IT'S SAGA SATURDAY!! Character Interview - Mary Whitworth-Baines from M W Arnold's Wild Blue Yonder...

Character Interview – Mary Whitworth-Baines

 Hello Mary and welcome. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Your name hints of the aristocracy, for instance.

Thank you for having me Rachel. My name, yes, I suppose it does. My friends have tried to get me to talk about it, where I come from, that sort of thing. Only, I haven’t. I’ve always said, you can choose your friends, but not your relations. Penny thinks she has problems with her family, if only she knew the truth about mine. I saw that raised eyebrow! My name isn’t something I’m very proud of and I gave serious thought to changing it when I joined the Air Transport Auxiliary, but decided there was nothing personally I’d done to be ashamed, so I kept it. I suppose the most my friends have got out of me is that I’m something like thirty-fifth in line to the throne, and that’s all I’ll say on the subject.

 That’s fair enough, Mary, I Hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable. I like the cut of your uniform jacket. It looks a little different to others that I’ve seen.

Well spotted. Actually, it is; and I expect from what I’m about to say will let you surmise more about my background. I do have a weakness for good clothes, always have and though it’s not easy to come across the same quality for civilian dresses nowadays, I found it was still possible to get a better quality uniform than what’s available from Austin Reed. Don’t get me wrong, the issue uniforms are fine, good, I’d even go so far to say, but I found my family’s tailor in Saville Row were still able to make me a better uniform. Not that we tend to wear it all that much though. Whenever we fly, we wear these things called, Sidcot Suits, which are a bit like bags with arms and legs sewed on. That’s being a little hard actually, as they’re really well designed for their purpose. Our boss, Jane Howell, likes us to keep our uniform with us when we fly though. That’s so we can look smarter if we have to take a train back to RAF Hamble. I’m not much for that idea though as we only have quite limited space in the bags we take with us, so they’re quite crumpled when we put them on. I sometimes wonder why I take the trouble to iron it and I daren’t let the tailors see the state it’s in now.

 A little bird has told me you’re afraid of chickens. Is that true?

Very funny, a little bird. Yes, I suppose you can say it’s true. There’s something about their scaly legs that give me the willies. Personally, this is another thing I blame my father for. He took me to see the Victorian dinosaur statues at Crystal Palace Park. Yes, I know there’s a bit of a difference in size, but to a six year-old girl who was rarely taken out, to suddenly be confronted by these huge scaly things was quite traumatising. They’re not accurate, to what dinosaurs really look like now, but that’s not the point. I believe what caused my fear was when we got back home, I went out to feed the chickens – I was fine until then – and fell down in the run, causing the bag of feed to spill out all over me. All of a sudden, there were roughly thirty chickens all over me, pecking and clawing at the feed. I’ve never been the same since. Oh, and yes, I do take a certain pleasure when I eat chicken.

 What do you get out of flying? Specifically, delivering these aircraft.

As we’re not allowed to directly take the fight to the Nazi’s, this is the best use I can put to one of the few skills I have namely, being able to fly. By performing our job, we actually free our front-line pilots from having to perform a job which would cut into their rest time in between sorties. Think about it. If we weren’t here, whenever a squadron needed a replacement aircraft, they’d have to detail a combat pilot to go and fetch one from wherever. That would potentially make them unavailable for a sortie, due to the time taken to actually get to wherever the aircraft was, not to mention getting back to his base. I also don’t like to point out the possibility of them being killed or injured if that plane crashed before they were able to deliver it. Think what a waste of life that would be. So, by taking that duty, and the risk, away, we potentially save a pilot from needless loss and speed up delivery times. It’s a wonderful system which has been honed to perfection.

 This has been a most informative interview, Mary. Thank you very much for your time, and safe flying!


Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Doris Winter is accused of stealing a valuable item from a famous Hollywood movie star, now a Captain in the US Army Air Corps, after a dance at the air base in England where he's stationed. Gathering her close friends together, she's determined to clear her name.

Ruth’s POW son suffers a life-changing injury just as her own cottage takes damage in an air raid and Penny's estranged little sister unexpectedly turns up, having run away from school. Together with the ongoing thefts of items of clothing and surprise personal revelations, these all threaten to hamper their investigation.

In spite of the worsening war situation, they must band together to rise above their troubles and prove love and friendship is worth fighting for.


A word about the author…

Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots and realizing how much he missed the travel. He’s replaced it somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels.


He’s the proud keeper of two cats bent on world domination, is mad on the music of the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and humoring his Manchester United-supporting wife. Finally, and most importantly, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. Wild Blue Yonder is the second novel in his Broken Wings series and he is very proud to be a part of the Vintage Rose Garden at The Wild Rose Press.

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1 comment

  1. Great interview, Rachel and Mick - really enjoyed it. Ellie