Tag Archives: Spanish Civil War

Dear Reader #32

Dear Reader,

My new banner featuring some old favourites and forthcoming titles.

My sales on Apple so far this year reveal a pleasant surprise…Digging in the Dirt (Sam) is my current bestseller followed by Secrets and Lies (Sam), Smoke and Mirrors (Sam) and Blackmail (Ann). Digging in the Dirt was great fun to write so I’m delighted that my readers like it too.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shakespearean actress Melinda Mullins. You can read that interview here https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/january_2020

Melinda is also a talented artist. Here is an example of her work.

To see more of Melinda’s beautiful paintings and drawings please visit her website http://www.emcleobryant.com

Many thanks to Gloria for her lovely translation of Mind Games into Spanish. We have started the publishing process and the book will be available soon.

This is my 45th translation, sixteen of them into Spanish, with more in progress.

My local beach this week.

My personal top ten this week. Many thanks to everyone who supports my books.

Women of Courage, Heroines of the SOE.
More details from my Eve’s War research.

Valentine Blanche Charlet, born in Belgium on 23 May 1898, was one of the oldest female SOE agents to serve in France. Blanche worked as a courier for the SOE and held the rank of Field Agent and Guerrilla Commander. Before the Second World War she lived in Brussels where she managed an art gallery.

Blanche was one of the first four female agents the SOE trained. When she arrived in France, on 1 September 1942, she worked with fellow agent and wireless operator Brian Stonehouse. 

On 24 October 1942, German detector vans picked up Stonehouse’s radio signals while he was transmitting to London. They tracked him down to his safe house and arrested him. Before the Germans left, Blanche arrived for a pre-arranged meeting with Stonehouse and she too was arrested and interned in Castres Prison. 

The Germans held Blanche until September 1943 when she secured guns and spare keys from a sympathetic Yugoslavian wardress. Along with French resistante Suzanne Charisse and thirty-five others, Blanche escaped.

Blanche and Suzanne reached open country and, helped by Benedictine monks, they took refuge in a monastery. 

The monks sheltered Blanche and Suzanne in a guest house for two months before the women followed an escape route into the Pyrénées. However, the heavy winter snow prevented them from crossing into Spain.

In the spring of 1944, Blanche made her way to Brittany where she boarded a lifeboat ferrying supplies and fresh agents. German patrol boats were waiting. However, despite them and a gunfight, Blanche made her escape. 

Blanche reached safely on 20 April 1944. She made her report and stated that the practice interrogations she had endured with the SOE had saved her life. In more peaceful circumstances, she lived until 1985.

Mary Katherine Herbert was born in Ireland on 1 October 1903. 

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Mary worked in the British Embassy in Warsaw, then as a civilian translator in the Air Ministry. She joined the WAAF on 19 September 1941 and, at her own request, transferred to the SOE in May 1942, aged thirty-nine.

A well educated woman with a degree in art, Mary was fluent in French, German, Italian and Spanish. She also obtained a diploma from the University of Cairo in Arabic. 

Mary trained with Lise de Baissac, a contact who later would have a significant influence on her life. 

Mary arrived in France on 30 October 1942. She travelled to Bordeaux to act as a courier for the Scientist circuit, using the codename Claudine. In keeping with fellow SOE agents she travelled by bicycle and train, liaised with the French Resistance, carried messages, sought safe houses and potential recruits. Another task familiar to Mary and her fellow agents was to arrange and attend parachute drops as fresh agents arrived in France.

In France, Mary caught up with Lise de Baissac. She also met Lise’s brother, Claude. An affair between Mary and Claude produced a daughter, Claudine, born in December 1943. After the birth, Mary and Claudine moved into a flat maintained by Lise.

On 18 February 1944, the Gestapo raided Lise’s flat and arrested Mary in the belief that she was Lise. Separated from her baby daughter, Mary remained in prison until Easter 1944. During that time she created a cover story for herself stating that she was Madame Marie Louise Vernier, a Frenchwoman from Egypt. Despite interrogation by the Gestapo, Mary did not waver from her cover story.

Upon her release, Mary hid in a small country house near Poitiers. In September 1944, after a difficult search conducted in trying times, she was reunited with Claude and Lise.

Mary and Claude, marriage index

Mary married Claude in November 1944. After the war, she lived a quieter life giving private French lessons.

Mary died on 23 January 1983 with her daughter Claudine at her side.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #30

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted to be a member of the talented team involved in Mom’s Favorite Reads.

