It is with great pleasure that I take part in this blog tour for London Calling by Helen Carey. Thank you very much to the publisher Headline for having me!
It will take more than Hitler’s Luftwaffe to break the spirit of the residents of Lavender Road. If courage, resilience and a shared sense of humour could win wars, the conflict would already be over.
It’s not all harmony, though. Nurse Molly Coogan and would-be actress Jen Carter certainly don’t see eye to eye. Molly, despite hating the strict discipline of wartime hospital life, is unimpressed by flighty Jen’s prima donna ways. While pretty Jen, unaware of Molly’s secret heartache, can’t resist taking her own personal frustrations out on Molly. It’s probably just as well that no one knows what challenges lie ahead…
From stolen glasses in the Flag and Garter to fancy dinners in the heart of the West End, from a desperate battle for survival on a hospital ward to a torpedo hitting its target in the Mediterranean Sea, LONDON CALLING takes readers into a world of ordinary people living extraordinary lives. – from Goodreads
London Calling is Helen Carey’s 6th novel, and the fourth in the Lavender Road series (Lavender Road, Some Sunny Day, On and Wing and Prayer and London Calling). Here, she talks about her favourite wartime (WWII time!) films, books and TV programs!
I have always been fascinated by the Second World War. The idea that in such relatively recent history people in London were having to shelter in cellars and air-raid shelters from enemy bombs, and that people like my parents and my uncles and aunts were putting their lives on the line for the sake of freedom caught my imagination at quite a young age. Interspersed with the pony stories of my youth, and the tear-jerking love stories of my teenage years, were stories of valiant animals saving the day (dogs mainly, although more recently a particularly brave pigeon has achieved retrospective stardom!), of dare-devil escapes from Nazi Prisoner of war camps, and of heart-rending personal sacrifices beyond the call of duty. (I can even confess that, for a while at least, the gung-ho boys’ comic Hotspur vied with the romantic/teen-tips Jackie as my favourite light reading!)
So when the chance came to write a series set in WW2, I grasped it eagerly, certain that I had all the raw material at my fingertips.
I was quickly proved wrong! I found I needed much more detail than that provided by the exciting fictional accounts of my youth. And for the last few years, while writing the Lavender Road series, my world has become one of history books, diaries, museums and libraries (and more recently Google and Wikipedia.)
But although historical accuracy is obviously important, so is entertainment. More than anything I want my books to be accessible, readable, interesting and engrossing (and occasionally even funny). And although they may not have given me all the facts I needed, I think all those varied comics, films, TV series and books of my formative years have been a big help.
Here, in no particular order, are my all time favourites:
- The good old Colditz series
- Dad’s Army
- Foyle’s war
- The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin)
- Casablanca (Michael Curtiz)
- The Great Escape (John Sturges)
- Hope and Glory (John Boorman)
- Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg)
- Fortunes of War by Olivia Manning (and the fabulous BBC dramatisation of the same series with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh too).
- Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr (written from the point of view of a reluctant SS officer in Berlin)
- Red Gold by Alan Furst
- Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean (it’s a great film too!)
- A Town Called Alice by Neville Shute
Stay tuned for my review to come shortly! I am really excited to read this novel, I love WWII literature myself (perhaps I should do my own favourites list!) and read it a lot.
Once again, thank you very much to Headline and to Helen Carey. Go forth and read London Calling, folks!
London Calling was published by Headline in paperback on December 15th 2016.