1. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but my father persuaded me teaching was a more realistic career, so I buried my authorial aspirations and dedicated myself to attempting to inspire teenagers instead. I think my father was probably right – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my teaching career – but after decades of suppressing the writing urge, it’s wonderful to finally have two novels to my name,

The Child on Platform One

The Child on Platform One

2. In my late teens, I decided if I couldn’t be a writer, then I would become a reader, so I enrolled on an English degree course and have devoured books ever since. Looking back, it was the best training I could have had. I think it’s impossible to write if you don’t read.

3. Both my novels - ‘The Oceans Between Us,’ about a child migrant to Australia, and ‘The Child on Platform One’ about a little girl on the kinder transport - feature parent-child separations. A few years ago, my son set off on what we jokingly refer to as his ‘gap decade’ and met a beautiful Romanian doctor who is now his wife. They have made their home in Bucharest and although I know he’s very happy there, I can’t help missing him – so when I write about mothers who miss their children, I am writing from the heart.

4. My father was in the R.A.F in world war two, arriving in Normandy a few days after ‘D’ day. Although he didn’t talk much about the war, I felt my childhood was shaped by his experiences, which might be why I feel drawn to writing about that period in history.

5. My mother, who was younger than my father, was a teenager during the war and lived near Croydon, in the South of England. She told me how once she was in the school playground and became transfixed by a ‘dog fight’ (aerial battle) happening overhead. In the end, a furious teacher had to drag her back to the classroom. I have a scene in ‘The Oceans Between Us’ where my protagonist, Jack, is fascinated by the war planes flying above him, and I think this was inspired by my mother’s experiences.

6. I’m addicted to the soap ‘Coronation Street.’ I started watching it with my mother, and carried on after her death as it reminded me of her love of the programme. But now I watch it as a writer – some of the scenes are brilliantly constructed, often ending on a cliff hanger. People have told me my books are ‘page turners’ and I think I get that sense of pace from my love of popular drama.

7. I have two gorgeous little granddaughters, Leonie and Corinne, who thankfully live nearby and whom I adore. It’s wonderful to have someone to read stories to again.

‘The Child on Platform One’ is dedicated to them (although I certainly won’t be reading it to them until they are a lot older).

Gill Thompson is the author of THE CHILD ON PLATFORM ONE.

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