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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Deb McEwan

on 07/02/2017

A prolific multigenre author, Deb McEwan, is here to share with us why she loves her character Michelle. Thank you for participating in this series, Deb!

Why I like Michelle – by Deb McEwan

I joined the British Army (the Women’s Royal Army Corps) in 1979 and left (the Adjutant General’s Corps) in 2013. 

In 1979 sexism was still rife and most women were non-combatant. Out of uniform, fashions were dodgy to say the least. Teenagers my age were still riding high from the movie “Grease”, talking about “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and scared after watching “Halloween” (the last might have been just me to be fair). The Bee Gees were big and as well as singing along to ‘Tragedy”, the Village People had made a name for themselves with “YMCA”. Ian Drury and the Blockheads had a hit with “Hit me with your Rhythm Stick” and Gloria Gaynor released “I Will Survive”.

The seventies is the background to my first “Unlikely Soldiers” novel, “Civvy to Squaddie”. Some of the story is based on experience, the rest on my imagination –  only my army family know which is which!

Michelle Warbutton is one of the two main protagonists. She’s innocent and naive. Growing up in a dysfunctional family in 1970’s Britain Michelle tries to make sense of life and the people who love her, but still let her down. In the small (fictional) Welsh village of Talywen everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. When her nasty Aunt lets a family secret out of the bag, Michelle knows she has to get away. She doesn’t want to make a career in retail and as she leaves school, realises she’s squandered her education. Her brother Graham joined the Army and she enjoys listening to his exciting stories when he comes home. He occasionally compares army life to that in Civvy Street and Michelle wonders if this is a famous place in London and if she’ll ever get to see the places her brother has visited. 

Against the wishes of her parents and her brother she attempts to join-up, but she’s too young and discovers that the option to join juniors isn’t available to girls in late 1970s Britain. She enrols for a boring college course until she’s old enough to enlist. 

After three days of tests and interviews at the Women’s Royal Army Corps Centre in Guildford, Michelle is over the moon when she receives a letter informing her that her application has been successful. 

Following a sad farewell to her parents she embarks on her new career, discovering aspects of her personality and nature that she didn’t know existed, and earning herself the nickname Mouse. The army will consume her every waking moment. It’s where she finds the love of her life and encounters an enemy who is intent on making her suffer. 

Deb’s link 

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4 responses to “Why authors ♡ their characters – by Deb McEwan

  1. debmcewan says:

    Thanks for being the perfect host Anita. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great interview and awesome cover!

    Liked by 2 people

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