A gripping story of love and mystery set in the world of the London edition of WWII, When we will see each other again tells the story of a mother in search of her stolen child and illustrates the indestructible bonds between families, lovers and readers in the shadow of war.
We chat with author Caroline Beecham about When we will see each other again, plus writing, book recommendations, and more!
Hi, Caroline! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I was born in England and have lived in Sydney for the past twenty years, although I consider both places to be my home. I have two teenage sons and we live in a large suburb called Balmain, where we love to go out on the harbor and enjoy the great beaches and restaurants. I worked as a TV writer / producer and then found a new way of telling stories through fiction, which I now do full time. I wrote four novels set in the 1940s, so I think maybe I accidentally became a history buff!
How did the first half of 2021 go for you?
To be honest, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster; incredibly exciting with my debut in the US and working on a new novel, but also difficult to find the emotional energy after last year. We all had to get used to the ‘new normal’, and there were issues with the child’s schooling and it was hard not to see our family in the UK, although we really have good luck. luck compared to so many countries so now i consider all i have learned about resilience and protecting the wellbeing of others.
Quick flash tour! Tell us about the first book you remember reading, the one that made you want to be an author and that you can’t stop thinking about!
I remember reading The little Princess and how it made me feel deeply sad and then happy. I was probably seven or eight years old, and while this wouldn’t have been the first book I read, I was surprised that a book could affect me so much. The book that made me want to be an author is Perfume by Patrick Suskind; I was fascinated by how the senses could come to life on the page and how it could invoke such varied emotions. It seemed impossible to imagine how to do it, so I guess I challenged myself! It’s also a book that I keep thinking about for this reason …
When was the first time you discovered your love of writing?
Working in film and television involved a lot of writing; treatments, proposals and a little scriptwriting, even though I have never had formal training; my first cycle was in economics and social policy. I realized that I loved writing when I was offered the opportunity to write the novelization of a film I was working on; I wrote a sample chapter for the publishing house and got the job! I started writing again when I had children and found that fiction offered so many more storytelling opportunities, especially when it came to untold stories of pioneer women.
Your new novel, When we will see each other again, released on July 20e 2021! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?
Surprising, compelling, uplifting, heartbreaking, hopeful
What can readers expect?
When we will see each other again is a mystery about a woman’s search for her stolen child. It is inspired by real events and takes place in the publishing world of London and New York during WWII. It’s the story of a young woman, Alice Cotton, who demonstrates extraordinary resilience as she manages to cleverly combine her search for her missing child with the challenge of creating wartime indispensable books. Readers will be taken on a journey of interesting and despicable villains, as well as great animal stories, and they will also discover how important wartime books were to the public as well as to the military.
What was the inspiration behind When we will see each other again?
When I found out that a 1940s parent had a baby that had been sold to a childless couple in a nearby town, it sparked my interest in these illegal options and raising babies. It seemed so cruel, but when I looked into the matter and found out how common illegal adoptions were and how difficult it was for women with so few options, it convinced me that there are had a story to follow. I had also read about the importance of books in wartime, and how difficult they were to create, so I thought this would make an interesting and dramatic setting for the novel.
Can you tell us about the challenges you encountered while writing and how you were able to overcome them?
It was difficult not to be able to travel to some of the places in the book; I did a lot of research in 2018/2019 but never made it to Book Row, or places in New York. Visiting real places is a great inspiration on how to convey the sense of place through the five senses, even though I have been fortunate enough to have traveled a lot in the past so I try to tap into Memory. I can’t wait to return to the United States and visit Book Row, as well as shopping and visiting museums and restaurants!
Are there any favorite moments or characters that you really enjoyed writing about or exploring?
I knew little about the choices available to women who got pregnant out of wedlock in the 1940s, and many did because of the war. It was fascinating to learn about the social rights defenders who worked on their behalf and that is why many of the characters in the book are based on real people. And of course, the stories about the wartime London Zoo and the animals are true and fun to research and write, and provide a bit of light to balance some of the darkness of the story.
What’s the best and worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice is to read a lot and widely and the worst is anything that is too prescriptive. There is no right way to write and you have to do what works for you, from finding what inspires you to finding the writing process and routine that matches your family, your style. of life and your creative energy.
What’s the next step for you?
I’m working on a novel based on the untold true story of a woman who helped rescue thousands of refugees from mainland Europe before and during WWII. I don’t want to say too much, except that it is a dramatic and heart-wrenching story and there is a remarkable legacy of the Diaspora that she helped save.
Finally, do you have any book recommendations for our readers?
I’m a little late for the party but I really enjoyed reading Paula McLain’s novels, The Parisian woman, VSIhang the sun, as well as Meg Clayton White’s The last train to London and Beautiful exiles, and of course her Australian colleague, Natasha Lester’s The Parisian secret. All of these books entertain, inform and transport the reader with great characters and gripping storytelling and are truly inspiring for a writer!
You can find Caroline on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as on its website.