‘They must stand together or risk being torn apart….’
Today I am delighted to be joining Nancy Revell on tour with her third novel in The Shipyard Girls Series.
Secrets of the Shipyard Girls is just released by Arrow Publishing and continues with this compelling saga about the amazing women who carried out such dangerous and backbreaking jobs.
During World War Two, seven hundred women worked in the Sunderland shipyards. These books are Nancy Revell’s tribute to them.
Please continue reading for a wonderful guest post from Nancy Revell entitled ‘The inspiration behind ‘The Shipyard Girls’ saga series. . .’
The inspiration behind ‘The Shipyard Girls’ saga series. . .
‘Didn’t women work in the shipyards then?’
That was the question which launched the start of The Shipyard Girls saga series. It was posed by my husband Paul while we were sat in a beer garden early one evening having just walked the dog. Earlier on that day my agent had rang me and told me that a major publisher was looking for a new Second World War saga and would I like to pitch an idea?
‘Of course,’ I said, ‘I’d love to!’ and immediately began churning over ideas. I continued churning whilst walking the dog and then sipping on a chilled sauvignon blanc.
I’d decided the location would be Sunderland, where I was originally from, and that the perfect setting would be in the shipyards as that was what my hometown was probably best known for. (Or, at least, it had been up until the early 1980’s when they were closed down.) The problem was the main protagonists in this World War II saga series had to be female.
When Paul questioned whether or not women had worked in the shipyards, my first reaction was, Of course, they hadn’t – the shipyards had been the domain of the menfolk. Hadn’t they?
But, his question planted the seed of doubt, and when we got home, I started googling.
To my complete surprise I found a couple of articles about women who had, in fact, worked in the shipyards during World War Two – and that seven hundred women had worked in the shipyards in my native Sunderland!
It was a light-bulb moment, and almost immediately a rough outline for a new saga started to write itself in my head.
Over the next few days and weeks as I researched and fleshed out a proposal for what was to become ‘The Shipyard Girls’, I became increasingly more enthralled by what I learnt about these remarkable women who had stepped into their men’s steel-toe capped boots to carry out extremely dangerous and backbreaking work.
How could these women who did such hard jobs in such hazardous conditions (there was no such thing as Health and Safety back then) fail but to totally inspire?
It didn’t take long for my main characters, Rosie, Gloria, Polly, Dorothy, Hannah and Martha to take shape and start to clomp around in my head in their denim overalls and heavy workers’ boots.
I was over the moon when the publishers also loved my women welders and not only commissioned three books straight off, but have since wanted instalments of The Shipyard Girls every six months.
Women Welders (Courtesy of Nancy Revell & Newcastle Chronicle
I’ve now written four books in the series and am about to embark on the fifth, and for each book I carry out as much research as possible. Over the past two years I have been lucky enough to be able to speak to some real life women shipbuilders who worked in yards along the River Wear during the war.
One woman I met was just like one of my main characters, Polly, who found the love of her life in the shipyards. Another woman told me about her aunty who left her job in the town’s main department store to go and work as a riveter just days after being told her fiancé had been killed in action. She was determined to fight back in the only way she could – by working in an industry that was a huge thorn in Hitler’s side, and without which the war would never have been won.
It never failed to amaze me just how totally incredible these women were, but what surprised me the most was the immediacy of their smile and their genuine enjoyment when recalling their work in the shipyards. They never talked about the hard labour, or having to work out in all weathers, or the worries they had about loved ones – but about the fun they had, the chatter, and, moreover, the pride they felt in what they were doing.
I think it’s terribly sad that most of these women have now died with little recognition or praise for the work they did and the conditions they encountered.
It’s my hope that The Shipyard Girls series will go some way to keeping alive the memory of those inspirational women who played such an important role in such a crucial period of our history.
Book Info ~ Secrets of the Shipyard Girls
As the world war continues the shipyard girls face hardships at home, but work and friendship give them strength to carry on.
Gloria is smitten with her newly arrived bundle of joy, but baby Hope’s first weeks are bittersweet. Hope’s father is missing at sea, and with their future as a family so uncertain, Gloria must lean on her girls for support.
Meanwhile, head welder Rosie has turned her back on love to keep her double life secret. But her persistent beau is determined to find out the truth and if he does, it could ruin her.
And there is finally a glimmer of hope for Polly and her family when Bel and Joe fall in love. But it isn’t long before a scandalous revelation threatens to pull them all apart.
Purchase Link ~ Secrets of The Shipyard Girls
About the Author:
Nancy Revell is a writer and journalist under another name, and has worked for many national newspapers, providing them with hard-hitting news stories and in-depth features. Nancy has also worked for just about every woman’s magazine in the country, writing amazing and inspirational stories.
Nancy has recently relocated back to her hometown of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, along with her husband, Paul, and their English bull mastiff, Rosie. They live just a short walk from the beautiful, award-winning beaches of Roker and Seaburn, within a mile of where the The Shipyard Girls series is set.
The subject is close to Nancy’s heart as she comes from a long line of shipbuilders, who were well known in the area.
Twitter ~ @arevellwalton