And to start the new year in style, here’s our January 2020 issue featuring an exclusive interview with Melinda Mullins, star of Remember WENN, M*A*S*H and the Shakespearean stage, a Romance Roundtable, Anna Grace discusses mental health, young writers and so much more.

The new year promises to be my busiest yet with six books scheduled: two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Looking For Rosanna Mee; Roots and Branches, the first two novellas in The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga; plus Operation Zigzag and Operation Locksmith, the first two novellas in my Eve’s War series about the Special Operations Executive and the French Resistance.

Yesterday, I wrote the first draft of chapters one and two of The Olive Tree: Roots. The stories in this series will be told from two viewpoints: a nurse, Heini Hopkins, and a socialite author, Naomi Parker. Heini rides a bicycle while Naomi drives this SS Jaguar 100, pictured outside the SS Cars building in 1937.

The ‘100’ was the car’s top speed while this image represents the first recorded use of the Jaguar ‘leaper’ mascot.

In Roots, book one of The Olive Tree, my nurse Heini Hopkins is at home tending her sick mother. This item is from my domestic research into the period. I remember using carpet cleaners like these when I visited my grandparents’ house.

A mangle, another item from my domestic research into the 1930s. My nurse, Heini Hopkins, would certainly be familiar with this item, and I can remember seeing similar models when I visited my grandparents’ house.

In The Olive Tree, Heini Hopkins is a nurse specialising in tuberculosis. As the story opens she is tending Mari, her sick mother.

For centuries, tuberculosis was considered ‘the romantic disease’ because it ‘assisted artistic talent’. People believed that the fever and toxaemia associated with tuberculosis helped artists to see life more clearly and that this clarity of mind liberated their creative muse.

You can read my full article here https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/tuberculosis/

Local views this morning, at Sger.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #29

Dear Reader,

Delighted to announce the launch of a new series, The Olive Tree.

Roots, book one of The Olive Tree is now available to pre-order 🙂 Book two, Branches, will follow later in 2020 while the series will conclude with Leaves, Fruit and Flowers in 2021.

Here’s the universal link and book description.

https://books2read.com/u/3yvAOL

The Olive Tree – A Spanish Civil War Saga

Set between April 1937 and December 1938, The Olive Tree is a mini-series of five novellas based on true events.

The stories in The Olive Tree – Roots, Branches, Leaves, Fruit and Flowers chronicle the lives of Heini Hopkins, a young nurse from an impoverished part of South Wales, and Naomi Parker, a wealthy author from a privileged background.

In Roots, Heini is home in Wales nursing her sick mother while Naomi is attending launch parties for her latest novel. The civil war in Spain seems a world away, until the fascists bomb and destroy Guernica, murdering hundreds of men, women and children. Heini’s boyfriend, Deiniol Price, a coal miner, feels he must rally to the Spanish Republic’s cause and volunteer for the International Brigades while Naomi’s paramour, Count Nicolas Esteban, a pilot, dreams of glory, fighting for the fascists.

Should the women leave the safety of Wales for the bloody battlefields of Spain? And if they decide to follow their men, what fate awaits them?

Day One of Snow in August on pre-order, and an early Christmas present for Sam. The book is a top 💯 hot new release, sitting alongside mega-bestseller Johnathan Kellerman 🙂

This is exciting, after one day of pre-orders Roots, book one in The Olive Tree, a Spanish Civil War Saga, is #15 on Amazon’s hot new releases chart 🙂

They do things with such grace and elegance on the Continent. Paris Opera’s ballet dancers protesting against austerity.

”Okay, Stan, here’s the plan. We’ll get all the lads from the steelworks to dress up in tutus…”

Could get messy. As with all of Johnson’s policies, I don’t think he’s thought this one through…

Dear reader, this will all make sense when you’re sober in the morning…

Santa knows me too well 🤣

Santa also delivered all these lovely books and DVDs, most to help me with my Spanish Civil War and Eve’s War series.

To my beloved…

Of course, I might be thinking murderous thoughts 😉

The top twelve countries for my books over the past quarter. Many thanks to all my readers for making this another wonderful year.

Happy New Year,

Hannah  xxx

Dear Reader #22

Delighted to announce my publishing schedule for 2020. It’s an ambitious one with the following books in the pipeline.

