear by WWI, but the familiar red ones were not introduced till the 1920s.
I took to Amy immediately, a young woman of character who stuck to her principles in difficult times. Have you based her on anyone in particular or has she come entirely from your imagination?
She’s largely imaginary, though one of the incidents was inspired by something that happened to a friend of my mother’s, near the end of WWII.
It isn’t long before you take us into that dreadful time that was World War 1 but, unlike some other books I have read, you bring us right to the action. The attention to detail is outstanding and I’m sure your readers would like to know what sources you used.
World War I burst out very suddenly and it’s hard to write about it without making the story impossibly grim but I was inspired by accounts of soldiers enjoying songs and jokes even in the trenches. My hero and heroine needed to be special people to survive it with their spirits intact.
I have learnt a good deal about the Great War through the moving memoir of Vera Brittain, in Testament of Youth. (Virago Press, ISBN 0 86068 035 5.)
I have also referred to A Nurse at the Front, based on the First World War diaries of Sister Edith Appleton, edited by Ruth Cowen. (Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-84983-366-0.) Some of the injuries she saw were appalling, and in those days there were no antibiotics to aid recovery.
If, as I suspect, you have visited some of these places in peacetime, did you have a sense of the history and horror or was it difficult to relate the one to the other? Or was your groundwork so good that I’m completely mistaken and you’ve never been there?
I’ve visited some towns in Flanders, chiefly the famous ones like Bruges and Ghent, which were not especially significant in World War I, though most of Belgium was occupied by the Germans. Today towns in the Belgian and French parts of Flanders tend to have a peaceful atmosphere. They generally have a tall belfry, often linked with a market place or town hall, symbolising the town’s importance.
To imagine the area during the war you need to see the shocking photographs of towns like Arras, Amiens and Ypres after they were bombarded. In Arras the city hall, belfry and cathedral were all destroyed.
There are also photographs of battlefields where all the trees have been reduced to stumps.
I was surprised at the ease of correspondence and how quickly letters would get home or to the front line. Was there anything in your research that surprised you?
I understand letters took up to five days to reach their destination, though there were probably longer gaps at times of the major battles.
The women’s Suffrage movement plays a large part in your story. Is this an aspect that’s close to your heart?
I have a great respect for the Suffragettes, active in the period before World War I, and the Suffragists, who were less militant. Many of them did valuable war work and helped women to be recognised as deserving the same rights as their menfolk.
I’m delighted to see that we can look forward to meeting Amy and Edmond again in your next book. Is this a work in progress? Can we expect to see them again soon?
A sequel is in the pipeline. I hope Amy and Edmond will be back next year!
I’m sure your readers would love to learn a little about you. What can you tell us about Rosemary Goodacre?
I love travelling, mostly in Europe. I also enjoy music, mainly classical, and reading. I love stories which transport me to a different place or time. It’s intriguing to try to imagine how people survived challenging times in history.
Thank you so much for joining me today. Good luck with ‘Until We Meet Again’ and I look forward to the next in the series.
Thank you, Natalie. I’ve very much enjoyed the visit!
The Great War drove them apart - but love kept them together
Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.
The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to wed, eager to start a new life together - but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.
Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters send from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all - can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?
A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 - readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.
Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.
Her father's family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.
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