Welcome to Five for Friday as we ask featured author John Searancke, who is busy promoting his latest book Prunes for Breakfast, five questions about his writing.
Thanks for joining us today.
1. How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
I started writing Dog Days in The Fortunate Islands about 2 years ago, and the whole process, from first word on paper to publication out to the books trade, took about 10 months. I was lucky enough to receive a contract from a “traditional” publisher, but the terms were arduous and, upon advice, I rejected it.
I had always wanted to write a book, (does not everyone, secretly?) and the opportunity finally came along when we retired and sold our business, giving me the time.
2. What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
For me, there are no worst aspects of actually writing! I enjoyed the process thoroughly. The best is to finally hold in your hand the result of all your hard work; the finished product. I hate being involved in the marketing and publicity, though.
3. What inspires you to write?
The idea of a story that just needs to get out, to be worthwhile, and hopefully which may receive some praise in certain quarters. Decent book sales help, too!
4. Who or what has had the greatest influence on your writing and why?
My wife and my dog for the first book, and my father for the second. Looking out at El Teide, that huge volcano which is visible from our terrace, is an awesome incentive, too!
5. Can you tell us about Prunes for Breakfast?
Another war memoir? Well, yes, and for a very good reason. It could not be told before, until personal papers and photographs were made available to the Author. This is the story of my mother and father, told mostly from the side of my father, from the time of his calling up in early 1940 to his release from a prisoner of war camp in Germany in 1945, thence to return to England to try to pick up the pieces of his old life. Nothing could ever be quite the same afterwards, but travel through those 5 years, learning of the ups and downs, the plots and counterplots, as my father rose through the ranks to end his war as a captain, elevated to that rank in the field as his troops faced the formidable might of the SS Panzers, and where his battle came to an abrupt end, surrounded in an orchard by the enemy and captured after a series of bloody skirmishes as the British army spearheaded its way from the beaches, through the bocage of Normandy, aiming for the liberation of Paris and then the final conquest of Germany. Such was the fighting that a VC was won that day, the action taking place in plain sight. His journey across France and Germany in a truck, with comrades dying each day, is as hard to tell as it may be to read, particularly when a new life and new harsh rules had to be learned and rigidly enforced in a prison camp in northern Germany, his final destination. Not all was doom and gloom however, because, for example, who else would order a new car whilst in that German prison camp, so certain that he would be home in time to take delivery? The story is full of uplifting moments and may possibly be the first time that an individual’s war story has been told in such a homespun and ordinary manner, complete with extracts of letters that passed between husband and wife over those 5 long years, adding greatly to the poignancy of the telling of the tale.
Thank you John and good luck with Prunes for Breakfast!
If you want to know more about John and his books you can visit his pages here at Rukia Publishing.
Meet the author John Searancke
Book Showcase Dog Days in The Fortunate Islands
Book Showcase Prunes for Breakfast
To connect with John or for further information visit www.johnsearancke.com
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