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The Secret Letter

Today is the day my novel The Secret Letter is published. The story was inspired by letters my mother wrote to her own mother when she was evacuated to the Lake District during the war. I was intrigued by how stoical she was, how cheerful in these difficult circumstances. I began to consider how to turn her experiences as a schoolgirl, university student and Wren into a novel. At the same time I was also intrigued by what life must have been like for ordinary Germans during the war. Did they all agree with the direction their country was taking? Thus the story of my German heroine – Magda - came into being. My own father (who met my mother at university where they were both studying to be architects) joined the RAF and became a pilot flying secret missions over Germany. He was eventually shot down and became a prisoner of war. He used to tell us the tales of daring-do over the lunch and supper table, and I had long wanted to tell that story in a novel. And so these three themes came together in the Secret Letter. I thought it might be interesting to reveal a photograph of my parents as young people – my mother in the Wrens, my Dad in his RAF uniform and a second photograph of them in their heyday… My Dad is sadly no longer with us, and my mother has just suffered her second stroke, but she’s doing well. This book is for you darlings…


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