I’m thrilled that Glynis is staying in with me today to tell me more about The Orphan Thief.
Staying in with Glynis Peters
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Glynis. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Hi Linda, thanks for having me over. I’m thrilled to be here.
I think we already have a good idea, but which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve chosen, The Orphan Thief. It’s my latest novel with One More Chapter / HarperCollins, and I’m rather excited as the paperback launch is this week for the UK and USA (Canada February). The cover is taken from a scene in the book, which means the creator gave it serious thought when putting it together. I love that I have two coloured coats, too. The navy coat is for the American and Canadian market, and the red one is for the UK.
How exciting. Happy publication week! I shall have to see if I can spot the moment in The Orphan Thief when I read the book!
What can we expect from an evening in with The Orphan Thief?
I’m told the story is an emotional read, and took me to a few dark places whilst researching. So, on a night in with this book, I’d suggest having a box of tissues to hand.
Ooo. I love a good cry when I’m reading. This sounds just my kind of story.
I cannot imagine going through a world war, and wanted to express the loss people went through in England, during WWII, and not just adults. Ruby Shadwell and friends are created characters, but believe me, the horrors they experienced were based upon my findings. I wanted to set the book in Coventry again, as I did with my first book, The Secret Orphan.
The blitz took so much from so many. I thought we could have a look at the opening to The Orphan Thief so you can see what I mean:
Coventry, 15th November 1940
Ruby Shadwell stared out into the street, blinked away her disbelief and then looked down once again into darkness over the edge of a large smoking crater. A flash of light from the rising sun emerging from behind a cloud skimmed across scattered shards of glass, giving her an insight as to what was below. The epicentre of horror.
The place her parents and two siblings would have sat enjoying their cocoa around the fire, as they did every night. Ruby had no doubt their routine hadn’t altered despite the air raid warnings.
Even if they had been in the Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden, the scene before her would be the same. Total devastation. Her family crushed to death like ants under the foot of a human.
White-grey flakes fluttered from the sky. She held out her hand. It wasn’t snow, but something like the ash from the fireplace in their house. The house which no longer existed.
Ruby wrapped her arms around her chest and shoulders and gripped hard, digging her fingers into her flesh through the woollen coat she wore. At sixteen, she could not recall a pain so deep, even when her precious grandfather had passed away. Unable to absorb the enormity of the disaster, she remained staring downwards into the crater in the hope it could be a dream. She’d even accept a nightmare. One from which her family clawed their way back to the surface. Back into her life.
Her body, freezing with the November frost and easterly wind, felt stiff and bruised. Heavy drizzle dripped across her face and she brushed it away, her skin sore with cold, but she was unable to move away from the place she once knew as home. How had it come to this?
Walking home from Lammas Road, Ruby had witnessed the first of the bombs before a warden had grabbed her arm and took her at great speed to the public shelter underneath Radford Common.
Someone gave the time as seven-twelve when the sirens blasted their warning around the city. They ran past the group and towards the shelter, the warden shouting for them to run faster. An elderly lady stumbled and the warden left Ruby in order to help. The enemy attacked before the wailing of the siren had stopped. Ruby screamed as a bomb dropped on the rooftops of a nearby street.
A feeling more than the fear of the bogeyman forced her onwards – it sickened her to think she was streets away from the comfort of her family. Her lungs burned with the cold of the evening air and by the time she made it into the shelter, huddled amongst strangers and a few familiar faces, more bombs had fallen. Too many to count, too many to ignore.
Everyone waited for the all clear to sound. It never rang out, but the reassurances and door-banging from
ARP wardens now that the raid was over came as a huge relief. The warden seeing them out of the shelter warned people to be careful of fires and unexploded bombs, and that electricity was no longer on supply.
Ruby moved forward in the queue to leave and was stunned by what she saw as she stepped outside. Enemy bombs had proved themselves to be powerful and destructive – they’d destroyed Coventry.
