It’s always a thrill for me to welcome a fellow WWII author to the blog. Jeanne Dickson is stopping by this week to share the inspiration for her new novel, Grounded Hearts. Here’s a little bit about the book:
What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.
Jeanne, what inspired you to write the story?
Grounded Hearts is very dear to me. The idea came from family history and stories.
After my mother passed away, my father and I became very close. When I’d visit him at his ranch in Paso Robles, we’d sit together at sunset on the deck overlooking the vineyard, and he’d open up to me in ways he never had before. I suppose he’d only shared his inner thoughts with my mother before she passed, but now I treasure our conversations. The germ of a story that would become Grounded Hearts came from one of those late night discussions.
My father was stationed in England during WWII. Issued with a weekend pass, he decided to fly to the U.S. Army base in Northern Ireland, and then visit family who lived nearby. Once there, he borrowed a bicycle and peddled across the border into Eire, “Free Ireland.” A few minutes into his ride, a member of the Garda, the Irish National Police, stopped him. The officer told him to turn his army jacket inside out, or he’d have to arrest him as a combatant and send him to the K-Lines internment camp. My father did as directed and continued on his way without further incident, which was fortunate because 240 soldiers from both sides of the conflict faced internment in Ireland during the war.
Remembering the story, I started the “what if” game. When I researched the period the Irish called “The Emergency,” the more fascinated I became and a WWII romance between a downed RAF pilot and a feisty midwife emerged.
Unfortunately, my father went to join my mother in heaven before Grounded Hearts was published, but I’d like to think he’d get a kick out of the book because some of the people in the town are based on family stories. And indeed, the gutsy women in my book resemble members of my extended Irish family.
Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards inclu ding the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.
Wow, what an incredible story, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing it with us! Jeanne is giving away a copy of the book. Just follow the instructions below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for joining us, Jeanne!