Marching into Spring

Good morning, everyone. It’s hard to believe it’s almost spring when I look out of my office window where rain is hurtling down and it’s still cold. But I’m lovely and toasty in my railway carriage where I write.

Bella, my elderly rescued cat, finally plucked up the courage to come and see me in the carriage and when she visits, she likes to jump onto the train seat. I’ve prepared it in advance for any wet paws by unfolding an old sheet across it. She then curls up to nap for a few hours (that’s her definition of a nap!) until I emerge needing coffee. (photo attached)

I’ve written the first draft of a new novel which I’ve just finished editing for the umpteenth time. This last edit was serious as it was the one my critique writing partner, thriller and historical fiction writer Alison Morton, meticulously went through, leaving a trail of red-penned alterations and suggestions.

My heroine, Katie, is a secretary, nursing a devastating personal secret, and lands a job in Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall. It’s a wonderfully claustrophobic atmosphere for a novelist to explore and perfect for secrets to be kept under wraps (though not always successfully!) and romantic liaisons to develop!

I’m thinking about the next novel after this. As an author, it’s wise to have at least one good idea ahead of your current one. This time, the setting will be on a country estate, requisitioned for more than one other purpose. Because of the war, a twist of fate will bring my new heroine and hero into contact with one another. That’s all I’m up to in my head and I have to trust myself that I can write it and my publishers will eventually transform it into an engaging historical novel.

This requires lots of research but I can’t pretend

it’s a chore. I love research. I’ve learnt so much about the women I write who did unusual jobs in the Second World War, mostly through their published memoirs, so I’m confident I’m writing straight from the heart on behalf of these marvellous women. And my goodness, the more I uncover, the more there is to learn! But if by reading my novels, a reader gains some insight into the kinds of difficult situations these women, sometimes still in their ‘teens, faced, then I consider my job worthwhile.

And lastly, if anyone lives in the Wandsworth area and would like to come to my talk on Bletchley Park to be held on 4th April in the Avery Care Home, do get in touch.

That’s it from me. Happy reading!

Molly Green

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

Cats, Savannah and a new book

Panorama of the River Street district, Savannah at night

I know I’ve neglected posting on my blog but editing and proofing the latest book and starting a new one seems to have taken up more time than usual, besides other smaller writing projects, one of them being a volunteer to be a reader in the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It made me realise what a huge responsibility it is to comment and steer newbies in the right direction without discouraging them. I put my own manuscripts through the NWS a decade ago and found the reports to be really helpful so I do hope my protégée will feel  the same!

And then I’ve had two wonderful trips away – the first with my three pals in Port Isaac (Doc Martin’s seaside location!) where we use much of the time to concentrate on developing our current novels, broken up by delicious meals and walks to the harbour in the evenings with a bottle of something fizzy between us, all interspersed with giggles and laughter. What a tonic they were, just when I needed it.

In June my sister and I went to see her son and his family who live in Savannah in the USA. Having lived in the States, including Georgia, for many years, Carole and I knew the city a little, but this time we really got to know it. Thank goodness it remains very similar to how we remembered it, as it’s under all sorts of protection because of its unique history. And of course it was lovely to be with her family again after many years and to see that my great-niece has become such a beautiful and gifted young lady.

Adam, my nephew, and his wife, Liz, took us to this amazing bookshop in an ancient building (for America!) where they have three cats who live there and lazily greet the customers – if they feel like it, that is. I was in heaven and could have stayed all day wandering around all the nooks and crannies gazing at US books I’d never come across, as well as making a fuss of the cats. I found a fascinating book, a recently published best-seller about the American women codebreakers in the Second World War that I knew nothing about.

Although their working circumstances were more bearable than that of our girls who were working in freezing cold Huts at Bletchley Park, they worked just as hard and were just as successful as their British compatriots, not to mention they put up with the same kind of comments from the men as our girls did – that women were not suitable for that kind of work. For anyone interested in women working in the war on the other side of the pond, I can’t recommend it highly enough: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy.

Talking of cats, I have another cat! I’ve been without Dougie for a whole year and was miserable but couldn’t have one until I’d finished my travels this year. But a week ago Bella was delivered. She’s another rescued cat, 13 years old, one eye, both ears lopped because of suspected cancer, skin allergy (mainly dealt with by special diet), arthritis, and very overweight. It wasn’t a surprise to be told I was the first one to enquire about her after I’d spotted her on the website where she stayed month after month.