Snow in August: Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 16

The Olive Tree: Roots: A Spanish Civil War Saga Book 1

Looking for Rosanna Mee: Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 17

The Olive Tree: Branches: A Spanish Civil War Saga Book 2

Another beautiful translation from Cristina. Available soon 🙂

ANN'S WAR ESCAPE MASTER ITALIAN

Recently, I visited a series of caves in west Wales where I learned about the Red Lady of Paviland. The Red Lady of Paviland, pictured, is an Upper Paleolithic partial skeleton dyed in red ochre and buried in the Goat’s Hole Cave 33,000 years ago. William Buckland discovered the skeleton in 1823.

The Red Lady obtained her name because of the red ochre dye and jewellery found at the site. However, later analysis proved that ‘she’ was a man.

This incident will feature in Snow in August, out soon.

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The joy of research is it will often lead you to items you were not originally looking for.

While looking for books to place on the Europe by Book website https://europebybook.com I discovered the story of Nancy Wake, a remarkable woman.

“Nancy Wake (30 August 1912 – 7 August 2011) worked for the Pat O’Leary escape line and the Special Operations Executive in France during World War II.

After the fall of France to Nazi Germany in 1940, Wake became a courier for the Pat O’Leary escape network. As a member of the escape network, she helped Allied airmen evade capture by the Germans and escape to neutral Spain.

In 1943, when the Germans became aware of her, she escaped to Spain and codenamed “Helene,” joined the Special Operations Executive.”

I intend to learn more about Nancy Wake and use elements of her story in a novel I’m currently researching.

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Struggling to find the right presents for your children this year? Here’s fun for all the family! The aim is to become a tax-dodging millionaire. If you fail, you lose!

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In a recent study, Buckets, Trapnell and Paulhus sought to examine the dark personality traits of Internet trolls. The researchers explored trolling in 1,215 participants and compared this to the dark personality triad, which is the dark triad – narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy – plus sadism. They discovered that all forms of dark personality were significantly higher in individuals who troll with sadism the strongest factor.

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So many good people do so many wonderful things. Our political leaders pale into insignificance in comparison.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #13

Dear Reader,

A very busy week with translations again this week. More translations were published while others were confirmed. Along with my English language titles this means I now have 74 books published or in production.

When talking about his album, Sailing to Philadelphia, Mark Knopfler mentioned that he often creates songs when two separate ideas come together. I agree with him. My books are often a marriage of ideas. This week, I had ideas for another mini-series when two totally separate thoughts came together. I might write this mini-series under a pen-name to give readers a break from Hannah Howe, and because the subject matter is different from my mysteries. This morning, while gardening, I created a storyline. If I have a strength as a novelist it’s that ideas for stories come easy to me.

Mark Knopfler

I have received great help this week from experts with a detailed knowledge of the Spanish Civil War. In these mean-spirited times when some people are interested only in themselves and are prepared to see others suffer in the pursuit of their selfish goals it is life-affirming when kind people go out of their way to help you.

My Spanish Civil War Saga, The Olive Tree, will feature six main characters and follow their lives over the five books. Heini Hopkins, my nurse, is the main character. Heini is a rare name. It means “fit” in the Welsh language and is both female and male.

In Roots, book one, Heini is in Wales nursing her sick mother, debating whether to marry her childhood sweetheart, coal miner Deiniol Price, while collecting food, clothing and medical supplies for the people of Spain. Then the fascists bomb Guernica, killing hundreds of innocent people and, even in Wales, everything changes…

Heini’s home, Cleavis Cottage, Lamb Row, South Corneli, Glamorgan

I mentioned Mark Knopfler earlier, and here’s his classic album Sailing to Philadelphia.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #12

Dear Reader,

Books sixteen, seventeen and eighteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series will be Snow in August, a story about childhood trauma; Looking For Rosanna Mee, a story about how the Powers That Be abuse vulnerable people; Stormy Weather, a story about climate change. The storyboarding of Snow in August is progressing well and I intend to finish it next week.

Another busy week with my translators with three books published, all in Spanish. We also started two new translations taking the total to forty-three books in ten languages.

This week, my Spanish Civil War research focused on Lily Margaret Powell, a remarkable woman, a true heroine who volunteered to nurse in Spain during the war and was the last International Brigades nurse to leave the conflict. You can read Margaret’s remarkable story here

Margaret Powell, second left, and her medical team in Spain

My film of the week is Fallen Angel, a noir movie made in 1945. The movie reunites director Otto Preminger with Dana Andrews, who had worked together on Laura the previous year. The movie also features Alice Faye, Linda Darnell and a host of fine character actors.

