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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #19

Dear Reader,

Why do authors write? Apart from the elite 1% there is no money in writing, so unless you are in that 1% or churning out words to order money isn’t a motivation. Fame? Fame is shallow and does more harm than good. Some authors want to be famous, and good luck to them, but fame isn’t for me. Praise? It is rewarding when readers appreciate your books, look forward to them and write nice comments. Kind words mean a lot. That said, writing isn’t the best occupation if you are looking for praise. Even if you are a mega-bestseller the majority of people will ignore you or dislike your work. So, why do writers write? I believe it’s because we are blessed, or cursed, with story ideas and we need to express those ideas to find a level of contentment and peace of mind. We need to release our creative energy through writing. Of course, finding readers is rewarding and satisfying, but the main motivation and enjoyment comes from turning a blank manuscript into a story. There is something magical about creating a story that is unique.

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Chapter one of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen is complete. Here’s a clue…

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Caerau Hillfort and the ruins of St Mary’s church, pictured, get a mention in chapter two of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. These landmarks are on the road Sam takes to her office houseboat.

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Chapter three of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen, sees Sam at Caswell Bay where she meets her new client.

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Five more translations published this week, three in Spanish, one in German and another in Portuguese. Many thanks to my talented team of translators for all their hard work and for sharing my stories with the world.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #14

Dear Reader,

I took a break from my Spanish Civil War research this week to research classic movies of the Golden Age. I intend to write a mini-series about the Golden Age, but I will use a pen name because it will be different in style to my mystery series.

My main writing activity over the past week was centred on translations. During the week, I received fifteen offers to translate my books. Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept all the offers because some were duplicates. Also, I have a team of translators already in place and some of the titles have been promised to them. The standard of the applications was high and it was a shame to disappoint some people, but I hope we will find a way to work together in the future.

Also this week, I’m back in audiobook mode. Suzan Lynn Lorraine, who has narrated twelve of my books to date, started work on Escape and Victory. I am looking forward to hearing Suzan’s interpretation of these stories and to making them available to listeners sometime in the autumn.

When an author writes a book, he or she has no idea what the reader will make of the story or the characters. Sometimes, in Saving Grace for example, my characters are based on real people. However, most of the time they are totally fictitious. So it was interesting this week when I received a message from someone along with a request to meet Sam. To this reader, Sam is real, and I can think of no higher compliment.

For entertainment, and research purposes, I’m working my way through the entire series of M*A*S*H on DVD. Is this the best television series ever made? It’s hard to think of a better one.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #8

Dear Reader,

Another busy week with translations. We published the Spanish version of Saving Grace, started the German version of Victory and I’m delighted to say that Jill has offered to translate The Big Chill into Swedish. This will be our third project after Sam’s Song and Love and Bullets and it’s exciting to see my books reaching Swedish readers in their own language 🙂

While researching material for a future Sam Smith novel, I discovered that the British government’s health assessment programme for disabled people has resulted in 21,000 deaths. These deaths are based on the government’s own figures, so it is certain that the real figure is a lot higher. This raises the question: what is the difference between death by bureaucracy and death by cold-blooded murder? None. It all results in death. This is a tragedy for disabled people and their families, and it is a subject I am determined to explore.

The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga, will be based on true events and real people. For example, Thora Silverthorne of Blaenafon, Wales.

In 1936, Thora volunteered to go to Spain as a nurse. There, she became a matron in a hospital established in a primitive farmhouse.

“I had done a lot of operations before,” Thora said, “but in Spain it was quite different. We dealt with seriously injured people. Once we treated 700 people over five days. We were under fire. We had a Red Cross on the roof, but were warned, ‘take it down – it’s the first thing the fascists will aim for.’”

On her return to Britain, Thora helped to establish the first union for nurses, the National Association of Nurses, in 1937.


This week, I’ve been scanning my reference books looking for names for my Spanish Civil War Saga. It’s an international story featuring characters from America, France, Ireland, Spain and Wales. The right name is important and often it can suggest facets of a character. For example, one character, a nurse, was going to be docile and a support character. However, when I found her name, Adele Lazard, she stepped forward. Now, she’s going to Spain as a nurse, but really she wants to fight at the front.

Pictured: Two women and a man at the Siege of the Alcázar in Toledo, 1936.


During the Spanish Civil War, Wales welcomed many refugees, including Esperanza Careaga, pictured here in 1939. Espe, her name means hope, left Spain in April 1937, eight days before her sixth birthday. Her brother, Alberto, was transported to Russia and it took 50 years before Espe saw him again. Meanwhile, Espe settled in Barry, Wales.

At the end of the war, most of the refugees returned to Spain. However, 35 children remained in Wales, including Espe. She married in 1958, had two sons and four granddaughters.

From tragic beginnings, Espe lived up to her name, and through her courage we can draw belief, strength and hope.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx