ShortBookandScribes #PublicationDay #Extract from Wartime Sweethearts by Lola Jaye + Author #QandA @LolaJaye @EburyPublishing

Happy Publication Day, Lola!!! Oh, how I wish I could have fitted in a read of this book as it sounds right up my street. Unfortunately, I couldn’t but I do have a lovely extract to share with you along with an author Q&A. My thanks to Lola for providing the answers to my questions along with a lovely extract. Thank you also to Alice King from Ebury for sending me a copy of the book.

An English Girl. An American Soldier. A twin secret…

When Rose meets American GI William there is no denying the attraction between them…And even though she knows her family would not approve of her relationship with a black soldier, they can’t help but fall in love.

However Rose has a secret of her own and when war separates the sweethearts before she can confide in William, it is Rose who will have to deal with the consequences…

Amazon Link

I chose this extract from chapter twenty as I like the fact it’s a ‘slice of life’ section. Lola says it’s not the most exciting bit of the book though!

Chapter Twenty
It was during those moments when Iris ran the vacuum cleaner over the floor, or when she paused while wiping inside the cup- boards. It’s then she would think about the fact she’d swapped one life as a maid for another life as a maid. ‘At least I’m get- ting paid for it this time,’ she’d mumble, before continuing with her tasks. Her duties never included cooking, which she missed simply because it allowed her to feel closer to her mum. She managed to tolerate Reg on most days, although found it hard to take her seriously. However, Reg at times provided much needed relief to a life that mostly felt mundane, although at other times Iris found her very irritating.

Iris’s routine rarely changed. She would rise at four-thirty every morning, receive the food from the delivery boy and some- times help prepare breakfast and dinner for the house by cutting vegetables but never actually cooking. She would clean, make the beds (whether they needed changing or not) and do it all over again the next day. She enjoyed her one day off a month which she used wisely with solitary trips to the park. She enjoyed being surrounded by the summer flowers she and her family had been named after.

‘Why were you and your family named after flowers?’ asked Reg.

‘I dunno. I think my grandmother Lillian just liked flowers.’

‘Lillian, so none of her kids were called Lily then?’

‘No.’ She smiled.

‘That’s the first time I’ve seen you smile!’ said Reg as if this was some personal triumph. ‘So, what about your uncle Donald, he’s the odd one out, isn’t he?’

In more ways than one, she wanted to say. She’d been too young to remember actual conversations about Donald. The ‘your uncle’s a loony’ remarks courtesy of her father were much more vivid. But the black-and-white picture she had for- gotten to pack into her suitcase was one of the only remind- ers she’d had of a family that should have been hers. Now, any links with them were gone forever. She was simply Iris, a live-in maid to the Taylor family and living in a posh part of London.

‘Happy seventeenth birthday! The old prune has a heart after all,’ sang Reg.

‘Since when?’ asked Iris, not that enthused about her birthday and hoping the day would pass quickly.

‘Mrs Ambers has given permission for you to cook up a nice toad in the ’ole and suet pudding for our lunch. I’ll help you of course. I know you said that was what you used to cook with your mum, God rest her soul.’

Her face dropped. ‘You don’t want to?’ asked Reg.

‘No, no … I mean I do. I can follow the recipes I took …’ She swallowed.‘Thanks, Reg. That’s really . . . nice of you.’

‘I know what it’s like to miss a mother. Let’s get the rooms done then we can make a start on those toads!’

The toad in the hole was in the oven and it was time to make a start on the suet pudding.

‘I must admit, I’ve never liked the stuff,’ admitted Reg as they rolled the soft dough into the pudding cloth. Iris rolled up the cloth and tied it at both ends.
‘Is the water boiled?’ she asked. Her mum would never let her place the pudding into the water when she was little, said it was too dangerous.

The entire meal turned out perfectly thanks to Grandma Lillian’s recipe that Reg helped with by reading it out to her while she prepped. The staff were complimentary and appreciative of Iris’s efforts.

‘I can’t eat another piece!’ said Iris as Mrs Ambers walked in.

‘Did you enjoy your birthday treat, Iris?’ said Mrs Ambers. Only she could see cooking for others as a treat – although to Iris it actually was. Until recently, she had not been able to enjoy a birthday without soaking her pillow with tears. Until today.