While the movie doesn’t quite touch the heights of Laura – few movies do – it’s still an excellent story. Like Laura, it’s a film of two halves. In Laura, the title character didn’t appear until the second half of the film while in Fallen Angel Linda Darnell dominates the first half with a sultry performance as the femme fatale and Alice Faye blossoms in the second half; Dana Andrews links the whole piece together.

Playing a bookish, reserved woman, Alice Faye had the toughest role – noir movies are basically designed around the femme fatale and Linda Darnell shone in this part. Initially, Fallen Angel was intended to showcase Alice Faye’s talents. However, many of her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Some suggest that film producer Darryl F. Zanuck decided to use the film to promote Linda Darnell, his new protégé, instead of Alice Faye. Certainly, Alice Faye’s characterisation suffers from the cuts and she wasn’t pleased about it. Indeed, she retired from movies until 1962 when she made State Fair.

Alice Faye

In 1987, Alice Faye told an interviewer, “When I stopped making pictures, it didn’t bother me because there were so many things I hadn’t done. I had never learned to run a house. I didn’t know how to cook. I didn’t know how to shop. So all these things filled all those gaps.”

Linda Darnell

As a mystery author, usually I unravel a movie plot early on. And while I identified the murderer during the early scenes of Fallen Angel the movie is well crafted and until the closing scenes all the principal characters remain in the frame.

Dana Andrews

Fallen Angel is also worth watching for Alice Faye reciting the following poetic lines:

We are born to tread the Earth as angels 

to seek out Heaven this side of the sky.

But they who race alone shall stumble,

in the dark and fall from grace.

Then love alone can make the fallen angel rise,

for only two together can enter paradise.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #11

It’s been a summer of ideas. Initially, my goals for the year were to publish Victory and write Snow in August. However, in May I had an idea to write about the Spanish Civil War, a subject I had never considered writing about before that moment. I hesitated, because it is a big subject, but the ideas kept coming. I believe there is truth in the saying, ‘Subjects choose their authors, authors don’t choose their subjects.’

Since May I have had ideas for five books in my Spanish Civil War series plus three ideas for Sam Smith mysteries. Today, I developed ideas for a Sam Smith mystery and got stuck around chapter twenty-three. That’s because one of the characters proved elusive to me. Then I realised he didn’t really fit into the book because his involvement dragged the story away from the central character and complicated the theme. So I returned to the theme and the central character and the full story unfolded naturally. 

This story, so far untitled, will see Sam get very angry on behalf of her client. I love writing Sam when she’s angry and, believe me, she’ll be tearing up some trees in this one. The source of her anger is a woman who does something that is beyond the pale. Furthermore, the story is based on reality.

I’m delighted and honoured to be featured by the Fussy Librarian this week. You can read my interview with Sadye of the Fussy Librarian here https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/newswire/2019/08/02/author-qa-hannah-howe

This week, my Spanish Civil War research led me to Dorothy Parker.

During 1936-9 the Conservative government in Britain, plus the governments in America and France, adopted a stance of ‘non-intervention’ in the Spanish Civil War. In fact, this amounted to support for the fascists because of the various outcomes these governments desired a fascist victory over a victory for the Spanish people. Of course, Britain, America and France paid heavily for this stance because it encouraged Hitler and Mussolini, and this led to the Second World War.

With no support from overseas governments, the Spanish people relied on individuals and organisations for support. Dorothy Parker held her hand up and stepped forward as one of those individuals.

A celebrated poet, writer and wit, Dorothy Parker was one of the founders of the Anti-Nazi League in Hollywood. She helped to raise $1.5 million ($65 million at today’s value) for Spanish refugees. For her trouble, she was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, ‘the time of the toad’, as she called it. However, history smiles on Dorothy Parker while McCarthy’s name is associated with all that is dark about humanity. 

While in Spain, in October 1937, Dorothy Parker said, “It makes you sick to think of it. That these people who pulled themselves up from centuries of oppression and exploitation cannot go on to a decent living, to peace and progress and civilisation, without the murder of their children and the blocking of their way because men want more power. It is incredible, it is fantastic, it is absolutely beyond all belief…except that it is true.”

I have added lots more to my website pages this week – the pictures offer a clue – so please take a look around. I hope you will find something of interest.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx