Saturday 19 February 2022

The Difference between a Series and a Cycle
















I’m very keen on my group of Schellberg novels being called a cycle rather than a series. One of the beauties of this is that they can be read in any order. Though the reader may know the outcome of particular plot line, different books in the cycle give them another angle on what has actually happened.

I’m very aware of this as I get into the early chapters of Helga’s Story. Anyone who has read Girl in a Smart Uniform will have met her already. She becomes the girlfriend of the protagonist’s brother in that book. Yesterday I wrote the scene of the squashed cakes from Helga’s point of view of Helga.  In Girl in a Smart Uniform we saw that scene through Bear’s eyes.

Helga is also interesting for us in that she shares some characteristics with Renate whom, we meet in The House onSchellberg Street. Both girls only find out in their teens that they are Jewish. Both girls feel more German that Jewish.

I’m finding that each book I write suggests another story. Planned after this one is a story about someone who worked on the edge of the German resistance. I wonder whether it will ever finish. Because there are some other pieces of historical fiction I would like to write.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Exploring the hate


I have Helga, a blond-haired German Jewess who went into hiding during World War II, now living in Wales at the beginning of the 21st century. This part of the story is seen through the eyes of her granddaughter Jamie. History seems to be repeating itself. The persecution begins again. Initially welcomed, Helga and her family are now resented by the younger generation.

It doesn’t happen overnight. The Thomas family loved the Müllers and Helga Müller has every faith that they are good people. But Jamie’s generation resent their lack of opportunity and believe that incomers such as Helga and Jamie are taking away from them what is rightfully theirs.

As ever I have planned the story in some detail. However, more than is usual this one is taking a shape of its own.

Nature - or maybe an old mineshaft – robs the Thomases of some of their land. Glenn and Owain think they have the right to take it back. Solicitors become involved but Jamie and Helga find themselves hitting a brick wall. Everyone knows everyone else and many of the people who might help Helga and Jamie seem to be related to the Thomases.

It’s my job to give all of the characters what they need rather than what they want. I’m looking for a solution that overcomes the hate.