Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
A huge welcome to my blog today Where you can read what Adrienne Chinn has to say About her writing and inspiration, too, She's even sent some family photos to share with you! Read on to find out more about her and her book I hope it will tempt you to give it a look.
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
The Three Fry Sisters series was inspired by the lives of my grandmother, Edith Fry Chinn, and my two great-aunts, Jessie Chinn and Ettie Chinn, who were all young women during WWI. My grandfather, Frederick Fry, was a professional photographer in London, as his father had been, and I’m lucky enough to have many of the photos he’d taken of his daughters. Edith married a WWI army veteran in 1917, and had two children. Her husband, Frank Chinn, emigrated with his family to Alberta, Canada after the war as he didn’t want anything more to do with Europe. They went through the Great Depression out there, and I wanted to write about that in the series (I cover this in Book 3).
Ettie Chinn became an army nurse and nursed on a hospital ship at Gallipoli and then in Egypt – I used her as an inspiration for Jessie. Jessie Chinn was a bohemian milliner, who had been engaged to a German student before the war. He was killed during the war, and neither she nor Ettie ever married (this happened to a lot of women who lost their husbands and fiances during the war).
What is your writing process?
First I write a short synopsis – a page or two, which I submit to my agent and editor. Once that idea is agreed, I’ll start developing a Characters file on my computer. Here, I write the full names of all my characters, both the main and secondary characters (I will add to this document as more characters are introduced as I write), their birthdates, where they’re from, where they were educated, what they do for work and leisure, personal tics (clearing their throat often, Christina running her hand over her ear, etc), talents, what they like to eat, wear, etc. Then I choose photos of actors/actresses and others from the net and “cast” the characters. This helps me visualise them when I’m writing.
Then, I create a Notes file and put in links to articles, photos, general notes from books, etc that I use for research. I research the story as I go, so this is always growing. I also buy books to read to augment my research, and wherever possible, try to visit the places I talk about in the books. Where this isn’t possible (during Covid, for example), I use Google Maps and find videos on YouTube of areas, and lots of online photos.
Then I spend a couple of weeks creating a detailed chapter breakdown for the whole book. This is a few sentences for each chapter where I say what I’ll be writing about in that chapter. This way I ensure that I bring in a lot of conflict and I keep all the characters involved. In The Three Fry Sisters series I colour code each chapter for each main character to ensure all their stories get “knitted” into the book.
Then, I start to write! This preliminary phase takes about 6 weeks and it takes me about 7 months to write the novel, writing about 1,000-1,250 words a day, 5 or 6 days a week (this takes me about 5 hours a day). I teach interior design part-time around this. I edit as I go, so I reread and edit what I’ve written the day before I start writing each day – it gets me into the story and it’s gets me past the hump of the blank page. Because I have a detailed chapter breakdown, I can also write out of sequence if I’m stuck on a chapter. This keeps the flow going. Once I finish a novel, I put it aside for a few days, then I reread the whole novel from the beginning, doing another quick edit before I send it off to my sister, Carolyn, who is my Beta reader, my agent and my editor.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I write on a computer.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
That’s a hard question to answer! I really like all of my characters, even the secondary ones. I try to make them multi-faceted – with strengths and weaknesses. I quite like when my characters are naughty, like Etta. She’s fun to write, but I also like characters like Jessie, who is so focussed and refuses to take “No” for an answer in her desire to become a doctor, and Celie, who is so stoic in the face of hardship. I liked Addy in The Lost Letter for her curiosity and willingness to dive head first into another culture, and Ellie in The English Wife for finding her strength and purpose in a remote village in a country far away from Britain. I like the men, too. I love Gerald in the Three Fry Sisters for his love and encouragement of his daughters and their aspirations, and I like showing the vulnerabilities of the men with whom the sisters get involved. It’s fun to explore various aspects of human personalities through al the characters. I hope they create a rich world!
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I think I’d like to be Jessie. I love her adventurous spirit and her determination to follow the life she wants to live, despite the many roadblocks put in her path.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
The names of my main characters are mostly inspired by my ancestors. Frank Jeffries is named after my grandfather Frank and my father Geoffrey. Celie (Cecelia) is named after my step-grandmother, Cecilia Cross. Jessie is named after my great-aunt, Jessie Chinn, and Etta is named after her sister, Ettie Chinn.
The Fry surname was my grandmother’s surname prior to marriage. Christina’s name popped into my head – I don’t have a relative with her name. Then, one day, after I’d finished the draft and sent it to my editor, I was walking in the churchyard of an old church here in Sussex and sat down on a bench. Right across from me I spotted a Victorian tombstone with the name Christina Fry on it! I took it as a sign. 😊
I also drop in names of people I know as minor characters or as people who are referenced in conversation. These are little “Easter eggs” for my friends and relatives.
What a fascinating interview – thank you so much!
Read on to find out more about The Paris Sister and its author……
Three sisters separate/d by distance but bound by love
The Fry sisters enter the Roaring Twenties forever changed by their experiences during the Great War. Now, as each of their lives unfold in different corners of the globe, they come to realise that the most important bond is that of family.
Desperate to save the man she loves, Etta leaves behind the life she has made for herself in Capri and enters the decadent world of Parisian society with all its secrets and scandals.
Celie’s new life on the Canadian prairies brings mixed blessings – a daughter to adore, but a husband who isn’t the man who holds her heart.
In Egypt, Jessie’s world is forever changed by a devastating loss.
And back in London – where each of their adventures began – their mother Christina watches as the pieces of her carefully orchestrated existence begin to shatter…with implications for them all…
Author Bio –
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter, a timeslip love story set in Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — was published in June 2020 and has become an international bestseller. Her third novel, Love in a Time of War, the first in a series of four books in The Three Fry Sisters series, was published in February 2022. The second book in the series, The Paris Sister, will be published in February 2023.
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