Well, people who overlooked her don’t know what they’re missing. She’s the most lovable, sweetest cat I’ve ever known, and I’ve had some fabulous cats in my life. And her purr – it’s deafening! I told her she sounds like a Spitfire revving up. Her whole body, not to mention my lap and the sofa, vibrates! If I can get her weight down gradually, she’s going to live a really good life. I can’t wait to introduce her to my garden as she hasn’t been outside for many months and keeps looking wistfully through my patio doors.

And my last piece of news is that my garden office is nearly finished. My two incredibly talented builders (I call them ‘the boys’) have created it in the shape of a carriage on a steam train! Inside, is a First Class compartment which leads to the office. I love old trains and my heroines are always travelling on them in my wartime novels, so when I move my temporary office out to my carriage this week I will have a perfect atmosphere to work in. Photos for you to see in next post.

The only thing left for me to say is that the third Bletchley Park book in the series: Wartime Wishes at Bletchley Park is out on 23rd November. Here’s the cover so do look out for it.

I wish you all happy reading in what at this minute appears to be an extended summer.

Spring Travels

The US cover for Winter Wedding at Bletchley Park

These last few weeks I’m back in travelling mode. In April I kicked off with a visit to Dorchester to be with two of my writing pals, Gail Aldwin and Suzanne Goldring. Unfortunately, Carol McGrath, one of our foursome called the Vestas, couldn’t make it (she was on her own travels).

We’re all published writers covering a variety of genres and take these retreats seriously by being disciplined in progressing with our current work and stopping in the afternoons to read out our chapters and critique them. That’s probably the most valuable part of our working holiday and it didn’t disappoint as my goal was to write the very first chapter of my next novel. Result! However, it needs some strict restructuring and editing but it’s normal for this beginning stage.

Then in May my sister, Carole, and I went to Yorkshire on a steam train holiday with Inside Track. They are a small family business and pay attention to detail, besides having great characters for tour guides. My interest in trains of the 30s was sated by wandering round steam train sheds where you could watch mainly retired men at work restoring the carriages, trying out compartments in first and third class carriages at a super train museum (the third class was absolutely luxurious compared with our first class today) and speaking to all sorts of volunteers that knew everything there was to know about steam trains. Not only do I love them – and miss travelling on them as I used to when a child and teenager – but I write Second World War novels and my heroines are always boarding and alighting from trains, sometimes in highly dangerous situations.

I have a very personal interest in the details of the exterior and interior of a wartime train in that my two builder/craftsmen are building me a railway carriage in my garden. The minute they finish, two-thirds of it will become my office where I’ll be writing my next novels! The other third will be designed and fitted out like half a first-class compartment. (Note the authentic train door propped against the wall.) That’s where I’ll do my proofreading, dream up the next obstacle to throw at my heroine, and maybe even have a nap. I can’t wait. There will be updates!

Progress so far on ‘the carriage’!

My next travel on the agenda is to go with Carole to the States at the end of this month to visit her son, Adam, and his family in the South. Covid has prevented her from seeing them all during the last years so we intend to make up for lost time. They recently moved to Savannah in Georgia which has to be one of my favourite cities.

I think that’s it for now. Spring, weatherwise, has been a bit of a let-down, though the countryside looks beautiful and green. Summer is just around the corner when I’ll be back from the US ready to give you another update.

Happy reading and writing!


Synchronicity gone berserk!

Molly Green looking surprised!

When you’re an author you rarely know the impact one of your books might have on a reader. I recently had a Canadian lady contact me through this website and this is what happened. (She has given me permission to use it in its entirety for my blog.):

Hello Molly,
Greetings from Canada.
I just purchased your novel “An Orphan in the Snow” to give as a gift.
I felt I had to write to you and explain the circumstances surrounding the purchase.It was on a shelf in a bookstore. For some reason my eye went to it and no others. I feel that synchronicity was at play and I think you will agree when I explain.
I have a friend who is celebrating her birthday on February 13 and I was out today looking for a birthday gift for her. The bookstore visit was for myself as I am an avid reader. However I had to purchase your book for her BECAUSE her name is JUNE LAVENDER and her grandmother came to Canada in the early 1900’s as one of Dr Barnardo’s children! You definitely wrote this book for June.
I cannot tell you how excited I was when I read the inside flap of your book and saw the connection to the main.character. I cannot wait to give her the book and see the look on her face. We were born in 1940 (me) and 1943 (June) so we are both products of WWII and remember the stories our parents told us about the war.
I just wanted to let you know how happy you have made me, the giver and June, who will soon receive it. As I said, SYNCHRONICITY at work…I was destined to find that book.Be assured we will now both be reading more and more of your books.

