Quintette asks writers five quick questions. This week’s interview is with:
1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?
It takes me ages to find titles for stories – this one was called “miner + airman” until about draft 4, when I decided I was close enough to the end that I really ought to get thinking about a proper title. Having just settled on “Make Do & Mend” being suitable for the era and themes of the book, Manifold Press announced a book by Adam Fitzroy called – yes, you guessed it, “Make Do & Mend”.
So I went back to the books I’d read as initial research for inspiration, and found mention of a poem that members of the Air Transport Auxiliary thought fitted their work. The first lines were quoted as being “Dicing with death / Under leaden skies” I haven’t yet been able to find a copy of the full poem, but decided that Under Leaden Skies fitted my story very well.
2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?
Oooh, tough question! I don’t tend to cast my characters, but I’ve had a lot of thought, and decided Gregory Peck as Teddy and Errol Flynn as Cheeks because I think it was watching old movies with those actors which got me interested in the era when I was younger.
Huw’s more difficult, and I think I’ll go with James Bolam – I don’t know if he’s very well known outside the UK but he’s done a lot of very good TV work in the UK (all of these actors I’m casting in their younger years, to suit the characters’ ages).
Since I’ve mentioned the men, it would be rude not to think about Syliva. She’s harder for me to cast. I’m going to say Grace Kelly, but really she could be played by any one of many classy actresses from the 1940s & 1950s.
The only person I have no trouble casting is Jem, one of the secondary characters. I took a day’s break between my penultimate edit and last read-through, and watched the whole of Lucifer season 1. Jem needs to be played by Tom Ellis with his Lucifer voice.
3. What five words best describe your story?
Aircraft, lovers, loss, family, love.
4. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Another tough question… I fall in love quite easily with any well-written couple, and there are several I’ll enthuse about at any one time. I like a bit of snark and realistic misunderstandings to happen in a fictional relationship, because that makes it more believable for me. Sarcasm is also good and, because I’m British, the ability to sort everything out over a cuppa or a pint.
My top choice changes at least weekly, and is highly influenced by which book I read most recently… right now, I’m going to say Tom & Phil from JL Merrow’s Plumber’s Mate series (Pressure Head, Relief Valve, Heat Trap, and the recently-released-I’m-going-to-read-it-tonight Blow Down)
5. What song always makes you cry?
Danny Boy – even just the tune will have tears streaming down my face. I’ve loved it since I first heard it as it’s a beautiful piece of music, but now I’m an adult it just gets me, every time.
I found a couple of versions online which I liked – one was by the Dublin Male Voice Choir (I do love a good male voice choir), but the one I liked best starts at 3:06 in this video:
I was imagining it was Huw singing while I listened to it… yeah, right in the feels (as they probably don’t say any more as I am always hopelessly behind the times)
About Under Leaden Skies
Love. Loss. Betrayal. Forgiveness. Honour. Duty. Family.
In 1939, the arrival of war prompted ‘Teddy’ Maximilian Garston to confess his love to his childhood friend, Huw Roberts. Separated by duty – Teddy piloting Sunderland flying boats for RAF Coastal Command, and Huw deep underground in a South Wales coal mine – their relationship is frustrated by secrecy, distance, and the stress of war that tears into every aspect of their lives.
After endless months of dull patrols, a chance encounter over the Bay of Biscay will forever change the course of Teddy’s life. On returning to Britain, how will he face the consequences of choices made when far from home? Can he find a way to provide for everyone he loves, and build a family from the ashes of wartime grief?
About Sandra Lindsey
Sandra lives in the mountains of Mid-Wales with her husband. Their garden is full of fruit and veg plants as well as home to a small flock of rare breed chickens, and she is a servant to two cats.
Sandra loves indulging in stories because she gets to spend her time with imaginary friends, and the research and observation required to write fiction open her eyes to a myriad different ways of seeing the world. Find her on Twitter @SLindseyWales – or curled up out of the way reading a good book!
Buy Under Leaden Skies