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The Genesis of the 'Wartime in the Valleys' Historical Series

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Welcome to the first post on my website blog!

One of the first questions I'm often asked by readers and bloggers is, what gave me the initial idea for the Wartime in the Valleys series? Despite being a history graduate, until the Heartbreak in the Valleys series was published I'd mostly written contemporary short stories and novels. The only other historical writing I'd done was a series for The People's Friend, set in the 1950s, a pocket novel, also for PF, set in the 1970s and a short story for an anthology set in in World War 1 Folkestone.

It wasn't until a 'hint' popped up on my Ancestry account, where I was researching my Welsh family, that I got the idea for an historical series. The hint led me to my great grandfather's World War 1 record, telling me he'd enlisted in March 1915. This was something I'd never heard before, assuming that, being a coal miner, he'd been in a reserved occupation, not realising that it didn't become one until 1916.

Originally I wrote a short story, but eventually it evolved into a novel, with Anwen Rhys and Idris Hughes as the romantically linked main characters. My great grandfather had been living in New Tredegar in the Rhymney Valley at the time he enlisted, but I decided instead to base the setting on a village up the road, Abertysswg, where my other maternal great grandparents lived.

And so was born Dorcalon (meaning literally, 'Heartbreak') and a new series concerned with the lives of the women (and men) of the Welsh Valleys in the Great War.

Abertysswg in 1973, taken by my father

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