DUNKIRK BEACHES, where Albie lies  half-conscious and dreaming about home in my novel Helter-Skelter, are described exhaustively by historians, which made my job of writing about them easy.
After that introductory chapter, my novel takes you back 15 years to the time Albie is remembering, and the story moves inevitably back to Dunkirk.

DIARIES  It is early in 1940 when Albie and his pal Bert cross the Channel as soldiers, but there is a dearth of information about those first months of World War 2. You can imagine my delight on discovering diaries on-line – real accounts written by actual soldiers about what happened to them. There was even a touch of humour here and there, and true incidents which I could adapt and work into Albie’s story.
The moral? Follow every thread, however tenuous – you never know when it might lead to treasure.


  1. I'm not sure if writing about such a well documented event is that easy. You have to bring something new to the reading table...having read the opening chapters of your book I know you've achieved that.

  2. Thank you Helen - that's lovely coming from another writer!

  3. Soldiers find humour in the worst of situations. I have some stuff of my Dad's from WWI, which I'm going to use next year on the centenary of the outbreak of war. I shall present it as his work.

    When I worked on the Project team 25+ years back, I was the oldest team member,and my colleagues used to tell staff members, at our client factories, that I'd been wounded at Dunkirk. Some people believed it.

  4. I love Snailmale's comment. As I'm working on my Dad's memoirs, I'll be interested to see how he tackles it!

    Thanks for your interesting post, Lizy.

    Jemima at Jemima's blog

  5. I love how complex something like this can be. I think exploring it will give it a lot more texture--definitely like the sound of it.

  6. Snail - you are so lucky still to have your Dad's stuff. Make sure you archive it properly and if no-one in your family is interested, leave it to a museum. The same goes for Jemima.

  7. We live outside NYC now, but moved here from the UK. We spent six years as ex pats and absolutely loved the experience. I had to be crowbarred out : ). Good luck with your publishing dream!

  8. Your writing is very interesting... Cant wait to read more..


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