Monday, 24 September 2012

Hello from Anne Bennett

 My name now is Anne Bennett but I was born Anne Marie Flanagan for both my parents came from the North of Ireland and were staunch Roman Catholics.  I was born and bred a Brummie but taught always to be proud of my Irish roots and so I grew up with a foot in both camps as it were and this was brought into play when I was began writing seriously.

I based my books in the main in areas I knew in Birmingham, the Inner Ring where I spent my first seven years, Aston, Pype Hayes the massive estate we were moved to under slum clearance in 1956 and Erdington and districts around there.  I always link Ireland in some way and this is usually the North which I know better than the South as we have relatives there and we spent all our holidays there as I was growing up and still go back now.  The book "Danny Boy" was different in that, as I wrote about the uprising in 1916, I had to choose a village closer to Dublin to base my family  and I chose Blessington  in County Wicklow.  I spent a few days there talking to people particularly the Blessington Local and Family History Society who had helpfully  written a book, called "Blessington Now and Then" which was an immense help to me.

My latest book "Far From Home"  tells the tale of Kate Munroe, driven from her home in Donegal because she was in love with a man forbidden to her and she settles in Stockland Green an area adjoining Erdington because she has friends there.  Her sister Sally joins her three years later and together with Kate's friend, Susie, encourage Kate to go out with David Burton who is besotted with her.  Eventually, she feels the same and they have a hasty marriage because war clouds are gathering and David wants to join the Air Force.  When war is declared Kate and her sister and Susie volunteer to become ARP Wardens.  David is posted as missing after the Fall of Singapore and Kate is overwhelmed with grief and in the middle of this, as a result of her ARP work, she discovers something that rocks her whole world as she realises that things are not what they seem and that she has been lied to all her life.

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