#BlogTour Q&A with Ellie Dean #WithAKissAndAPrayer @arrowpublishing #NewRelease #saga #WW2Fiction #Cliffehaven

With a Kiss and a Prayer Jacket
With A Kiss And A Prayer by Ellie Dean
Cliffehaven, May 1944

The tension is rising for Peggy Reilly and the inhabitants of Cliffehaven as the planes continue to roar above the town and there is still no news of the long-awaited Allied invasion into France. There seems to be no end in sight of this war which has scattered her family and brought conflict right to the door of Beach View Boarding House, but Peggy cannot work miracles and the toll of the war is beginning to weigh on her slender shoulders.

Meanwhile, Ron Reilly has landed himself in hot water with his sweetheart, Rosie – and this time, his Irish charm will not be enough to get him out of trouble.
The war has forever changed the lives of Peggy’s loved ones, but with the promise of an Allied invasion comes the hope that her beloved husband and family will at last be coming home. It will take an enormous amount of spirit to keep that hope alive and bring harmony back to Beach View.



Q) What made you want to become a writer?

A) I’ve always loved reading and making up stories. I am an only child, raised by my grandmother and her sisters, who opened up the world of books to me. Yet it was the family story which always intrigued me and I knew that one day I would have to sit down and write it. I eventually achieved this, and it was the start of me realising that storytelling was something I could really do well. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q) Describe your writing routine and where you like to write?

A) I have black coffee for breakfast, at least two cups, and make a point of reading the newspaper before doing the Sudoku, and the cryptic crossword. This gets me into a working frame of mind and wakes up my brain. I have an office in my house that overlooks paddocks and the South Downs, and I sit down there before ten every morning. I check my emails and Facebook, and then read through what I’ve written the day before. Editing this gets me into the next scene that I want to write. I work through from ten until around six, five days a week. If a deadline is looming however, then I might work over the weekend and at night. I find that sometimes I do my best work after midnight!

Q) What themes are you interested in when you’re writing?

A) The theme of family, and of the intricate threads that bind people together or tear them apart. People react differently to situations, and I find it fascinating to watch my characters evolve throughout the book.

Q) Where do you get your inspiration from?

A) Inspiration comes from everything and anything. A conversation overheard – a newspaper article, a line in a book or a song.

Q) How do you manage to get inside the heads of your characters in order to portray them truthfully?

A) Once I have the plot and the title, then I must have the actors playing their parts. I wait for them to come to me, to show themselves and tell me about their lives. It might sound weird, but that’s how I work. It’s like meeting new friends. You don’t know everything about them immediately, but as they talk, you can discover who they are, where they come from, their social background, their aspirations, their failures, etc. As an author I become this person, with their viewpoint, their likes and dislikes and the reactions they will have to any given situation. An author must evolve into these characters to make them fully rounded, and it doesn’t matter what gender they are – people are very similar underneath the skin.

Ellie Dean
Ellie Dean

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the #BlogTour below & the Twitter #Giveaway via @arrowpublishing tomorrow***
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#BlogTour #TheWaitingHours by #EllieDean #Review @arrowpublishing #Cliffehaven

The Waiting Hours Jacket
The waiting Hours by Ellie Dean

Slapton Sands, 1943

War has not been kind to Carol Porter. It took her husband and baby, and with them her heart. At last she’s found some peace, working as a land girl at Coombe Farm. But Carol’s sanctuary, the whole local area in fact, is about to be disrupted.

When Pauline Reilly hears Carol’s news she’s worried for her little sister. But as rumours about Slapton Sands reach Cliffehaven, Pauline can’t help be more concerned for her only surviving son. And despite her sister-in-law Peggy’s best efforts, nothing soothes Pauline’s fears.

As Carol prepares to face the impending upheaval alone her beloved mother, Dolly, swoops in to Slapton, and packing up Carol’s life presents unexpected opportunities for them both: Carol looks to her future while Dolly confronts a ghost from her past, and they both have a chance to mend their broken hearts.

thewaitinghoursasset1 thewaitinghoursasset3

My review:

An engaging WW2 saga, about love, loss and family! The year is 1943, with the novel actually building up to the events of Christmas 1943 and right through to D-Day invasions. Although not a Christmas novel, the fact that it covers the Christmas period in-depth means, it would make for the perfect Christmas gift!

Carol Porter knows the pain and hardships WW2 can bring to innocent civilians, having lost both her husband and baby. She is alone in her grief and sets out to become a land girl, in an effort to channel her pain. Carol starts work at the Coombe farm, ran by the Burnley family. Cantankerous yet loveable Jack Burnley and his battle-axe wife Millicent. The work is hard and makes for long days of manual labour. The other land girls Maisie, Pru and Ida at only 21yrs old, have fled London after their homes were destroyed in the bombings. Carol is a lonely character, that you often pity and admire in equal measure. But carol has family and they make for quite the multitude of characters themselves…..

Carol’s mother Dolly, is quite an unusual woman. Known for her fur coats, high heels and glamourous lifestyle. But what Dolly’s daughters don’t know, is that she secretly works for the SOE and is involved in missions relating to operation overlord. Upon hearing of the requisition of Slapton Sands and knowing Carol’s house stands to be taken over by American forces. Dolly descends upon Slapton Sands.
But there is a mysterious American who means both betrayal and love to Dolly that she wishes to avoid at all costs!

Carol’s sister Peggy lives locally at Cliffehaven with her husband Jim, daughters Daisy, Cissy and Anne, sons Bob and Charlie. She is a family orientated woman, who is a ray of sunshine bring love and warmth to everyone she meets. She is often the closest protector of her sister-in-law Pauline. Pauline having experienced the loss of two of her sons in the war and with a husband and surviving son still serving, is awash with nerves and worry!

American General Felix Addmington and his British Sgt Cornwallis arrive in Slapton Sands to a very cool/uneasy welcoming. The locals don’t want to be forced out of their homes and cannot gather the importance at the mission being created around them due to its top secret nature.
Can Felix win over the locals?
Why does Dolly avoid Felix like the plague?

At times the novel felt overly descriptive and I felt it needed some tweaks on historical accuracy. But it is a saga and therefore, to be told from the character’s point of view. Which it does incredibly well.

There is a wealth of characters from all ages, that resonate with the reader. The relationships and the impact of the war is always at the forefront of the story. The Devonshire setting adds to the location, giving of a ‘local’ feel to the way the characters interact with one another. The moment when Pauline waves off her surviving son Brendon to war, I felt tears sting my eyes. It reminded me of my grandmother (90yrs old) telling me “that every mother on her street, lost a son in the war”.
The characters feel real and authentic, you root for them and the various troubles the face! 4*

Ellie Dean
Ellie Dean
To find out more about the author and her novels visit her website:

*If you follow @arrowpublishing via Twitter, tomorrow they are hosting a #Giveaway for the novel!