‘Yes I did, very much!’

1. First of all, can you tell me a little about your new book, Wartime Sweethearts? Where did the idea for the story come from?

When Rose meets American GI William there is no denying the attraction between them…And even though she knows her family would not approve of her relationship with a black soldier, they can’t help but fall in love.

However Rose has a secret of her own and when war separates the sweethearts before she can confide in William, it is Rose who will have to deal with the consequences…

I became interested in learning more about the large numbers of babies born to African American solders and British women during WWII. Brown babies was the term used and I wanted to tell their story. There hasn’t been much written on this subject and the more I researched, the more determined I became in my quest to finish this book. Some of the children remained with their mothers whilst others were placed in children’s homes… I feel it’s important for me to not only tell a good story, but to educate by highlighting forgotten histories so that ‘we’ become more aware of other stories that exist.

2. I loved seeing your video on Twitter of the photo shoot for the front cover of your book. How did it feel to see the characters come to life in that way and were they as you imagined them?

It was unexplainable… but I’ll try!

These characters had at first lived in my head and were then transferred onto paper – so to see them literally morph into life, right there in front of me, was a remarkable experience! During the first few moments of the shoot, I just stood there awestruck at what was unfolding in front of me. The designers had even chosen an identical dress to the one I had described in the book and my character Rose was actually wearing it!  See, I’m still excited. An amazing moment.

It’s lovely when the cover image actually matches what’s inside the book. Here’s the link to Lola’s tweet –

3. How much research did you have to do for Wartime Sweethearts?

I  combed through text books coupled with a lot of online digging. I also relied on oral histories from my foster parents who had lived through the war. I grew up with their incredible stories of resilience and bravery. The phrases and even the food we ate I now know, were influenced by that era and it was both painful and pleasurable to be able to include them in my story.  They are both no longer with me, but I hope I did them proud.

4. Can you tell me more about how you became a writer? If you weren’t a writer what do you think you would be doing now?

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be thinking of ways to become a writer!

As far back as I could remember, I’d always wanted to be a writer. Quite a cliched opening line there, but it’s true – well, at least after I had given up on becoming an international pop singer! My foster mother encouraged my gift which I honed as the years flew by. Just as well, because the first ever full length book I wrote was a cringefest inspired by my then, dating life!

5. Do you plot your stories meticulously or do you just write and see where it takes you?

I write a synopsis that is always open to change. However, having this short outline is important as it keeps the focus and stops me from going off on a tangent. No, actually, I always go off on a tangent! But at least with a synopsis I have an idea of where the story is headed.

6. Could you tell me about your writing day? Where do you write and do you have a daily routine?

Every day is different – but I have a routine. Sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but what I mean by that is, how my day pans out depends on whether  I am working at my day job or not.

If it’s a full day of writing, a typical start is around  8am and ends at 5 or 6pm. In between that time is a number of stretch, food and TV breaks! I usually set myself a word goal for the day and if I reach it early, I use the rest of the time to spell check or do some research. As my books are set in the past, there is always room for research!

7. Do you have time to read yourself and if so what kind of books do you enjoy?

I believe every writer should also read. I’m currently reading The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins and will then dive straight into Tell me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. I like to read as many different genres as possible as I think this can only enhance my writing.

True story: During my launch for Wartime Sweethearts at a book shop, I clocked a lady in a yellow beret hovering around the bookshelves.  I didn’t recognise her and just as I was deciding whether to make a weak citizen’s  arrest, I was told she was indeed SOPHIE JENKINS (who just happened to be my agent’s plus – one!) My persona quickly morphed into adoring fan as I gushed; ‘I’m currently reading your book and I love it!”

8. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

When I finish a first draft I celebrate with a 1950s style glass bottle of coke.

9.What are you planning to write next and where will it take us  

I actually have two books in my head. One is set in the 1920’s -the other in 1910. At the moment it feels like I am edging further and further back into time…

Thank you, Lola. I love your little quirk!

Lola Jaye has penned four novels and a self-help book. Her work has been translated into several languages, including Korean, German and Serbian.
She grew up in South London, and has also lived in Nigeria and America. She admits to watching too many soaps and reality TV, but firmly believes they enhance her writing. She even taught a class on it!





Author bio and photo taken from Amazon

Please leave a comment - I love to read them!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.