I’m pleased to be joined by Edinburgh based writer Dianne Haley today. Dianne’s debut novel, The Watchmaker’s Daughter, was published by Bookouture in April and is the first in The Resistance Girl series.
Thanks for joining me Dianne. First of all, can you tell my readers what inspired you to start writing?
When I was between jobs a few years ago I had the idea for the plot of a contemporary crime novel. I decided to see if I would be able to write a full-length book. It was my first serious attempt, since I wrote stories and poems when I was much younger.
Tell me about your journey to publication.
After finishing my first book, I went back to work, but I was hooked. I attended writing talks, courses and conferences and also joined writing groups locally. I wrote another few contemporary novels and then had the idea for my historical fiction series. I decided to concentrate on this idea when I received some good initial feedback. Through lockdown, I obtained a professional edit for book 1 and wrote book 2. I approached Bookouture in summer 2021 and was delighted when they wanted to publish both books.
In a nutshell what is your book about?
My book is set in 1940s Switzerland across the border from occupied France. While Switzerland was a neutral country throughout the war many Swiss citizens helped French refugees escape from France, risking wrath from the Swiss authorities who were afraid of a German invasion. It is the story of Valérie, who is helping French refugees escape from the Nazis and her childhood sweetheart Philippe, who is in the army protecting the Alps. But when Valérie finds a list of Swiss traitors that includes Philippe’s name, her fight becomes more personal.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I discussed the title with Bookouture and they suggested The Watchmaker’s Daughter. It was a very interesting process because my title was based on the plot of the story whereas their title focused on the main character. It worked very well.
How did you celebrate publication day?
On publication day, I took part in lots of social media activities to promote the book. I also had a glass of champagne with my family to celebrate and met up with some of my writing group. We’d all been through many ups and downs in our writing journeys and it was lovely to share my success with the people who’d first read the book.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m editing book 2 of my Resistance Girl series – Under a Brighter Sky. I’m also writing book 3 of the series.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
The book that made me think differently about fiction is one I would recommend to anyone interested in writing. On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. It includes some brilliant quotations about writing and impressed upon me the importance of reading widely for any writer.
What you reading just now?
I’m reading the Brunetti crime series by Donna Leon, which is set in Venice. The strong sense of place in these books and the detailed descriptions of Venice and its people makes you lose yourself in the surroundings and the customs of the people.
If you were on Desert Island Discs what one book would you take with you?
Although I’m not really a reader of fantasy, my favourite book and one that I have re-read many times is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. You lose yourself in the world he creates with a wonderful cast of characters.
Is there a book you would love to see made into a film?
I would love to see The Watchmaker’s Daughter made into a film. I see the scenes in my mind as I write them so the stories have always been very visual to me. The old town in Geneva first gave me the inspiration for the series and took me back to the 1940s. I would love to see it brought to life.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
My website is at diannehaley.com and my Twitter handle is @dhaley30. You can also find me on Facebook.
The Watchmaker’s Daughter is published by Bookouture and available now
You can order a copy here: The Watchmaker’s Daughter