Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Wartime Christmas

I'm Carol Rivers and I write about London's historical docklands from where my family came. The book above was published in October 2013.

During the 1920’s, Grandad was given the chance to rent a small, three-bedroom council terrace with a front parlour, kitchen and yard. Having lived in just two rooms above a shop with a shared outside lavatory, this was paradise.

Grandad was a casual in the docks and often out of work. He was also a revolutionary after having been tied to a gun-wheel and flogged in the Great War – by his own side. He challenged the unions and the government and Gran feared his “principles” would forever keep them in poverty. Unfortunately they did.

The sense of community in the East End pervaded everyday life. Islanders were close then, as they are now. My Gran who had been in service was a true matriarch, employing what she had learned as a lady’s maid, in her own home. She gave birth to stunningly beautiful daughters and a strong, handsome son who left for sea and the Spanish conflict. This is why my books are peppered with home-grown politics – as seen from an East Enders viewpoint. Very basic, but absolutely spot-on when it comes to shrewd survival.

The Rivers novels reach back to the first half of the 20th century and are a mixture of family drama, politics, the underworld and at the heart of all my books, a romance. In October I have a Great War book published with Simon & Schuster. TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS, celebrates the Centenary Year.