I have a very special guest today, author Sally Stephenson.
I met Sally while participating in the TRINITY blog tour for Clare Davidson. After speaking with Sally, I happily agreed to let her take over my blog today as part of her WILDFLOWERS blog tour. So take it away, Sally. Info about her book appears after her post.
I had graduated from university in 2011 and was beginning to contemplate applying to do a MFA in Creative Writing in America. Part of the application pack required a 30 page sample of writing and at the time I didn’t have anything I could submit. I thought about a war novel and began to write. Originally it was a same-sex relationship and I couldn’t get it to work. I then attended the Pride Parade in Leeds on August 5th 2011 and heard a speech being given by the mayor who spoke about homosexuals being persecuted during WWII and I had never heard that side of history before. I did more research on it and suddenly had my story. originally however, I had made Edith and Helena women who were in their thirties and it didn’t work. Inspired then by Boy in the Striped Pyjamas I made the characters younger but it seemed like too much of a copy so I aged them again to seventeen and it seemed to work. I wanted to write a LGBT book because it felt like I could make the characters real, I knew how to write gay characters a lot better than straight characters and I believed in their relationship a lot more than the straight relationship that I was trying to create. I wrote it because of this aspect, because I wanted to write about relationships that don’t get written about a lot or ones that don’t really appear in mainstream fiction and I thought the idea was unique enough to perhaps be a success. I ended publishing the book a year to the day of getting the idea, I ended up not applying to do a MFA and I did have a couple of agents express interest but self publishing seems to be working at the moment.
With my main characters I molded some of them on my own attributes – both girls are bookish, Edith is a little awkward and shy. She dotes on her father as I did with mine and she always wants the best outcome in a situation. Helena is stronger, she possesses the strength I wish I had and people say they’ve seen (I’m not sure I believe them!) but she’s a little gutsier. She also goes with the motions and doesn’t really think ahead – another little trait of mine! With their mothers I wanted to use female figures that I aspire to or who I find to be role models. I admire older women who are strong and believe in what they’re doing, I also admire women who are soft-natured towards their children and make great mums and so that’s what I wanted to put into my mother characters – this is seen particularly in Frau Heulmannd.
Some fun facts about me:
- I’ve lived in five countries (UK, Australia, America, Thailand and New Zealand)
- I know how to say hello in over ten languages
- I can make a group of 50 Thai kids perform a singing contest using very few commands in English
- I hated high school and would try not to go whenever possible – instead of becoming a juvenile delinquent I would read obsessively and write obsessively. I remember writing instead of studying for my GCSE’s! (Not something I’m recommending btw!)
- In one of my GCSE exams I wrote as an answer that pigeons didn’t have ears. To this day I haven’t been proven wrong!
From Goodreads: During the Second World War, 100,000 Germans were killed due to their sexuality. As the death toll begins at the start of the War, Edith and Helena must not only come to terms with their sexuality but decide whether to fight Hitler’s new regime or live a lie in order to survive.
You can find Sally hanging out at the following social media sites: