Many women worked undercover during the world wars, but we know the names of only a few. Like men in the secret intelligence services, many went to their graves never revealing their roles. This blog series highlights a few that inspired me while writing At the Table of Wolves.
This amazing World War II operative rose to the highest ranks of the French resistance and was deemed the best shot British intelligence had seen, male or female.
Cornioley was 29 when she was sent to France as part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE). Her flawless French and determination to fight the Nazis brought her quickly to prominent leadership in the resistance. She began as a courier between the British and the French resistance and rose to command 3,000 underground fighters, the only woman to serve as a network leader. At one point she presided over the surrender of 18,000 German troops. As cover, she often had a suitcase of cosmetics to deflect suspicion during her travels in occupied France. Read More…
This blog series on women working undercover during the world wars highlights a few of the stories that inspired me while writing At the Table of Wolves which deals with the anti-fascist career of Kim Tavistock in the years leading up to WWII.
In the second World War the life expectancy of radio operators in occupied Europe was six weeks. Despite the danger, a number of women applied for and were accepted by the British military for missions behind enemy lines. Among them was Nancy Wake, the first subject of my blog series, and Noor Inayat Khan.
Born in 1914, Noor Inayat Khan was the daughter of an American woman and a prominent Indian father who taught Sufism. The family settled in Britain but moved to Paris in 1920 where Inayat Khan studied music at the Paris Conservatory. At the outbreak of WWII the family fled to England where Inayat Khan cared for her siblings and her widowed mother. Despite her strong pacifist beliefs, she felt she most do something to fight the Nazis and joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and soon, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) for work as a radio operator where her fluent French was seen as a crucial asset. Read More…
Thank you to all those who entered my drawing for a chance to win a free audiobook of At the Table of Wolves!
Our four winners are: (And thanks to Sharon Shinn for conducting the drawing!)
B. Fisher, Z. Zielinski, A. Knight, H. Farmer. Congrats to the winners! (If any of the four of you didn’t receive an email from me yesterday with your promo code, please check your spam folder or contact me.)
Giveaways are a common feature of my infrequent newsletters, so please stay tuned for more offers like this one, and if you’re an Audible fan, the book is always available here.
The two-page synopsis is one of the toughest things I have to write. Yes, even harder than the chapter outline.
I mean, if I have 20 or so pages to convey my story in a detailed way, it’s kind of like writing a short story. The old line “Sorry this response is so long, but I didn’t have time to make it short,” carries a hidden truth. In many cases, long is easier than brief.
So, yes, I do think the two-page synopsis is murder. I like to start long and gradually pare down. (There are people who can pound out a synopsis in one sitting, but these people can never be my friends.) Read More…
How do you pitch a novel? And why lavish time on it? Is it just so that we won’t be caught flat-footed when someone asks what the story is about?
The Point of Pitching
A pitch is more than a conversational gambit. It’s true that an intriguing, quick blurb for a novel makes us look more professional–and saves us the embarrassment of stumbling through a painful and confused rendition. But a pitch also has a deep marketing purpose that goes beyond elevator encounters with editors.
A pitch for your novel positions your story amid the world of books. In that larger context, it gives instant perspective on the story, pinpointing genre, tone, and unique features. Read More…