Briefly tell us about your book.
Sisters of the Resistance is set in Paris during World War II and it’s about two sisters, Yvette and Gabby Foucher, who are drawn into the resistance movement by Catherine Dior, sister of the famous fashion designer and a decorated heroine of France.
What inspired the idea behind the book?
I first read about Catherine Dior’s involvement in the Franco-Polish F2 resistance network in an article on Jezebel.com in about 2017. I was stunned at this woman’s bravery and sacrifice and intrigued by her close relationship with her brother, the couturier Christian Dior. I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of Catherine Dior’s story before and felt it must be told as widely as possible.
What are you hoping readers will take away from reading your book?
I hope readers come away asking of themselves: What would I have done if I were a Parisian living under Nazi occupation? It’s very easy to judge the actions of French collaborators from a safe distance but it must have been terrifying to live under that regime and almost impossible to co-exist with the Nazis without compromise. There were many shades of grey in occupied France. But conversely, the fact that so many people tried their best to keep their heads down and get along with the occupiers, even if they did not outright collaborate with them, makes the bravery of women like Catherine Dior even more exceptional and laudable.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
Probably the most challenging part was having to translate some of the research sources I used from French to English. I felt a huge sense of achievement when I was able to put my French to good use!
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I get up ridiculously early to deal with any business that has come in from my New York publisher overnight. Then I make coffee, get online and chat with readers on social media. At about 8am I like to walk for an hour if I can, and then after breakfast I start writing.
On beautiful winter days like we’re having now, I like to write for a while on my veranda with the sun on my back and birdsong (and perhaps the odd whipper-snipper) in the background. I stop writing when my sons come home from school, and then if I am on a roll or I feel like I haven’t written enough that day, I will go back after dinner and write more.
I am having a ripper of a time with my current work-in-progress. It’s about the real inspiration behind the character of Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond novels, Paddy Bennett, who worked with Bond author Ian Fleming in Naval Intelligence during World War Two, and took part in one of the war’s most eccentric and effective operations, Operation Mincemeat. Tentatively titled HER SECRET WAR, it should be out next year.