When We Fall – Carolyn Kirby, No Exit Press 2020

I was excited to receive an advance copy of this WW2 novel, due out on 7 May, as it ticked two boxes that interest me particularly about the period. The Air Transport Auxiliary, with its female pilots flying alongside male counterparts, and the Nazi occupation of Poland, neither of which seem to have had a…

Songbirds and Stray Dogs

Songbirds and Stray Dogs – Meagan Lucas, Mint Hill Books 2019 I was familiar with Meagan through her roles as fiction editor of the excellent Barren Magazine so it was with some anticipation that I received her first novel. My interest was piqued even further by the quotation from which the title is drawn (from…

Frank Barnard – on ghosts and remembrances

I have been a fan of Frank Barnard’s work for years, first becoming aware of his writing back in 2006 with the novel Blue Man Falling, based around a Hawker Hurricane squadron in the Battle of France. There are relatively few modern novels of WW2 aviation and, surprisingly, no long series’ of novels following the…

Revolt: The King’s Knight, by J.A. Ironside – review

‘Revolt’ is the perfect nugget of historical fiction. Gregory Maudseley is a knight on his uppers, trying to negotiate the windings of 14th Century bureaucracy to obtain his inheritance, and in so doing stumbles into the midst of a national emergency. What follows takes in brawls and riots, thieves and nobles, knock-kneed nags and Geoffrey…

Fiona Erskine interview – The Chemical Detective

THE CHEMICAL DETECTIVE by Fiona Erskine is published by Point Blank, an imprint of Oneworld, in hardback on 4 April (see review on Goodreads)  I’m privileged to be able to interview Fiona Erskine, author of the brilliant new thriller The Chemical Detective. Back in September 2017, OneWorld announced that it had signed up for two…

My Publishing Nightmare – the story of a book deal gone bad (Part 3)

Parts one and two of this blog series covered what happened when I signed a contract with a publisher for my novel and it turned out badly, with a product I was unhappy with, poor sales and a deteriorating relationship with the publisher, and then my initial, unsuccessful attempts to retrieve my rights to the…

Historical fiction – where to draw the line

The issue of factual inaccuracy in historical fiction is a perpetual source of debate, and occasional outbreaks of controversy. Reports in the media today pick up on this issue with aspects of the new film Mary Queen of Scots labelled ‘problematic’ by a historian in a BBC report with the Telegraph going as far as…

Blog Tour for An Argument of Blood

A virtual blog tour for An Argument of Blood, the first of the Oath and Crown novels about the events leading to the Norman conquest of England, is currently underway courtesy of Historical Fiction Blog Tours. Please take a look at the blog tour page here to find reviews, features and a giveaway for a…

Interview with Amanda Berriman, author of ‘Home’

I am very pleased to welcome to Air and Sea Stories, Amanda Berriman, whose fantastic debut novel Home will be published next month (February 2018) by the Transworld imprint of Penguin. Home is a beautiful novel with a unique voice – that of four-(and a half!)-year-old Jesika, who, with her mother is forced to negotiate…

The last roundhead returns – This Deceitful Light review

The Last Roundhead, by Jemahl Evans, was one of the best historical novels I’ve read in a long time. The voice of the main character and narrator, Blandford Candy, was as authentic as it is possible to get in a work written in the 21st century. Better, he existed in a world of such effortlessly…