Friday, 21 April 2017

Q & A with Diney Costeloe

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

I started writing stories and poems when I was five years old and just kept going.

2.    How did your writing career develop?

I started with short stories and articles. 10 Romantic novels followed and then I began to write longer books, ‘modern historicals’ 20th Century, WWI, WWII and in between. I have also written a couple of more modern 21st Century books, but these are quite different from all the others.

3.    Your newest novel is called The Married Girls, what is it about?

It is the sequel to The Girl With No Name. Set in a Somerset village it follows refugee girl, Charlotte’s, married life in the years after the war. Despite the country being at peace at last, life is still not always easy in the close knit community of a small village.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

I wanted to know how Charlotte got on once she had settled permanently in England. The only way to find out was to write it!

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

The Married Girls are Charlotte, the German refugee child who had escaped to England on a Kindertransport train in 1939 and Daphne Higgins a WAAF sergeant. For very different reasons they both end up married and living in Wynsdown, a village on the Mendip hills, but life is not quite how they expected it to be.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I have a study where I can work uninterrupted, but I often work at the kitchen table. Timing depends on the other things I have to do that day.

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I am a very hands-on Granny to seven grandchildren. My husband and I enjoy travelling and we both play golf. Life is very busy.

8.    If you could switch places with a character from a book, who would it be and why?

Harriet Vane because she’s an intelligent woman, treated as an equal by her husband, Lord Peter Wimsey, a man of integrity.

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

I don’t know that any particular books have influenced my life. Some may have influenced what I enjoy reading.

10.  What are you working on at the moment?

Another book, but fingers crossed it’ll be out next year.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Losing myself in what I am doing, so that I am living the story too. Even when I am doing something else, I find the story is always at the back of my mind….which means when I sit down at the computer again, I may have to alter what I was planning somewhat.

11.  Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Jane Austen, Cynthia Harrod Eagles and Peter May, because I always enjoy their books even though they are all different genres and all have very different styles of writing. I would like to talk to them about their work and see what they might say about each other.

12.  Imagine The Married Girls would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

Emma Watson and Chris Hemsworth
Dove Cameron and Zac Efron

13.  The prequel of The Married Girls is called The Girl With No Name, can you tell us more about it?

It tells the story of Lisa, a German Jewish refugee from the Nazis, who comes to London, an unaccompanied child on one of the Kindertransport trains. Fostered by a couple in the east end she struggles with being so far from everyone and everything she knows and then war breaks out and her life becomes even more difficult.

14.  How would you describe your style of writing?

I hope it is free flowing and easy to read.

15.  Coffee or tea?


16.  Paperback or e-reader?

Paperback unless travelling, then e-reader for the convenience of taking enough books with me.

17.  Mountains or the sea?


18.  Summer or winter?

Summer, but I don’t dislike winter when I can pull up the drawbridge, light the fire and pull my home round me like a comforting shawl.

19.  Sweet or salty?


Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.
Meanwhile, the squire’s fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming... and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne’s past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.
For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry’s return disrupts the village quiet and it’s not long before gossip spreads.
The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

Diney Costeloe is the bestselling author of THE THROWAWAY CHILDREN, THE RUNAWAY FAMILY, THE LOST SOLDIER, THE SISTERS OF ST CROIX and THE GIRL WITH NO NAME. She divides her time between Somerset and West Cork. 

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