In November 2019, writer Audrina Lane, and I were at her home in Ross-on -Wye, having attended a book and craft fair that she had organised. As we drank wine and chatted she mentioned that the 8th May 2020 was 75 years since VE day. I hadn’t known, and an idea formed. Why don’t we put together an Electric Eclectic Books anthology? We could ask some of our brand friends if they would be interested. We could theme all our stories to VE Day. It was something we hadn’t done before and none of our Electric Eclectic books are set in the war.
It was an interesting concept and having brought it up, I needed to go away and think about what I could write. What did I know about the war? It was mostly stories from my dad about his father’s days in Europe. He had a lot of interesting tales to tell. So I had a vague idea of weaving them into a story.
It wasn’t until I saw the cover made by Paul White, Electric Eclectic’s founder, that a title came to me. It seemed fitting that my story, The Dome of St Paul’s should be the first one in the book. It brought together the front cover and the stories inside.
My dad had long since passed away but luckily I had written down what he told me. I chose to tell a tale of a boy listening to the stories of his grandfather, which went on to influence his life. Those stories were the ones my own grandfather experienced, and with the help of Wikipedia, I was able to confirm these long ago tales really happened. It was at that point I realised I wanted to dedicate my piece to him, too. To have his name in a book for prosperity, would be a wonderful thing to do. I passed this idea onto the other writers and some were able to dedicate theirs. Audrina Lane’s story is so poignant as it tells of her grandfather’s 99th Squadron, and how she held his hand as he passed away.
The other stories are equally as compelling. Paul White told of Patricia, Annie and Jean. Three girls living through the war and the celebrations when Victory was announced. There is a secret unmentioned, that gives food for thought when days were not so liberal. Paul dedicated his to the white butterflies saying it was remarkable how thousands fluttered around. It was as if the souls of the dead soldiers had come to haunt the spot where so many fell.
Purely by co-incidence, Claire Plaisted story was entitled Butterflies of Dunkirk. It talked about the battle of Dunkirk and the souls of the men and the amazing sight of butterflies rising from the ground.
Rosemary for Remembrance by Julia Blake is a haunting story of two people caught up in the celebrations and falling in love. If you have ever read any of Julia’s novels you’ll know this was always going to be something special.
We were also honoured to have another amazing author, Jane Risdon to contribute We’ll Meet Again. Jane, who wrote Only One Woman about a rock band in the sixties, brought us this thrilling crime story set during the war. It will keep you gripped right until the end!
Finally, Audrina Lane’s 99th Squadron rounds off the book in the most perfect way.
I was thrilled to see my grandfather’s name there in black and white when I held the book in my hand. Cyril Parry of Chester was just one of the thousands who played their part, and lucky enough to come home. It occurred to me that my Uncle Derek, Dad’s brother, would love to see his Dad’s name, too. So I sent him a copy. We ended up having a long conversation about Grandpa and this is one of the most interesting things to come out of it, and I wished I’d have known, as it would have written it into the story.
When Cyril’s regiment, the 8th Army, were dropped off in the water at Saleno beach, in Italy, the American’s dragged him out. He had been in the water for so long he almost died. The first thing they did was to stick a cigarette in mouth and from that day onwards, he was a heavy smoker.
We received this wonderful review on Amazon recently. It’s so nice, I wanted to share it.
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