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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Beauty Chorus Blog Tour

I’m delighted to welcome Kate Lord Brown to my blog today as part of her tour for ‘The Beauty Chorus’.

‘The Beauty Chorus’ tells the story of three young women who sign up for the ATA during the Second World War. Regular readers of my blog will know that this is a historical period which I’m really interested in, so I wondered what had drawn Kate to this particular story.

Kate said:

'I think this particular story chose me - it wasn't so much the period as the idea that these young girls did this incredibly dangerous, brave work and no one knew about them. It's an era I know pretty well historically, because I specialised in Modern Art for my undergraduate degree, and I wrote my thesis on photography and fasion of the 30s and 40s. So in terms of popular culture - music, film, art, it's a historical period I feel comfortable with and love.

I like writing about relatively recent history because of the resources you have at your fingertips - the amazing sound archives and interviews of the Imperial War Museum, for example. One of the more poignant things about writing about WW2 is that each year there are less people who experienced it first hand - it was an amazing privilege to talk to veterans who had flown with the Air Transport Auxiliary, and their off-hand comments often told me more than whole piles of history books could.

I'm fascinated by the way ordinary men and women stepped up to the mark and showed extraordinary bravery and selflessness in the face of danger. Subsequent generations haven't had to confront global war - and I hope we never will again. But I think there are important lessons to learn from the past, and that's why I enjoy writing about this era - it's within living memory, but it is unimaginably far away in terms of experience. I love that contrast, and the chance to put yourself in other people's shoes and ask yourself 'what if'? What if you were a twenty year old girl with a private pilot's licence? Would you have the guts to 'do your bit', and fly unarmed across a war-torn country day after day when each one could have been your last? I think all stories start that way - just ask yourself 'what if'.'

Thanks very much to Kate for this fascinating insight to 'The Beauty Chorus'. You can find out more about Kate on her blog, and you can read my review of 'The Beauty Chorus' on Bookersatz now.


Unknown said...

I love this period too. I often wonder how we'd cope if we had to step up to the mark as people did then.

Off to read your review!

Bernadette said...

That sounds like a great story. I shall pop over to read you review now.

joanne fox said...

This sounds a really interesting read. Through work I have contact with many people who lived through the war and hearing about their experiences is fascinating.

Pat Posner said...

Thanks Helen and Kate
'The Beauty Chorus' sounds right up my street.

Jill Steeples said...

Oh, this is definitely one for the 'to be read' pile. Thanks for the heads up, Helen.

Talli Roland said...

Great insight, Kate! I have this on my TBR list and I can't wait to read it!