These coincidences are quite amazing, but for me it was the first one I couldn’t take in. Imagine wanting to treat yourself to a new novel and you’re in a bookshop facing shelves of fiction. Your eye goes to only one book which you take down from the shelf. What could have made Carleen’s eye go to mine amongst scores – even hundreds of others? It really was as though she was fated to pick that one. We’ve exchanged quite a few emails since then where another coincidence came to light. Canadian June’s father was in a wheelchair, and my fictitious one was, too, though he was faking it.

Tragically, June recently lost her only daughter and Carleen told me her friend is really enjoying my book which is managing to distract her for an hour or so whenever she picks it up. I’m not ashamed to say it brought a tear to my eye and I feel incredibly humbled that my story was able to give her a little relief – even though only in the minutest way.

Here is a photograph of the ‘real’ June Lavender (who gave me permission to use it).

Other news is that today I finished the first big round of edits for my third novel which completes The Bletchley Park series. There will be several more full edits but I find this particular stage is the most tricky as I needed to fill in some gaps of information where I was shaky at the time of writing and which could only be achieved by further research. Then I had to spot any continuity howlers, and finally determine whether I really had an entertaining and hopefully informative historical story that hung together. I will do the easy bit of grammar, punctuation, typos, tautologies, weak adjectives . . . the list goes on . . . during the next round of edits.

The publishers have just come up with the new title (not yet to be revealed) but Bletchley Park Book 3 should be on the shelves by the end of November – just in time for you know what! Hopefully, when you’re looking for a gift for yourself or a friend, your eye will go to my latest novel out of all the other hundreds of authors, just as Carleen’s in her local bookshop in Canada did!

See you in April when we’ll have longer, lighter days which will hopefully put a spring in our step.



Dizzy Heights!

Where has January disappeared to? One minute it was New Year’s Eve and suddenly we’re almost in February. I’ve been working non-stop – well, I’ve broken off to make teas and coffees for the builders who are yet to finish the complete refurbishment of my house and seen my sister for strolls round the delightful historic town of Lewes – but mainly I’ve been chuntering along with the third book in my series: The Bletchley Park Girls. This new one is as yet untitled, although I’m hoping the Avon HarperCollins’ team will think the one I have in mind is as perfect as I do!

Winter Wedding at Bletchley Park, published at the end of last year, made no 2 on Amazon in Military Romance, War Story Fiction and Saga, and Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park, published last spring, did actually hit the no 1 spot in the same categories! I’d like to thank all the lovely reviewers who filled in lots of stars on the Ratings and Reviews of those two books which pushed me to such dizzy heights.

It’s wonderful and slightly humbling to read how people are enjoying my books. It truly gives me the inspiration to press on with the current draft and begin planning the new story which will (hopefully) follow but is usually at this juncture only in maddeningly hazy fragments. Planning a brand-new story with new heroine and hero is a really special part of being a fiction writer. I love seeing how my heroine in particular develops as I keep in close contact with her from beginning to end, although I do pop into the head of the hero occasionally if I feel he’s burning to tell his side of the story when he’s been misunderstood!

On the 11th February, in the afternoon, I’m giving a talk on Bletchley Park and a book signing in Ringmer, the village where I moved to a few months ago. If you’re in the Lewes area on that day, I’d be delighted to see you, but you do need to book at Ringmer Library. You can email them at (note, it’s not ‘gmail’ but simply ‘mail’) And after the talk, for a mere £5 per head, you can enjoy a nostalgic afternoon tea with like-minded readers. I think it’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to hearing anyone who has Bletchley Park connections.

Will see you in March (if not before at the talk!) and in the meantime, Happy Reading!


Google Maps link for Ringmer Village Hall    Post code for your GPS/satnav:  BN8 5QH

Not all Greek to me!

What a month! The builders are still finishing the renovations to my house, I’m pressing on with Book 3 of The Bletchley Park Girls and have recently returned from a fortnight’s holiday abroad – the first in three years.

The holiday incorporated the Mani Literary Festival in Stoupa, a beautiful village in Greece where I was invited to speak. It was a 2-day event straddling September and October. Two other writing friends, Carol McGrath, and Suzanne Goldring were also asked. We all flew out to Kalamata the day before and settled in quickly as we know the area, courtesy of Carol who has a house close by and has regularly invited us to stay.

