I’m pleased to welcome Dianne Haley back to the blog today. Dianne first visited back in May talking about her book The Watchmaker’s Daughter in an Author Spotlight which you can read here. Today she’s sharing #TenThings about herself and her latest novel. Under a Brighter Sky was published by Bookouture in October and is the second in her Resistance Girl series. You can order a copy here: Under a Brighter Sky
Where I live
I’ve lived in Edinburgh for over 30 years and it’s a city that I love. Driving around the centre there are so many wonderful things to see, from the castle perched on its rock looming above Princes Street, to The Royal Mile winding down the hill leading to Holyrood Park, to the handsome streets of the New Town. The city has been here for hundreds of years and its sense of history is tangible.
I have been married to Martin for 31 years. We have two children who are in their mid-twenties, Alexander and Claire. My mother is over 90 years old and lives north of Inverness, where I and my brother and sister come from.
My Working Life
I retired from work during the pandemic after a long career in business. I’d always worked full time so this enabled me to spend much more time on my writing. It was very liberating to let my whole mind focus on my characters and plot rather than try to squeeze them in around my work commitments.
What my book series is about
My series 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, like my protagonist, Valérie Hallez. East of Geneva, Saint-Maurice was a key location for the defence of the Alps and is where my other main character, Philippe Cherix, is based.
Where the books are set
We’ve been visiting Switzerland for many years and got to know and love the area around Lake Geneva and down the Rhone valley through Vaud to Villars-sur-Ollon, Saint-Maurice and Martigny. We have seen the Alps in all seasons and weather from warm sunlight on summer walks to the dense fog of October afternoons and the crisp snowy ski-slopes on bright January mornings.
Where I got my inspiration
The inspiration for my WW2 series came from a drive through Geneva’s old town on a rainy October evening, the cobbled lanes a perfect setting for secrets and hiding places. I was transported back to the 1940s.
What I have learnt about writing
I have written for many years and have been published in the last couple. Over the years, I have learnt that persistence is vital, to welcome any feedback on your writing that you can and how important it is to finish a book so you can understand the whole shape of the work.
My writing Day
I always do new writing in the morning after thinking overnight about how I might tackle new scenes and chapters. When I’m editing my books, I also concentrate on this in the morning, particularly at the structural edit stage where I need to think clearly about the order of the story. In the afternoons, I might do some research or update my website.
What I’m working on now
I’m editing book 3 of the series, A Light To Guide Us Home, which is due to be published in April 2023. I’m also doing some follow-up marketing for my second book Under A Brighter Sky which was published at the end of October.
My Favourite Book
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.
About the Book
Spring 1943: Clinging to her little girl’s hand, a young woman runs through the forest and stumbles in the dark. Behind her there are angry shouts in German and shots ringing through the pine trees. Her heart in her mouth, she prays desperately that her husband and son are safe, and that they will see each other again…
As the mountains come alive with bright alpine flowers, Jewish families flee into Switzerland from Nazi-occupied France. Young Resistance fighter Valérie Hallez has hidden Pierre and his son in the attic of her mother’s bookshop. Pierre tells Valerie of his fear that his precious wife and daughter have been captured and Valerie writes letters to her soldier fiancé Philippe, dreaming of the day when they can be safely reunited.
With the police going door to door hunting for refugees, Pierre and his son must go further into Switzerland before they are caught. But Pierre will not leave without his wife and daughter, and nobody in the Resistance knows what has happened to them. Desperate to reunite the family, Valérie puts herself in more and more danger. But when Philippe discovers that the Germans have her listed as a key Resistance fighter, he begs her not to go back to the border. If she does, he might never see her again.
Valérie knows the Nazis will kill her if they find her, but she cannot bear to abandon the mother and child. Breaking her promise to Philippe, she crosses over into France to look for them. But one of Valérie’s friends in the Resistance is betraying secrets to the Nazis, and her life is in terrible danger. When Philippe hurries to save her life, will they both survive? And will Valérie’s efforts to reunite the family be in vain?
Social media links
Facebook: Dianne Haley, Author | Facebook