My goodness Glynis. I can’t wait to read the rest now. You’ve conveyed brilliantly what it must have been like.
I’m glad you think so Linda. Here’s what one of my American readers thought:
That’s fabulous Glynis. You must be thrilled with a review like that.
What else have you brought along and why?
I’ve brought along a few carrot scones, orange squash, bottles of brown ale, and spam sandwiches. I’ve also invited a few friends along; service men and women, a few of the home guard (my granddad is on duty so won’t be able to join us), and ladies from the aeroplane and ammunition factories. The others are on fire watch duties.
(My granddad was in the home guard too!)
The bombers flying back to Germany might pay a visit, so don’t forget to grab your gasmask when heading for the shelter. How about a sing-song to take our mind off things for an hour or so? I’ll start with a Vera Lynn number, We’ll Meet Again.
If it’s all the same to you. I’ll just listen. My singing sounds worse than the air raid siren and we don’t want to panic anyone!
Oh, and just a whisper, I heard there might be sausages at the butcher’s tomorrow. I’ll send my daughter to stand in the queue. Two hours I spent queuing last time. I’ll have to leave early tonight, as I have to drive the bus to town, and am on early shift.
It’s amazing how we take so much for granted now compared with the time of The Orphan Thief isn’t it?
It is Linda. Today, I head to the supermarket whenever there is a get-together, where there is no shortage of treats. I’d never think of standing in a queue for food any longer than a few minutes. The thought of wearing a gasmask is beyond me. I can’t bear things over my face.
I agree. I’m very claustrophobic.
My grandfather used to finish his day job, then join the Home Guards for the evening, after he’d tended the vegetable plot. Days and nights were filled with endless chores, so to have a siren go off just as you manage to climb into bed, must have been exhausting. Writing these books have made me eternally grateful for those who had so little, yet gave so much.
I bet it has. Tell me a bit more about your writing style.
My writing style of capturing the WWII life and romance, is a bit different to some of the saga books out there. I try to bring the strife and struggles of loss to the fore. I’m told this book has achieved just what I set out to do, and now I’ve written about WWII Coventry, I feel can visit the city for the first time. I didn’t want to lose the image of the war-torn city by visiting, and folk find it hard to believe I’ve never been. One reader praised my setting as she lives there, for which I heaved a sigh of relief, but was also delighted I’d managed to express what I’d learned enough to satisfy a true Coventarian. My next book will be set in a different blitz city; Southampton.
I think The Orphan Thief sound brilliant Glynis. Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about it.
Let me tell readers a bit more:
The Orphan Thief
From the international bestselling author of The Secret Orphan
When all seems lost…
As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz.
Hope still survives…
Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life. And a chance encounter with street urchin Tommy gives Ruby just the chance she needs…
And love will overcome.
Because Tommy brings with him Canadian Sergeant Jean-Paul Clayton. Jean-Paul is drawn to Ruby and wants to help her, but Ruby cannot bear another loss.
Can love bloom amidst the ruins?
Or will the war take Ruby’s last chance at happiness too?
Published in paperback by Harper Collins imprint One More Chapter on 23rd January 2020, The Orphan Thief is available for purchase through the links here.
You can also purchase your e-copy of The Orphan Thief here.
About Glynis Peters
Glynis Peters, lives in Dovercourt, Essex, England.
She married her school sweetheart in 1979, and they have three children. They also have three grandchildren, with another due in the spring of 2019, the year of their ruby wedding Anniversary.
In 2014, Glynis was short-listed for the Festival of Romantic Fiction New Talent Award.
In 2018, HarperCollins/HarperImpulse published her novel, The Secret Orphan. The novel rose to several bestseller positions within a few months of release.
When Glynis is not writing she enjoys fishing with her husband, making greetings cards, cross stitch and the company of her granddaughters.
Her grandson lives in Canada, and it is for that reason she introduced a Canadian pilot into The Secret Orphan.
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