Monday 10 September 2018

Yesterday Uncovered - 1940's with Wendy Percival & The Malice of Angels

This month on Yesterday Uncovered we slip back to the 1940s

Sitting, in the shade, on a recliner at the side of my pool is Wendy Percival, the author of, The Malice of Angels so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1940s.

Tell us a little about yourself

I live in the South West of England, in the middle of the beautiful county of Devon. I’m a keen family historian and I write genealogy mysteries, inspired by what I uncover while researching my family tree.

What inspired you to write about the 1940s?

I heard a fascinating story on the local news about an elderly lady who it was discovered on her death, had been a Special Operations Executive (SOE) – a secret agent, in other words – during the Second World War and no one knew. I began reading about the SOEs and the dangerous work they did when they were dropped into occupied France and the story grew from there.

Tell us little about the story and its plot without giving too much away

My protagonist, Esme Quentin, a historical researcher and genealogist, is reminded of a painful past when she bumps into a journalist colleague of her late husband Tim. He asks her what she recalls about the murder of an old solider, an incident on which he and Tim reported 35 years ago. Esme declines to get involved and so pretends to remember nothing about it. But when she’s asked to investigate the mystery behind the disappearance of a friend’s aunt, Vivienne, a nurse who went missing during WW2, she finds the two incidents have a disturbing connection. As she begins to unpick the secrets in Vivienne’s story, Esme realises she may also be forced to confront the terrifying truth of her own distressing past, regardless of whether or not she’s yet ready to face her demons.

Is any part of the story based on facts / real events?

Yes - the ultimate truth of what happened to Vivienne is based on real events. I also drew a huge amount of inspiration from my research into SOEs - the horror of what the agents went through if they were caught and detained by the Nazis forms part of Vivienne’s story. There’s also another true twist which, when I read about it, caused me to gasp out loud. So I just had to include a version of it in the plot!

Are any of the characters based on someone real or are they pure fiction?

Some of the characters from the past who had a part to play in Vivienne’s fate are based on real people. The rest aren’t – other than that the usual subconscious harvesting  we authors do from people we know!

If research was necessary what did this involve?

I read some fascinating books during my research. One in particular left its mark, A Life in Secrets by Sarah Helm. It’s the true story of Vera Atkins – a key player in preparing the female SOEs for their missions in occupied Europe – who spent the years immediately after the war searching for what happened to those women who never came home. Intriguingly, Vera’s own life wasn’t quite what it appeared and the book is an attempt to unveil Vera’s past as well as to record the often disturbing fate of the SOEs themselves.

You can find Wendy on all of these links…

Thank you for stopping by and meeting Wendy.

Next Tuesday, John Orton talks about 

You can also read...

A Snap Shot from the1940's 

Conspiracy of Lies

 Thank you for stopping by and please come back again soon.



Helen Hollick said...

Always a pleasure to 'chat' with Wendy!

Pauline Barclay said...

Thank you Helen for calling by. Have a fabulous day.