The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Friday, 1 July 2016

OCCUPYING LOVE by Marilyn Chapman

Today I am delighted to welcome author Marilyn Chapman to talk about her latest release, OCCUPYING LOVE.

 Hello Marilyn. It's always a pleasure to meet you, even if it's only in the virtual world today, instead of the Hebden Bridge pub where we enjoy a lovely lunch and a chat every few months.

I would like to congratulate you on the release of your novel. You must be delighted...and what a stunning cover! Can you tell us a little about you?

I got my first break writing in a football magazine when I was 15 and have been writing ever since. An NCTJ qualified journalist, I spent my early years on the Blackpool Evening Gazette and Lytham St Annes Express in Lancashire.  I then helped to set up a family PR and publishing company on the Fylde Coast and freelanced for national newspapers and magazines. I now live in Lancashire with my husband. We have two children and two granddaughters who make us feel about 21!

That's wonderful. What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to write? 

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write.  I was always scribbling poems and short stories in a secret book I kept in my bedroom. When I told my school careers officer that I wanted to be a journalist she was horrified!

Guernsey - Photo courtesy of Pixabay
I wonder why. It must be a fascinating job. Can you tell us about your latest novel?

Occupying Love is set in the Occupation of Guernsey in World War Two and it’s the book I’ve always wanted to write.  It’ a fictional account of love, loss, bravery and heartbreak but ultimately of hope and happiness.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to write? (quiet, music, an empty house, coffee or chocolate?)

A pencil!  I have never been able to create characters on a keyboard – for some reason it has to be on paper.

We all have our own favourite way of working. I need to write things down too, and I have a collection of Clairefontaine notebooks I do all my scribbling in. What are you working on at the moment?

The sequel to my debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees. This follows reporter Sophie as she moves into the seventies, with a new job in radio and a love life a lot more complicated than she ever thought possible!

That sounds intriguing...What was your best ever moment as a writer?

Having my debut novel, Baggy Pants and Bootees traditionally published in 2014 after being shortlisted for the Festival of Romance new talent award. Seeing the paperback on the shelf in my favourite bookshop, Plackitt & Booth in Lytham, next to Victoria Hislop’s book of short stories The Last Dance rounded it off perfectly!

I can understand why that was a great and proud moment for you, Marilyn. It's wonderful to see your book in print. Why is Occupying Love so important to you?

I’ve waited a long time to publish a novel about the Occupation of the Channel Islands after starting the initial draft more than 20 years ago. I wanted to do justice to the islanders who lost their lives during the Occupation. The book is dedicated to my uncle, David Richard Brown, who died at the age of 13 whilst evacuated to Oldham, Lancs. I think of him as the Guernsey boy who never came home.

That is very sad indeed.

And now for the word association test...PLEASE CHOOSE 5 WORDS BELOW AND WRITE THE FIRST 3 WORDS THAT COME TO YOUR MIND!

1. sun                           stars, sky, night

2. summer                 Guernsey, beach, splash

3. romance                 novel, love, writing

4. chocolate               yes, please, now

5. reading                   Escape, inform, entertain

Excerpt from OCCUPYING LOVE

‘Don’t smile at them, they’re the enemy.’

‘I wasn’t smiling.’ Maggie pulled a face. ‘I just nodded, that’s all. I’m trying to be civil. Besides – what am I supposed to do?’

The two friends were walking down The Grange on their way to town, passing German soldiers on bikes or on foot at almost every turn. With her shapely figure and glossy brown hair, Lydia stood out against her friend’s chubby build and plain features.

‘Ignore them, Maggie, that’s what. They’ll be stealing our homes and our jobs next.’

‘I’m sorry, but. I can’t help feeling happy, despite the stupid Occupation. It’s so good to have you back again.’

The two girls had been friends since before they could walk. At the age of nine they’d scratched their arms with a penknife till they drew blood, vowing solemnly that nothing and no-one would ever pull them apart.

‘It’s good to see you too,’ Lydia said, linking arms, ‘We’re prisoners here now, don’t forget. We need to be careful.’

‘Do you mind very much not being able to go back to England?’

‘Of course not,’ Lydia lied. Just days after the Germans had landed in Guernsey she already felt trapped. ‘There are far worse places I could be. Like the prisoner of war camps in France. Half the people there have done nothing wrong. Anyway, the war won’t last forever. I’m sure Professor Williams will take me back when it’s all over.’

‘Pa says the Jerries will be gone by Christmas.’ Maggie had always been an optimist.

‘I hope your Papa’s right, but I’m not so sure.’

‘Oh, Lydia, you’re far too serious for your own good. Just look at the soldiers – they’re tall and muscular – not a bit like our lads. Which reminds me, Charlie Vaudin asked me out again last week. I don’t like him, but I’m running out of excuses now. What can I say to put him off?’

‘Oh, Maggie! How could you be so heartless?’

Author Biography

I got my first break writing in a football magazine when I was 15 and have been writing ever since. An NCTJ qualified journalist, I spent my early years on the Blackpool Evening Gazette and Lytham St Annes Express in Lancashire.  I then helped to set up a family PR and publishing company on the Fylde Coast and freelanced for national newspapers and magazines, including Woman.

My debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees was released as an e-book in February 2014 by a small publishing house based in Britain and Germany. A time-slip novel set between World War Two and the 1960s, it was published as a paperback in August 2014.

Born in Guernsey, I have been always wanted to write a novel set in the Occupation of the Channel islands, after hearing so many scary stories about life under German rule from my grandparents when I was a child. Occupying Love is the result.

 I now live in Lancashire with my husband and we have two children and two granddaughters who make me feel about 21!

 A member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association I am currently working on a sequel to Baggy Pants and Bootees.

 Thank you so much Marilyn for being my guest today. I wish you lots of success with OCCUPYING LOVE.

OCCUPYING LOVE is available here from Amazon


You can find Marilyn at




2 comments:

  1. Thanks for welcoming me to your blog, Marie, especially today when England and France are uniting to remember the battle of the Somme. I really enjoyed our chat!

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  2. It was a pleasure, Marilyn!

    ReplyDelete