One of the restaurants in the village offers its delightful gardens to the Lit Fest every year so the talks took place outside in perfect weather – very warm and sunny but not boiling hot. Each of us was invited to tutor a workshop and give a talk relating to our books. I decided to do the 2-hour workshop on Memoir Writing in the morning and in the afternoon spend the allotted hour discussing Bletchley Park.

I thoroughly enjoyed giving the workshop, where I had nine women and one man round the table, showing them through examples of my own two memoirs how to tackle them, and letting the attendees have time to do my set exercises and read them out. People’s lives are nothing short of fascinating, even though several of them apologised for not having done anything particularly exciting.

‘It’s like jokes,’ I told them. ‘It’s not the content – it’s the way you tell ’em.’

Suzanne Goldring and me after our talk

Then in the afternoon Suzanne interviewed me about using Bletchley Park as a setting for my series. I explained that the story wouldn’t have worked in any other location and had become a character in its own right. They were a very attentive audience of about 50 and several people asked me questions at the end, but it was surprising to learn that so few had ever visited the Park. I told them Hitler said the Enigma would be impossible to crack as you’d need 10,000 people to do it and asked them how many staff they thought ended up at Bletchley Park. They were surprised to learn it was 10,000!

‘And when you visit you’ll get a good idea of what took place as you wander through the various Huts and Blocks,’ I continued. ‘The atmosphere plunges you right into the Second World War and you get a real sense as to how it must have felt for all those who tirelessly worked there. It’s been calculated many times that Bletchley Park shaved two years off the duration of the war, besides saving hundreds of thousands of lives, so I do urge you to experience it for yourself.’

I had two copies of the first book of my series: Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park to give away. When I said: ‘The first person to put up their hand—’ a lady sitting in the front row immediately shot her hand up. I wagged my finger at her. ‘You don’t even know what you’re volunteering for.’ To much laughter, she said, ‘I’m happy to take the risk.’ So I handed her a book but she said, ‘I’ve read this one,’ and gave it back to me, saying she’d read all my books and loved every one. What a thrill to meet such a fan. She came up to me afterwards and said I’d kept her sanity! She’d been going through a rough time with her family and my books had given her an hour or two’s reprieve at night.

 Margaret, if you happen to be reading this, I do hope you won’t mind my telling it, but that’s what we authors hope will happen when we write our books. They can provide not only an escape from our problems but sometimes even throw a light on how we might overcome or resolve them in real life.

As writers we usually never have the chance to know the impact our stories are having when they go out into the world. It’s quite humbling, when you think about it, but it’s the most rewarding part of the whole process – that the reader loves what we do. You can’t ask for more.

Happy writing to all the new Mani memoir writers!

And until next month, happy reading!

Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park is out now.

September 1939. London is in blackout, war has been declared, but Dulcie (Dale) Treadwell can think only of American broadcaster, Glenn Reeves, who didn’t say goodbye before leaving for Berlin.

Heartbroken, Dulcie is posted to Bletchley Park, where she must concentrate instead on cracking the German Enigma codes. The hours are long and the conditions tough, with little recognition from above. Until she breaks her first code…

But when a spiteful act of jealousy leads to Dulcie’s brutal dismissal, her life is left in pieces once more. Is it too late for Dulcie to prove her innocence and keep the job she loves? And will her heart ever truly heal if she doesn’t hear from Glenn again…?

A Winter Wedding at Bletchley Park will be published on 24th November this year.

When Rosie Frost was jilted on her wedding day, she didn’t think life could get any worse. But six years later in the throes of the Second World War, she is unceremoniously dismissed from her dream job after they discover her illegitimate child.

Thankfully, top secret war office Bletchley Park recognises Rosie’s talent and recruits her to decipher their Italian naval signals. Happy to be doing her bit for the war effort, Rosie settles into her new life.

But when she spots a familiar face at the Park, Rosie’s world threatens to come crashing down once more. Can she put her heartbreak behind her? And will wedding bells ring out across Bletchley Park before the year is out?

Moving slowly forward…

It’s been another hectic month for me, what with viewings on my house which recently went on the market and accepting an offer within days, then a week later falling through, so more viewings and several offers, I’m hoping the estate agent (my ex-company!) has finally produced the right family who’ll stick with it until the proposed exchange and completion next month.

Getting rid of stuff that won’t fit into a smaller place is a job in itself. I’m really hopeful that I’ll soon be moving from Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells – where I’ve been perfectly happy for 30 or so years – to Ringmer, near Lewes. Now I’m on my own, I want a change. My sister moved to Lewes a year ago and loves it so I bought a place needing a full renovation just two miles away. She’s become my project manager and slowly, mostly because of so many delivery delays, it’s taking shape.

