Shirley Mann
AUTHOR

Shirley Mann

Hello, It's wonderful to announce the publication of my 3rd book inspired by real, amazing women in WW2. This one, 'Hannah's War' is about a shy Land Army girl, who discovers that once she's tackled the challenges of frozen turnips, a huge shire horse and coming to terms with having her life saved by a German POW, she can finally become the woman she was meant to be. It follows 'Lily's War' and 'Bobby's War' that actually won the RNA Romantic Saga Novel of the Year Award. I was very chuffed to be short-listed for that award so you'll understand why I was almost speechless ( I said almost) when 'Bobby's War' was announced as the winner. It was only my second novel so to be chosen from such an eminent group of established writers was not only a shock but a privilege. I'm a journalist in her 60s who decided, somewhat belatedly in life, to write a novel. I'd spent my working life in newspapers and then BBC radio and television, before starting a media company making films for organisations such as the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England. My first novel, 'Lily's War' is loosely based on my parents' wartime romance- my mother was a WAAF in Bomber Command and my father was in the 8th Army and fought in Africa, Italy and up through Europe. I wanted to write a good read but an intelligent read and accurate research was crucial to me so, once my mother died, I travelled the country to talk to WAAFs, many in their late 80s and 90s. Their stories inspired these books and it was humbling to meet them and share their stories and if I've managed to convey what it was really like to live as young people through extraordinary times, then I feel I'll have done justice to their, and my parents' legacy. 'Hannah's War is about a Land Army girl who is, to be honest, terrified of everything. She joined the Land Army to escape the clutches of a mother who is threatening to stifle her but when she finds she has to deal with huge horses, enormous tractors and so, so much mud she begins to think her escape attempt isn't quite the adventure she was hoping for...oh, and then there are German POWs on the farm. But starting with having to come to terms with sharing a double bed with a stranger, she starts a journey that teaches her she is stronger than she thinks. I love her, she's different from the feisty Lily and Bobby but her journey is a huge one. 'Bobby's War' is the story of an ATA pilot- one of those amazing women who delivered planes around the country and I was lucky enough to meet Mary Ellis before she died in 2018. Her diminutive figure belied the fact that she flew planes on her own normally crewed by up to 7 men. But all these wonderful women's stories would be nothing without you the reader, so I really hope you enjoy my books. Do let me know what you think, it's so lovely to get reviews and I'm thrilled to see how much people are enjoying them. This has been a personal journey but I'm delighted to see how many people are engaging with it and finding a world that they can relate to. Many people have said the books have made them look again at the rheumy-eyed person behind the zimmer frame to find a young person facing the same challenges we are all still facing- be it Covid or uncertainty. I do hope so, they deserve a second look.
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