Today I have a fabulous Q&A with Jules Hayes as part of the blog tour for her novel The Walls We Build, along with a chance to win yourself a copy of the novel (see bottom of post) but first a little about the book:
Title: The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes
Date Published: 23rd March 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Three friends …
Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.
Two Secrets …
Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.
One Hidden Life …
How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?
Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.
For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.
“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May
You can buy your copy here:
Q&A with Jules Hayes
Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog. It’s great to be here.
The Walls We Build is a sweeping generational saga, which charts the repercussions of a tragic event within one family. The story reverberates from 1920s England, across the wasteland of the Second World War, and into the present day.
The novel follows the story, and secrets, of three friends, Florence, Frank and Hilda – all three live and work around Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s home. Only months after Frank’s death in 2002, his grandson is approached by Florence. Soon afterwards, the untangling of the past becomes Richard’s obsession as he discovers both a mystery aunt who still resides in a psychiatric institution, and the double life that his grandfather had led for forty years.
The narrative weaves between events from the past relating to Frank, Florence and Hilda, to incidents in the present with Richard. The intertwining of these two time frames culminates towards the end of the story when Richard, helped by Florence, begins to piece together his grandad’s secret life.
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
I’ve always been intrigued with the life of Winston Churchill and when I came across a photo of him addressing his troops in 1943 Tripoli, North Africa, I had that ‘what if’ moment. What if a soldier amongst the crowd was Churchill’s old employee from Chartwell? Perhaps his bricklayer, as I’m intrigued with Churchill’s passion for bricklaying in his spare time! Perhaps they had a unique relationship – I liked the idea of juxtaposing the ordinary and the extraordinary man. How will their paths cross again? And in what capacity will Florence, my other main protagonist, and Frank’s friend but true love, fit into the story? I knew then that at the heart of the novel would be an unconventional love story, as well as a mystery, and all set against the rich backdrop of war and its aftermath. But I also knew too that I needed a present day protagonist, Richard, Frank’s grandson, to untangle the intrigue of the past.
If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?
The Walls We Build is a historical romance, but is also a present day mystery; although underpinning the narrative is, I think, a pacey thriller too.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
On my writing days I get up very early and I’m at my desk for 6am. I work for as long as I have concentration, around 1pm, and then do other things, exercise, chores, dog walking. Later I will read other people’s books, read around for research, or do some editing. I can’t write new words after 2pm!
If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?
Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man/The Truce – it’s a non-fiction book but written so hauntingly. Levi was a Holocaust survivor and his descriptions of the human condition are just as relevant today as they were at the time of writing. It’s a little of a masterclass on writing with dignity and perception.
Who are your favourite authors?
Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell, Sebastian Faulks, Margaret Atwood and Alex Marwood.
Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)
When I went to university at 18 in London, I wanted to reinvent myself and so a week before leaving home I dyed my hair black and then got my mate, who was a hairdresser, to painstakingly bead my hair!
It looked fabulous and I cannot believe I do not have any photos! Before the mobile phone…
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on, and near to completing, my next Jules Hayes historical novel, (Jules is my pseudonym – I also write contemporary thrillers as JA Corrigan). I’m working too on a speculative thriller, which when completed, will be my next JA Corrigan novel.
About The Author:
Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.
Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.
Jules also writes contemporary thrillers and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.
Jules Hayes can be found at:
Twitter @JulesHayes6 – http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6
Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor – http://www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor
Instagram: JulesHayes6 – http://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6
Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: http://www.jacorrigan.com
Twitter: @juliannwriter – http://www.twitter.com/juliannwriter
Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of The Walls We Build (Open INT)
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