Happy publication day to today's debut spotlight guest for the first book in The Home Farm Land Girls series Letters to Alice.
Rosie James has been a compulsive writer since childhood when she saw minor success in competitions, and much later saw her articles and short stories published in newspapers and magazines. She is devoted to all music making, whether in choral or opera works or as a solo artiste. She is truly blessed by having three very loyal, grown up children, six grandchildren, and an extremely lively puppy, all of whom add a rich variety of colour to her busy days. Who could ask for more?
Dear Alice, dreadful news was told to me today…
Bristol, 1941: Alice Watts leaves the shell-shocked city for her new life as a Land Girl on Home Farm. It’s a completely different from her quiet old world, but she’s determined to do her part. And the back-breaking work is made bearable with the help from her two new friends - bold, outspoken Fay and quiet, guarded Evie - and the letters that arrive from her childhood friend, Sam Carmichael...
To Alice, Sam was always more than just a friend, but as the son of her wealthy employer, she never dared dream he could be more… But at least ever letter brings reassurance that he’s still alive and fighting on the frontline... Because it’s when all goes quiet on the letter front that nothing seems certain and it’s a reminder of how life – and hearts – are so fragile.
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel Letters to Alice?
Letters to Alice is totally about people, their backgrounds, loves, hopes and fears.
What inspired you to write a novel set during the second World War as opposed to modern day?
I don't think I was actually inspired - this book sort of happened because there's been so much recent media coverage about both world wars. 2015 is especially poignant because it marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WW11 and there are many people who still remember those days and the impact the war had on so many lives.I thought - well, I hoped - that I could build a good story around that time.
How much research did you have to do to enable you to write about Alice being a Land Girl during the war?
I had to do a lot of research about life as a Land Girl. I hope I got it all right!
Can you describe Letters to Alice in one sentence?
Letters to Alice is a warm, human story, parts of which I'm sure will resonate with every reader.
Are you currently working on a new novel?
Yes. I'm working on the sequel to Alice. What happens next?
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I always wanted to be a writer.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
The best writing advice I've ever received is to keep reading, and to just keep on doing it.... never, never, give up.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
A typical writing day would be 3 hours before lunch, and 2 or 3 after lunch - but never after dark when energy tends to tail off.
Do you set yourself a daily/weekly writing target?
I don't actually have a daily or weekly target, but when I've been given a deadline, it's heads down and no messing about.
Are you going to treat yourself to something nice to celebrate the publication of your first book?
Regarding celebrating the publication of this book, I'm ashamed to say that as soon as the editor approved the first few chapters I went out and bought myself a bottle of French perfume. Which was a bit hasty.... I had a further 22 chapters to go!
Have you anything exciting planned for publication day?
I've nothing exciting planned for publication day - all excitements will be on hold until we see how Alice and her letters are received.