I’m very happy that today is publication day for The Chalky Sea – and by a happy coincidence also Canada Day – and the 150th anniversary at that. As the book is partly set in Ontario and has several Canadian characters that is good news indeed! Here’s a bit about the book.
I didn’t set out to write about World War 2 and certainly not to set a book in either Canada or Eastbourne but soon after moving here to Eastbourne I discovered its largely forgotten wartime history. The town was reputed to have been the most frequently raided town in the south-east of England, sustaining constant bomb attacks between July 1940 until March 1944. This quiet little seaside resort was a most unlikely candidate for the front line. At first, the reason for the Luftwaffe targeting it was to soften it up for invasion – Hitler’s aborted Operation Sea Lion was intended to take place along the Sussex coast. Later the raids happened because it was an easy target. German planes could scoot across the Channel and skim the sea under the radar, then rise up over Beachy Head and the Downs and swoop down upon the town. As Eastbourne was also a temporary home to several battalions of the Canadian army for much of the war that was an additional incentive – one of the worst raids took place just before the ill-fated attack on Dieppe in which nine hundred Canadians lost their lives.
I lived in Eastbourne when I was a teenager and had no idea of the town’s importance during the war years. Oddly enough I also spent a year as a child just outside Aldershot – another location in The Chalky Sea. Again, I hadn’t expected to be writing about that – until I discovered that it was the main base for Canadian troops during the war. Aldershot is the “home of the British army”, constructed as a garrison town during the Crimean War. The Canadians based there were for a long time a forgotten army – held in reserve while the British and other Commonwealth troops got stuck in. This was a frustrating time for what were voluntary soldiers, eager to see action.
Over the next few days I will be guesting on various blogs to talk about the book and the history behind it. Today I am a guest on crime writer, Robert Crouch’s blog. I will post links to all the blog tour spots on here – just go to the Press & Media tab in the navigation bar and you will find them there in the dropdown menu under articles and interviews. I will also tweet them and share on my Facebook Author page.
The Chalky Sea is available in Kindle and paperback. I hope you will read and enjoy it!