Hello again from Carol Rivers!
My stories are all located in the heart of the East End - the Isle of Dogs to be precise. This is where my family lived and the island provides all the material I need to write about. It all began when World War 11 ended. Dad was de-mobilized from the navy. He'd spent five dangerous years at sea and was eager to start a new life with Mum. But they'd lost everything in the Blitz. The East End was devastated by the bombing. Their house, furniture, belongings and possessions, all those precious photographs and letters, all gone up in smoke. Still, my parents were alive and together - and expecting me! So they left London for fresh pastures. Wherever they travelled Mum somehow managed to recreate the "Island World" she loved so much.
The first stop was the East Coast, the "Garden of England". Many Londoners spent memorable holidays hop-picking here. But I was lucky enough to have an aunt and uncle who owned a small hotel here. I was born and it wasn't long before my parents were off again, this time to family in Oxfordshire. My aunts and uncles were a musical bunch with fine singing voices and threw lots of parties. My cousins and I loved listening to the grown-ups getting merry as we huddled in our den beneath the table watching various sets of feet trip past accompanied by howls of laughter.
Dad and Mum developed itchy feet once more. Now we headed south. I was sent to a small convent where the nuns were kind and softly spoken, quite a contrast to my lively family background. One of the nuns, Sister Patricia, sat at a fabulous oak desk and daily placed a thick, creamy candle to burn on its leather surface. As she called the register the liquid wax bubbled down the sides and the bright blue Parker ink oozed from her gold tipped fountain pen. Her longhand flowed effortlessly across the page and I was hooked! I can still smell the candle, hear the rustle of the register page and see her beautiful slim fingers clasped around the pen. Now I often burn a scented candle as I write and I still arrange my desk, books to the left, pens and pencils to the right.
I wasn't a wild child but I adored the Beatles. All my first memories of falling in love are synonymous with their songs.
As the family has grown, so has my writing. The Millennium saw me writing LIZZIE OF LANGLEY STREET for Simon&Schuster, my first East End saga set in the 1920's and 30's. And this month number six arrives; the hardback of EVE OF THE ISLE, with the paperback to follow in November. How quickly time has flown and how lucky I am to be included on this list of esteemed historical writers!