Remember me ranting (good ranting, of course) about the book Wait for Me by Caroline Leech? Well, I also have a surprised for you! And it is not just a review.
Please welcome Caroline Leech to Cover to Cover and Everything in Between!!! She has not only answered some awesome questions, but she is also giving away of copy of the amazing Wait for Me! How cool is that?!
I hope you all enjoy reading this interview, as much as I did writing it with Caroline. She is a fabulous author! I loved her debut novel, Wait for Me (to read my review, click: Wait for Me), and I am very much excited about her next book, In Another Time.
Thank you so much, Caroline, for doing this with me! I have really enjoyed chatting with you through email and learning more about you and your books. I hope you had a great time. I certainly did!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by messaging me or commenting on this post.
About Caroline Leech:
Caroline Leech is a Scottish writer who has lived in Houston TX since 2007. She writes novels for teenagers, and her debut novel, Wait for Me, will be published in the USA by Harper Collins’ Harper Teen imprint in early 2017. Set in Scotland towards the end of World War Two, the book won the 2014 Joan Lowery Nixon Award at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Houston, as well as the YA categories of both the Romance Writers of America Emily and Lone Star competitions. Harper Teen will also publish Caroline’s second, as yet untitled, novel in 2018.
Caroline’s career in public relations with performing arts companies in the United Kingdom culminated with her editing a glossy photographic book, Welsh National Opera – The First Sixty Years. She has written numerous feature articles on the performing arts in a number of newspapers and magazines here and in the UK. As well as her personal blog at http://www.carolineleech.com, Caroline writes a blog – – for which she interviews some of Houston’s remarkable women, each of whom nominates their own inspirational woman for Caroline to interview. She also serves on the advisory board of Inprint, Houston’s leading literary non-profit organization.
Caroline is married with three teenage children.
Q. Why did you choose to write in the World War Two era? What is your favorite part about it?
A. Both my parents were involved with World War Two–my mother was evacuated from London as a child on the day war broke out, and my father followed his four older brothers into the army when he turned 18 in 1944–and so I grew up hearing their stories throughout my childhood. I also spent my teen years reading all kinds of WW2 books, fiction and non-fiction, and so when I was first working towards writing a novel, it seemed like an obvious time period to choose.
World War Two was such a traumatic time for so many millions of people, especially across the occupied countries of mainland Europe, but even in Scotland, which was never really under threat of German invasion (though it did get bombed), the war took its toll on both the men sent away to fight, and on the women left behind. Those are the stories I try to tell, not the overarching epics from theaters of war, but the little pickets of domestic life, far from the battlefronts, but which were still a part of the wartime experience.
Q. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
A. Because of my life-long interest in that period, I had a good basic knowledge already, but I did do a lot of further reading, in books and online. In particular, I searched out primary source memories from women who took over the work formerly done by the men who were away fighting, from prisoners of war sent to work on farms around Britain, and about the effect that the war had on how soldiers dealt with returning to relative safety of their homes. I also spent a lot of time on Google maps “wandering around” Aberlady, the village where my story is set, and comparing current day maps with those from 1945. I remembered Aberlady from my visits there as a child, but I need to make sure I knew how the layout of the village had changed since 1945, and also it was important for me to feel comfortable in my character’s fictional movements around the village.
Q. What was your hardest scene to write?
A. A couple of times, I found myself getting bogged down in a scene. I knew where I needed to get to by the end of it, but my characters just didn’t seem to want to cooperate. So I eventually gave up and jumped forward to a new scene which I knew I really wanted to write (both times it was a kissing scene!) and carried on from there.When I went back to fill in the gaps, however, I discovered that the chapters I’d struggled with weren’t actually necessary, and could be missed out altogether. It was an interesting lessons in how your subconscious mind is often more aware of how a story should play out than you conscious “writer mind,” if only you would listen to it.
Q. How do you select the names of all your characters?
A. I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. Initially, I’d just wait for a name to come to me that feels right. It’s almost like when you see a person you recognize in the street, but you can’t quite remember their name, and then it suddenly comes from nowhere. A name suddenly feels like it belongs to that person. Having said that, I did have to change the names of both my main characters – Lorna in Wait for Me, and Maisie in In Another Time, which is my next book. They started off as one name, but for entirely practical reasons, I had to find a new one later in the drafting process. It took a few days for my brain to switch over to the new name, but now it’s hard to remember that Lorna and Maisie were ever called anything else.
Q. When you were a teenager, what was your favorite book to read? Or, to make it easier, who was your favorite author?
A. “Young adult” wasn’t really a thing when I was in my teens, so I read whatever I came across. I loved to read WW2 adventure stories, like Colditz, The Great Escape, and A Town Like Alice, but also spy and crime series like James Bond, The Saint and anything by Agatha Christie. I also loved anything by PG Wodehouse who wrote the fantastically funny Jeeves and Wooster books.
Q. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A. Believe in yourself. And write, write, write. In fact, I still have to tell myself both of those things quite regularly. It can be very hard when you are drafting any piece of work, and particularly something as long as a novel, not to lose heart as you write because you know it’s not your best work. But something I learned while I was drafting Wait for Me during NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—is that you can’t revise, polish and perfect words that haven’t been written down yet. So when you are drafting just GET THE WORDS ONTO THE PAGE, fast and without editing, and no matter how ‘bad’ you think they are, because you can make them beautiful later on.
Q. Can you give us any hints about your next book?!
A. I’d love to! And I don’t even need to hint about it since my cover and storyline has just been revealed. In Another Time is also a story set in Scotland during World War Two, though it’s not a sequel, and will be out in the US and UK next August. It’s about Maisie, a girl who leaves her home in Glasgow to join the Women’s Timber Corps—the lumberjills—and to work in the forests of the Scottish Highlands felling trees as part of the war effort. And perhaps there might be a rather handsome, if enigmatic, Canadian lumberjack working nearby…
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
About Wait for Me:
The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.
It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?
But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.
Click here to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway