IT'S SAGA SATURDAY!! Please welcome Canelo saga author, Vicki Beeby...

I’ve always loved watching old war films, so when I decided I’d like to set my next novel in World War Two, I started by rewatching favourites such as A Matter of Life and Death and Angels One Five for inspiration. I found it a little frustrating that in most films the action centred on men. You would occasionally see women in the background, but you never discovered what they actually did. In particular, I was curious about the women in some scenes in Battle of Britain films, who could be seen pushing blocks around a chart on a large table.

After some research, I discovered that these women were plotters in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), and they performed a vital role, tracking incoming enemy aircraft. I was especially interested when I found that the women chosen as plotters had to be good at maths, because I love maths almost as much as I love reading! From that moment, I knew my heroine would be a plotter in the WAAF during the Battle of Britain. I researched by reading wartime diaries and delving into archives of oral and written memories, and my heroine, Evie, and her friends Jess and May, gradually took shape in my mind.

The key moment of my research was a visit to the Battle of Britain Bunker in Uxbridge. It was a real thrill to visit the underground bunker that served as 11 Group’s Operations Room. The guide gave fascinating insights into the lives of the women and men who had worked there, and it brought Evie’s role to vivid life. After that, the words flowed, and I loved every moment of writing The Ops Room Girls. I can’t wait to share it!

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Rachel.

The Ops Room Girls Blurb:

When Evie’s dreams come crashing down, she’s determined to still make something of herself in these trying times…

It is 1939 and working class Evie Bishop has received a scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford when tragedy turns her life upside down. Evie must seek a new future for herself and, inspired to contribute to the war effort, joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Ops Room plotter.

Posted to a fighter station on the Sussex Coast, Evie befriends two other WAAFs – shy, awkward May and flirty, glamorous Jess. Faced with earning the approval of strict officers and finding their way in a male dominated world, the three girls band together to overcome challenges, navigate new romances and keep their pilots safe in the skies.

But the German bombers seem to know more than they should about the base’s operations, and soon Evie, May and Jess are caught up in a world more dangerous than they ever imagined...
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Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

Twitter: @VickiBeeby
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