Thursday, 27 February 2014

Debut Spotlight: Louise Walters

Today is another busy day in the publication world with lots of fab books being published including Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase by today's debut spotlight guest Louise Walters.

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong...

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut book Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase?
It’s a dual narrative novel with two female protagonists. One is Dorothy and her story is set during World War 2, and the other is Roberta, Dorothy’s grand-daughter, and her story is set in the present day (actually 2010 when I began serious work on the novel). Roberta discovers a letter in Dorothy’s belongings that seems to contradict Roberta’s understanding of her grandmother’s life. 

Where did the inspiration come from to write this story?
Four things. I used to work in a bookshop similar to the “Old and New Bookshop” where Roberta works in my story. I also used to live in a cottage similar to Dorothy’s cottage. I found a letter in a book once, written by a Polish squadron leader to an English couple. It was written right at the end of the war and sent from Italy… I often wondered who he was and what became of him. Finally, I own an old-fashioned suitcase with a label inside with “Mrs D Sinclair” written on it and I often wondered about her too. All these things linked up in my imagination and I started to write the story. 

Have you got anything exciting planned for publication day? 
I’m having a book launch in the bookshop I once worked at. It seems the right place to have a party especially as that real shop inspired my fictional one. 

Are you going to treat yourself to something nice to celebrate?
I have bought a new outfit for the party – a frock, a shrug and new shoes. I don’t often wear heels, so I’m wearing them in at home, and I’m trying to diet so the dress fits nicely on the big day! I’m not very good at dieting though…

Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it? 
I have started work on another novel, currently at 30,000 words which is a good start. Not giving away too much at the moment, just in case it doesn’t work out, but my research includes twins, psychiatric counselling and the 1950s and 1960s. I hope that sounds interesting!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 
I think so. I used to write stories when I was a young girl, and I loved English lessons at school. But it took many years before I believed in myself enough to try writing a novel. Books have almost always been pretty much my favourite thing. 

Where would be you idyllic location for a writing retreat? 

Somewhere quiet and warm and possibly a bit boring, so I could get on with my writing and wouldn’t feel I was missing out on anything.

Louise Walters studied for a Literature degree with The Open University between 1998 and 2010. She took Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing courses during the final two years of the degree, and she says that writing this novel has been one of the most positive experiences of her life.

Follow Louise's publication via Twitter @LouiseWalters12 or on her blog.

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