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Interview with Jenni L. Walsh


Samantha: Where did you learn about the WRENS—Women’s Royal Naval Service—and what inspired your story?

Jenni: I came across the mention of the WRENS in other historical fiction books. I was curious about them, quickly realized how awesome they were (hello motorcycle dispatch riders), and also quickly realized a novel hadn't yet been dedicated to them. I jumped at the chance to tell their stories through the fictional lens of Marion, who is a WREN during both WWI and WWII, and Evelyn, who serves during WWII.
 
Samantha: I love how you weave the two world wars together to show one beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking story. How did you create the structure of your novel?
Jenni: The novel can really be broken into two separate stories. And I wrote it as such, drafting Marion's story first. Then, I wrote Evelyn's. The fun part, though, is that their two separate stories eventually intersect, which reveals a big secret for the women.
 
Samantha: Who is your favorite character?
Jenni: Such a hard question! I love both Marion and Evelyn. I even grew quite attached to my secondary characters (I'm looking at you Eddie, Percy, and Sara). But Marion stole my heart. I put her through a lot in the novel and I love where she ended up in the end.
 
Samantha: Dare D-Evelyn was such a wonderful character. I adored her spunk and how she fought to be treated normally despite her corrected club-foot. But to the important question: Would you kiss the man you loved if your hair wasn’t combed? (This scenario is from a sweet romantic scene in the book).
Jenni: Our girl Evelyn has standards. And she wanted to make him work for that kiss! I'd probably make him wait, too ;)
 
Samantha: If you were a WREN, what position would you choose? From your explanation at the end of the book, there were: cooks and stewards, writers and telephonists, sail makers, coders and cyphers, and dispatch riders on motorcycles (so cool!).
Jenni: I really enjoyed learning about the motorcycle dispatch riders. They were right in the thick of it and had to be brave, practiced, and disciplined. As horrified as I'd be to ride along the front lines, I think it'd be an exhilarating way to contribute to the war efforts. I also think training the homing pigeons, like Marion does, would be interesting work.

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