I was recently asked, by none other than thriller writer, Lee Childwho, it just so happens, is a huge Maisie Dobbs fanwhich of my books is my personal favorite. Wow, that was a hard question to answer! But here's what I told him, in an interview soon to appear on Amazon.com:
"That's such a difficult question, Lee, because each book not only represents a different place on my journey as a writer, but has been inspired by something that touched me at a different time. I think Maisie Dobbs will always be very tightly held in my affections, because it was my first book and it was written at a difficult time in my life when I was recovering from a horrible accident. The other choice would be The Mapping of Love & Death, because it was inspired by the true story of a soldier whose remains lay under Belgian soil for some 90 years until unearthed by a farmer tilling his fields. I learned more about him when I became involved in the quest to discover his origins. Whenever I look at that book, I think of a young man lost to war who was never identified and who was eventually laid to rest as "A Soldier of The Great War, Known Unto God." I ache for the parents who never knew where their son died, for he had probably been listed as 'Missing, Presumed Dead.'"
I know many of you have been awaiting the paperback edition of The Mapping of Love & Death, and you'll be delighted to learn that publication is just around the cornerFebruary 22nd is the date!
And for those who have been anxious to get your hands on a copy of my new novel, A Lesson In Secrets, it will be in stores on March 22nd. The Appearances page on my website now has most of the events on my book tour listedthere are still a few more to finalize and more information to add, but it's always a good idea to double-check with the bookstore where I'll be speaking, just in case there have been some last minute chances to the time. In addition to the annual book tour, I am at various other events throughout the year, so do check back on occasion if you're interested in attending.
One of the little-known aspects of the Great War 1914-1918 is the fact that women in Britain played a huge part in the development of the Secret Service, which actually spanned several different departments. During the war some 54,000 women worked in intelligenceas everything from clerks to code-breakers to what we might call "undercover agents" today. In fact, the youngest workers were members of the Girl Guides, who were brought in to run messages between departmentsoften requiring them to travel across London from place to place. Apparently the authorities tried the Boy Scouts first, but discovered that boys were more likely to play hooky, whereas the young girl guides took their work very seriously. In A Lesson In Secrets, you'll be finding out a little more about women agents in wartime. In this novel, Maisie takes on an assignment for the Secret Service at a time when many feared another war could be on the horizon. They hoped it would be a far horizon.
I'll be writing to you again soon!
With all good wishes,