Research is a large part of any historical novel. Readers want to know how I went about conducting research for this novel. I read books and saw many films set in the World War II era. On trips to England with my British husband I combined visiting family there with research for my story. I visited an actual air raid shelter in Stockport, Imperial War Museum in Manchester, Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire, the Churchill War Rooms in London, and Chatsworth House in Devonshire. I also interviewed veterans of WWII in both the UK and the US.The opening for my WWII inspirational romancewas conceived after reading a biography on the life of Kathleen Kennedy, daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He and his family were living in London when Britain declared war. Kathleen Kennedy’s story intrigued me. She was forced by her father to return to the US for her safety. Kathleen had made many friends while living in London and was determined to return some day. She even-tually did go back, served in the British Red Cross, and married William Cavendish who was in line to become the next Duke of Devonshire. Sadly, he died in battle a few months after their marriage. I based my protagonist, Abby Stapleton, loosely on Kathleen Kennedy’s situation at the outbreak of war in 1939. However, in this story Abby is the American-born daughter of a British diplomat. Her father sends her back to the US to escape impending war. She too vows to return to London.The banner photo is of the “old man of Coniston,” a scene of natural beauty in the Lake District, a large national park in north-west England. The Coniston area is popular with boaters and hikers and is a magnet for visitors. It’s legendary for the writers, artists, and other influential people who have called this picturesque place home. It was on Coniston Water, in 1967, that Donald Campbell lost his life when his rocket-powered speedboat, Bluebird K7, crashed during his attempt to break the world water-speed record. When our sons were little I would read them the charming tales by Beatrix Potter. Many of the creatures she observed on her property in the “Lakes” she incorporated into her stories. Along with her talents in writing and art, she worked tirelessly to preserve the stunning beauty of the area; on her death she bequeathed 4,000 acres to The National Trust.Q&A
Pat writes historical inspirational romance imbued with hope in troubled times. She has a keen interest in twentieth-century American and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Pat’s father-in-law served in the British Eighth Army during the war. When Valleys BloomAgain is her debut novel set in that era. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Historical Novel Society. Pat lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her English husband, John. They have two grown sons.
Coniston Water viewed from Brantwood, John Ruskin’s Home