Delighted to welcome back fellow Apricot Plotter, Vicki Beeby as she celebrates the release of her third Ops Room Girls novel this week. I’ve started reading an advance copy of Victory for the Ops Room Girls published by Canelo and it is wonderful to sink back into the comfort blanket of characters I love already.
If you haven’t started this series yet, I can thoroughly recommend the books. Vicki is talking about what she envies about the heroines of her books – fascinating! Over to Vicki …
When I wrote THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, the first book in my Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series, I created three heroines: Evie, Jess and May. Evie and May both share similarities with me. Evie loves maths and enjoys proving trigonometric identities in her spare time. Well, so do I, and I’m not going to apologise for it.
May is very shy and again, I’ve got to put up my hand and confess that May’s shyness and inability to assert herself comes from me. In fact, one reason I enjoy writing so much is that it’s a bit like therapy – it gives me the opportunity to delve into aspects of my character and see how I might react in certain circumstances, and even explore areas of my life where I need to challenge myself. All in the non-threatening environment of a work of fiction.
Jess, however, is different. Jess is the anti-me. In many ways, Jess is the person I wanted to be when I was growing up, before I made peace with being a shy geek. Readers of THE OPS ROOM GIRLS and CHRISTMAS WITH THE OPS ROOM GIRLS will already be familiar with her. She’s the confident one who enjoys being the centre of attention. She can twist most men around her little finger and turns heads whenever she enters a room. I don’t particularly envy these characteristics now; I’m fairly content with who I am. However, there is one thing I do seriously envy about Jess, and that’s her unfailing ability to have a snappy quip ready at any time and in any circumstances.
As a writer, people often seem to expect me to have the right words ready at any occasion. In fact, the opposite is true. I never know what to say. And as for the appropriate words to write, I’m that person who, when signing one of those group cards that always seem to do the rounds at work, invariably ends up writing: ‘Best wishes from Vicki,’ when everyone else has written reams of flowing witty/sympathetic/heartfelt prose.
‘But you’re a writer,’ I hear you say. ‘Surely you can come up with something more original.’
To which the answer is: yes, but give me six months. That’s the advantage of being an author – I can write about characters making snappy retorts because I get a long time to come up with them. If you could read an early draft of VICTORY FOR THE OPS ROOM GIRLS, you would find several places where I’ve written something like: “Jess gave him a withering look and said, ‘[INSERT WITTY RETORT HERE]’.” It’s then taken months of agonising to work out what Jess would actually say. However, in real life I can’t say to someone, ‘Give me six months, and I’ll have the perfect riposte for you.’
So there you have it – I really wish I had Jess’s ability to come up with the right words at a moment’s notice.
Now I need the perfect line to round off this post. Give me six months, and I know I’ll have it.
So interesting! Isn’t it lovely to be able to allow our characters to either reflect us or to be the opposite of us? Thank you for the post Vicki and best of luck with the new book. Mx
About Vicki Beeby
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.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VickiBeebyAuthor
About Victory for the Ops Room Girls
The final instalment in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force series is here…
With Jess newly promoted to Filterer Officer at RAF Fighter Command HQ, she is delighted to be reunited with Evie and May. However, now that they can enjoy socialising in London, Jess fears her friends will discover the secret she keeps there.
When Jess bumps into Milan unexpectedly, sparks are reignited – did she make a mistake, finishing with him in Amberton? But matters are complicated when a film company arrives at Bentley Priory to make a morale-boosting movie about the RAF. The lead actor is none other than Leonard Steele, a man from Jess’s past who could ruin everything she has worked so hard to build…
Jess is about to fight her biggest battle just as the war nears its end. As her past and present collide, will she find the strength to fight for her future?
A gripping and emotional wartime saga ideal for fans of Daisy Styles, Kate Thompson and Rosie Clarke.