This week on The Road to Liberation blog series, I’m pleased to welcome Fenella J. Miller, as she shares her inspiration for A Long Way Back, and a lovely extract to boot.
A Long Way Back, my contribution to this incredible ten book collection of World War II stories, was inspired by a comment from my editor. I was racking my brains as to what to write about that fitted the title – The Road to Liberation – when she suggested that I write about a character from my bestselling Barbara’s War series. Squadron Leader Alex Everton, the hero of the series, is missing for half the final book as he’s been shot down somewhere over France.
The Long Way Back is his story and fills in the missing nine months. I became so engrossed in my research I’m determined to write a series featuring the French Resistance.
Everything that Alex experiences after his Spitfire is shot down over Dieppe actually happened to someone during the war. Obviously, no Evader was unfortunate enough to endure all the hardships and misadventures that he and his fellow pilots did, but he’s a resourceful young man and, of course, eventually made his way back to his wife and son.
I always have RAF fighter pilots as my heroes because both my father and stepfather were in the RAF during World War II. When they were alive, I wasn’t a historical fiction writer and I really wish that I’d talked more about their exploits when I’d had the opportunity.
Here is an extract to give you a taste of what my book’s about:
They’d barely reached cruising height and speed when the radio crackled into life. ‘Red Leader, bandits include many snappers. I say again, many snappers, keep a good lookout. Over.’
Snappers was the codename for Messerschmitt 109s. He acknowledged the information and kept his eyes peeled. Then he saw them approaching. They looked like a small swarm of bees from that distance.
There was a well-known saying in the RAF that it wasn’t the Jerry that you saw that got you, but the one that you didn’t. How true that was.
‘Tally-ho, lads, stay in your pairs. Good luck and good hunting.’ There was no time to say more as the first of the 109s screamed towards him. Streams of tracer twisted past his port wing and he could see the flashes of the Germans guns. His eight Brownings spluttered and the pungent smell of burnt charges filtered into his mask. The bullets found the target and the cockpit of his enemy disintegrated.
No time to congratulate himself as two more were on him seeking revenge. He hauled on the stick and the drag pressed on his face and he almost blacked out. He kicked on the left rudder in the hope that this would confuse his opponents.
His head cleared and for a moment the sky was empty. Then from nowhere they were on him. A stream of solid fire engulfed the kite. He was hit. Flames engulfed his right wing. Bail or burn. He heaved and struggled to get out.
Fenella J Miller was born in the Isle of Man. Her father was a Yorkshire man and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She has worked as a nanny, cleaner, field worker, hotelier, chef, secondary and primary teacher and is now a full time writer.
She has over fifty Regency romantic adventures published plus four Jane Austen variations, four Victorian sagas and eight WW2 family sagas. She is a hybrid writer producing two World War II books a year for Aria Head of Zeus as well as four Regency romances. She lives in a small village in Essex with her British Shorthair cat. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.
To connect with Fenella, visit her website, connect with her on social media, or email her.
Fenella J Miller Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FenellaJMiller/
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