My name is Anne Bennett now although it used to be Anne- Marie Flanagan and there are no prizes for guessing where my parents came from. So though I was a Brummie born and bred in Birmingham, I was brought up to treasure my roots and my parents were also staunch Roman Catholic. Because of this I always felt that I had a foot in both camps as it were and when an accident put paid to my teaching career and I began to write in earnest, though I had been scribbling for years, that is what I wrote about. I spent the first seven years of my life in a back to back house very near the city centre. We were moved in 1956 to a council house in a massive estate called Pype Hayes Estate to the north of the city and quite near Fort Dunlop where my father worked.
So the books I write are mainly based either in the inner ring of Birmingham or in Pype Hayes or near by Erdington or Aston which I also knew quite well and the Irish link is usually in the North where my parents came from and where out school holidays were spent. "Far From Home" which was out in January was based in Stockland Green which runs alongside Erdington and the area my husband grew up in. Stockland Green has changed a great deal, but the areas I grew up in and Aston bear no resemblance to the times I write about and so I must research it as thoroughly as I possibly can to get it right. I am asked many a time why I write about the war years and the reason is because I am fascinated by the way ordinary people coped with six years of war when their lives were often turned upside down and they often also had the worry of loved ones away fighting
In "Far From Home", the elders sister of a Donegal family, Kate Munroe is almost forced to leave home for she falls desperately in love with a man forbidden to her and she settled in Stockland Green because she had friends there.. When her sister, Sally joins her three years later she is surprised to find Kate still grieving for her lost love, but urged by Sally and her friend Susie Mason she agrees to date David Burton and eventually falls in love with him. But war clouds are gathering and they are married hastily before David joins the Royal Air Force. Kate and Sally volunteer for work as ARP Wardens and when David is posted missing Kate thinks she will never be able to cope with the loss of him . And then, through her ARP work, she discovers something that rocks her whole world for she realises nothing is as it seems and she has been lied to all her life.