Barbara Burke, author of Not2Nite - A Candy Hearts Romance to Romance Spinners. As this beautiful WWII novella was released this week, you can grab a copy if it right now:
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When ARP warden Molly sees a light shining through the darkness of London on a cold winter's night in the middle of the blitz she's infuriated with the careless American who struck it. Doesn't he know there's a war on?
Guy's just trying to find his way through a maze of unlit streets. He's very sorry and Molly reluctantly forgives him. When he accompanies her on her nightly rounds the two learn about each other, themselves and whether it's really possible to fall in love in only one night - especially when there's no guarantee of tomorrow.
Normally the phrase "Not Tonight" is considered the antitheses of romantic. However, as this novella is set during The Blitz in London, the idea that one will not die tonight lends a thread of hope to this title. That totally worked for me.
So let's have a chat with Barbara Burke:
HWK: Nice to see another historical Candy Hearts story. What inspired you to set your story during the Blitz?
BB: It’s nice to be another historical Candy Hearts writer. Thank you for inviting me to be on your blog, Your Grace. I’m generally a Regency writer, but unless I wanted to incorporate time travel into my story I knew I would have to write something Victorian or later because Sweetheart Candies came out in the 1860s. I thought about a WWII story for purely practical reasons. It seems to be a hot period right now (my daughter finds it an incredibly romantic time, for example, and she’s right; who doesn’t love Casablanca?) and I thought that might help sales. Also, I’m a big fan of the music of that era – my husband and I like ballroom dancing and I adore the foxtrot – so that was a bit of a spur. When I started researching it I became absolutely fascinated. So much so, in fact, I’m now writing another one about an aviatrix who ferries planes for the RAF.
HWK: What lessons can the iGeneration, living in this world of technology and terrorism, learn from the Greatest Generation, who lived through WWII?
BB: I suppose it’s to work together. I did a lot of research for Not2Nite – which basically means I sat around reading a lot of memoirs when I should have been actually writing. One of the things that stood out for me was how people looked out for each other and put their own personal concerns aside. I’m sure there was lots of moaning, but the things that everyday Brits put up with because ‘there’s a war on’ was absolutely gob-smacking. And they carried on doing so. Rationing was still going on in the 1950s so they could pay off their war debt to the United States. I can’t imagine that happening today.
Having said that I have no problem with Millennials – I even have one of my own. I think they’re an absolutely wonderful generation – smart and connected and caring. I can’t wait to see how they do when they’re in charge.
HWK: Is there an element or theme you like to include in all your stories?
BB: Well, I’d like to have a cat in every story because my co-workers – and I use the word workers in its most forgiving sense because they’re even less productive than I am - and constant critics are cats, but that doesn’t always work out. Other than that I like snappy dialogue and I refuse to allow my heroine to randomly do something completely stupid just because the hero has entered the building. No humiliating falls or senseless spills. My heroes fall for competent women. Molly, my heroine in Not2Nite, actually gets knocked down by Guy, the hero, come to think of it, but she certainly doesn’t come across as incompetent because of it.
HWK: I agree that Georgette Heyer is one of the great writers of the 20th Century. What, in your eyes, makes her works great?
BB: Well, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with that remark. Let’s say she’s one of my favourite writers of the 20th Century. I don’t think she’s got a single book I’ve only read once. I’m the kind of person who can read something over and over again and continue to derive pleasure from it and she comes through in spades for me. Her characters are drawn so deftly and her dialogue just sparkles. And, of course, she owns the Regency. She invented a genre! How many writers can make that claim?
HWK: A Nigerian Prince shows up on your porch with the $2.5 million you won in the Spanish Lottery. However, it comes with a condition. You cannot spend it on yourself, or anyone you know personally. What do you do with it?
BB: Hmm, $2.5 million doesn’t buy anything like as much as it used to so I’ll have to be careful with it. The town I live in, which is the provincial capital so there’s no excuse, no longer has a library downtown and I think that’s a huge problem. So I guess I’d use the money as seed to get things started to build a downtown library again. People on the street would have access to books and the Internet and a warm and comfortable place to sit and read. And just as a general principle there should always be a downtown library everywhere there’s a downtown. Now let’s get to the more interesting part of the question: tell me more about the Nigerian Prince.
HWK: Preach it! If you could convince the world of ANYTHING, what would it be?
BB: Good grammar isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. (Thus speaks a woman who has been known to start a sentence with ‘and’.) If there’s one thing that sets my teeth on edge it’s people who misuse the language and then shrug it off with a casual ‘you know what I mean’ as if that’s any kind of excuse. I once saw a British television show in which the protagonist (who I will love forever) walked into an office and noticed a large sign on the wall which used the word ‘your’ when it should have been ‘you’re’. When he pointed it out and was met with indifference he sighed and said: “You’re the one who looks stupid”. That’s exactly how I feel. I try not to be too pedantic about it. And (see, there I go using ‘and’ at the beginning of a sentence) though it drives me crazy I’m trying to force myself to accept that words change and now it’s okay to say disinterested when one means uninterested and decimate when one means devastate. However, I will never accept people being referred to as ‘that’ instead of ‘who’. It’s The Man Who Would Be King not The Man That Would Be King. Who are we to argue with Kipling?
Having said that, I’m a typical Libra, which means I can see both sides of any issue. You wouldn’t believe how many hours of sleep I’ve lost debating the merits of the Oxford comma with myself.
HWK: I'm rather fond of the Oxford comma.
Not2Nite is out now for lovers of WWII and Romance. Get it from your favourite ebook retailer or wherever all good ebooks are sold.