I’ve had to sell or give away stuff to friends, donate to charities, tag items for auction – mostly my late husband’s myriad collections, furniture and over a thousand books that I can’t cope with (I’ve kept around 100 of Edward’s books because he had an amazing variety of reference books on the Second World War which I mostly write about), and generally declutter. All difficult decisions.

And the third thing that’s keeping me busy is that I’ve managed to finish my second novel in The Bletchley Park Girls series. This one is called A Winter Wedding at Bletchley Park. I now have it back from the editor for me to look at her suggestions and do another full edit. I like this part of the process because every change I make will ensure a better book. But it takes a lot of thought with even small alterations as these can still ripple through the novel causing more read-throughs and checks to be made.

My current novel, the first in the series: Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park, was published at the end of April, and I’m thrilled to say that last week on Amazon it made No 1 in both paperback and kindle version in the category ‘Military Romance’. I couldn’t believe it when I read it one evening just before getting ready for bed, but here’s the proof:

At the time of writing, the e-book is on sale for just 99 pence.

As well as editing, and after three attempts to write Chapter One of the third book in the Bletchley Park series, I’ve finally settled on where I think the opening should take place. But even my lovely editor at HarperCollins doesn’t know this yet, so I’ll keep it under wraps for the time being. It will probably change again anyway when I get right into the thick of the characters and the plotting.

Well, I’d better bring this to a close and carry on with the edits of Winter Wedding as although publication day is not until 24th November, I notice it’s already on Amazon for pre-order! That’s a good enough incentive to crack on.

Enjoy the lovely summer weather we are about to have and hope to see you next month. Happy reading!

Taking the plunge . . .

What a wonderful few days I recently spent in Port Isaac with my writing pals, having picked the best week weather-wise. Straight after breakfast and a walk every day along the coast, we came back to the cottage and got down to work. You could almost cut the atmosphere with a knife, we were concentrating so hard, heads bent over our laptops, tapping away, all writing very different novels. Then in the afternoons we’d congregate and one by one read out our current chapters, then talk about anything that struck us – how it could be improved, throwing out ideas to fill in a pesky plot hole, any info dumps, repetitions . . . the kinds of things that creep into the very first draft of a chapter.

The combination of work, fun and laughter, mixed with sea air and excellent food and wine is heady stuff, and although none of us was ready to go home when the time came, we all had the satisfaction that we were far better equipped to finish our novels than we had been when we arrived.

Dougie, my cat, greeted me enthusiastically. He never ignores me like some of my friends’ cats do when their owners come back from holiday. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the house was going on the market that week and we would be moving in the summer as he looks upon the garden as his territory and regularly sniffs every inch.

Everything happened so quickly. Russets is too big for me now there’s just me, but it’s a perfect set-up for a family with parents working from home. And that’s exactly the situation of the couple who made an acceptable offer on Easter weekend. They want to move fast to make the most of the summer in the garden. It really is a joy with its rolling lawns, wild areas and pond, wrap-around terrace, and a pergola topped by a lush grapevine producing delicious bunches of sweet grapes. Enjoying lunch beneath it on a hot sunny day feels as though you’re in France or Italy – especially when the wine is flowing! I know the new family will love it.

I’m planning to move to Ringmer, near Lewes, the town where my sister moved to nearly a year ago. She’s so happy there and I want a change so our plan is only a whisker away from fruition. Talking of whiskers, I hope Dougie won’t be too shocked with the change (smaller garden but I’m sure there’ll still be plenty of creatures to terrorise). I’m looking forward to being in a completely different area, and Lewes with its river and castle, and surrounded by the South Downs, is absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait!

My book news is exciting: The first one in the new series: The Bletchley Park Girls, called Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park, is out on 28th April. I loved following Dulcie (Dale)Treadwell’s journey as she steps through the door to the mysterious Hut 4 and uncovers some of its secrets.

Do take a look at it.

See you next month.

September 1939. London is in blackout, war has been declared, but Dulcie Treadwell can think only of American broadcaster, Glenn Reeves, who didn’t say goodbye before leaving for Berlin.

Heartbroken, Dulcie is posted to Bletchley Park, where she must concentrate instead on cracking the German Enigma codes. The hours are long and the conditions tough, with little recognition from above. Until she breaks her first code…

But when a spiteful act of jealousy leads to Dulcie’s brutal dismissal, her life is left in pieces once more. Is it too late for Dulcie to prove her innocence and keep the job she loves? And will her heart ever truly heal if she doesn’t hear from Glenn again…?

