Category Archives: Research

Where has 2023 gone?

It seems impossible that Christmas is almost upon us. Every year I say this, but this year, really, how on earth did a whole year slip away while I wasn’t looking. Next year I’m determined to hang on to it.

To update you on my books, my last Bletchley Park novel in the series: Wartime Wishes at Bletchley Park, came out at the end of November in time, I hope, for readers to curl up for some relaxation during all the mad preparations for Christmas and over the festivities.

On Saturday I gave a talk at Ringmer Village Hall (near Lewes, Sussex) about how I do my research for my historical novels. When I’d spread all my novels out on the table I could hardly believe there were twelve, especially as I was such a late starter – just turned 60!

Once again I had a super audience who were laughing along with all my experiences that I went through to exploit for authenticity in my novels. I described going on a cargo ship as one of my modern heroines, Juliet, did when she followed in her grandparents footsteps to Australia. They had emigrated in 1913 when they were only nineteen and twenty years of age and had just become engaged and were in steerage on a magnificent ship called the Orsova. I based it on my own grandparents who did exactly the same thing just before the Great War.

Another experience was piloting a Spitfire! Yes, you read it here! All right, it was a simulator but it felt absolutely real to me. I’m not keen on flying generally but felt I had to appreciate how it felt to be in control for the sake of my heroine in A Sister’s Courage where Raine joined the Air Transport Auxiliary and flew many different planes in wartime. It was a fabulous experience. The Spitfire was so sensitive to every movement and seemed to work out what I wanted it to do before I knew myself! The instructor assured me every detail was exactly the same, even to the smell of the cockpit.

And a third example was when my late husband and I went to Ditchley Park on a Churchill tour and we slept in Clemmie Churchill’s bedroom and enjoyed her huge en-suite bathroom. Apparently, her bath was bigger than Winston’s so he often used to come in from his adjoining room and use it! So, reader, Molly Green was only a watermark away from the great man’s posterior!

In a strange way it’s easier to write novels when one has had plenty of life’s experiences. I’ve had a life full of adventures and almost always have something to draw on, particularly the emotions that have accompanied my travels and meetings with people from different backgrounds, sometimes foreign, and in unusual work places – all grist for a novelist.

Denise's 1st class compartmentAnd my job is made even more fun nowadays as my fantastically-creative builders have now finished my new office in the garden – a First Class carriage with a real 30’s train door!  I can’t wait to get in there each morning and start writing! This time I’m revealing a young woman’s life as a secretary in Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms during the Second World War. I visited them decades ago but am due to go again shortly to refresh myself as to the layout and the many different departments. Conditions were terrible to work in but it’s incredibly fascinating and I urge you to make a resolution to go this coming year.

In the meantime I hope you have a Merry Christmas. See you in the New Year!

Molly Green