The day we remember in the year that commemorates the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians during the wars, is November IIth. On this day 1918, all major hostilities ceased between the warring countries. It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a date that the world never forgets. An irony, perhaps, that those wars still continue whilst we revere our dead. All my family were involved in both World War I and World War II. I'm a result of the troops returning home, one romance that had a happy ending. My first book, LIZZIE OF LANGLEY STREET, unsurprisingly therefore, tells of the aftermath of war and the struggles of one man's family to survive tragedy. So I'm more than happy that Simon&Schuster have decided to publish my seventh novel, EAST END ANGEL, set during World War II, in the East End of London, on Armistice Day. The eleventh of the eleventh, 2010. How cool is that? I spent over two years writing LIZZIE, taking the story from the very beginning and going into the lives of a war veteran who lost both his legs. I have a little note in front of me, which reminds me of the starting point of this very challenging story.
"Just before midday on November 10th, H.M.S. Verdun, with an escort of six destroyers, leaves Boulogne with the Unknown Warrior aboard. The destroyer Vendetta meets them half-way with its White Ensign astern at half-mast. A salute of 19 guns is fired from Dover Castle as the Verdun slips alongside Admiralty Pier in Dover Harbour. The entourage of servicemen and coffin board the train to London. One hundred sandbags of earth from France accompany them. King George V places a wreath on the gun carriage that takes the coffin from the Cenotaph to Westminster Abbey. The Unknown Warrior is decorated with wreaths. One of them is laurel from the ruined gardens of Ypres. All is silent in the Abbey, save for the gentle clink of spades, as the Unknown Hero is finally and fittingly, laid to rest."