A new, inspiring wartime series set at Bletchley Park, perfect for fans of Nancy Revell and Donna Douglas.

Amazon UK   Amazon US    Apple     Kobo    Barnes & Noble (Wartime at Bletchley Park)

Quarter to midnight

Being a writer can be a lonely occupation – Ahhh – but I’m lucky enough to make up the fourth woman of two established writing groups. Suzanne Goldring, one of the authors, has a cottage in Port Isaac – you know, Doc Martin’s country – and invited our group down for our pre-Easter get-together. Oh, joy!

Though it’s not what everyone would consider a holiday. We’re very disciplined and when we meet we always put in plenty of solid work, but make sure we have regular walks along the coast, and wonderful meals both at ‘home’ and in the superb village restaurants. This is combined with much laughter and a slap on the wrists if we are slacking workwise.

We began making plans. Gail Aldwin and Carol McGrath, the other two authors, decided to drive down from their homes, but I chose the Riviera Night Sleeper from London to Penzance. I didn’t want to lose a minute of the first day by travelling.

I arrived at Paddington Station around 10.15pm and made for the first-class lounge. No sooner did I have a mug of tea in my hand, and a complimentary bag of roasted peanuts and biscuits (included in the ticket price) than the porter announced that the train outside the window was ours and ready to board. I knew it didn’t leave until much later, so I finished my tea, polished off a packet of biscuits and all the nuts (not having had any supper – too excited), and grabbed my suitcase and bag. It was time to find my coach.

I adore trains, especially those going on a long journey. And one leaving at a quarter to midnight . . .  Well, that just tops it.

You don’t want to take a suitcase larger than an in-flight bag as the corridor is only one person wide. But the staff were friendly and helpful. A gorgeous-looking woman wheeled my case to the correct cabin, then showed me all the intricacies of how it worked. The worktop hid a good-sized sink with plenty of boiling hot and cold water, a breakfast tray could be pulled down from the back wall of the bed, there was a shallow wardrobe and an abundance of light switches, including an overhead reading lamp, often not even found in a hotel. The bed with its crisp white cover and pillows looked so inviting, I was tempted to slip under the duvet there and then.

But it was only quarter to eleven. The space was too cramped to unpack, and we still had an hour to go. I decided to wander down to the bar. My stomach was protesting but all they had in the savoury section were packets of crisps. Luckily, I had my emergency oatcakes with me. I settled in a comfortable chair at one of the tables and the smiling girl behind the counter brought me a quarter bottle of Prosecco (not included in ticket price!) and a small glass with ice. Although I had my book with me, I got chatting to a very nice woman across the way. Dead on quarter to midnight the train began to move.

I love that moment. It’s spine tingling. You feel you could be taken anywhere. All you have to do is sit back and relax – or in my case, find your cabin again, get into pj’s, make-up removed, teeth cleaned, and hop into the narrowest bed ever, but with an excellent mattress. Lie back and allow yourself to be trundled through the night.

Well, that’s the idea. But a poor sleeper like me doesn’t stand a chance, even with the gentle rocking which should have lulled me off. The train was quiet of human voices and the engine was the merest gentle background hum, but my brain was over-active. I did drift a few times but was relieved when 5.30 rolled round and I could open the blackout blind to watch the delicate pinks and oranges of a stunning sunrise.

By the time I was washed and dressed there was a knock on my door.

‘Breakfast, madam,’ the young man said, thrusting a paper carrier bag in my hands.

Inside the bag I found tea in a styrofoam cup (with lid!), a glass of orange juice and some airline-style bits and pieces I didn’t really fancy. Next time I shall go for the porridge.

It was a scramble to alight at Bodmin Parkway. The same young man came to grab my small case and gestured me to hurry down the long corridor. He set the case on the platform, warned me not to fall down the gap, jumped back in, slamming the door shut, then shouted goodbye. The stop was no more than a minute.

But I was here! There was Dave, my driver, waving from the entrance of the station and soon I was settled in the back of his cab, on my way to Port Isaac. I kept my eyes peeled as the film crew were scheduled to be here at any time. We arrived to find the sea showing only a hint of frilly white edges, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The picture postcard village was slumbering in the early morning sunshine.

‘It wasn’t like this last week,’ Dave said with a grimace. ‘You couldn’t move in the centre for filming.’

Seems I’ve timed it just right.

Now the real work begins.