Well, lovely supporters, I got my 'structural edit' back today. The editor has written a summary of her thoughts and then detailed notes through the whole book. I haven't read all her comments yet - I got a bit stuck on the first paragraph, which is still making me glow with pleasure! I think there is a lot of work to do over the next few weeks (to be fitted in with working and teaching commitments) but I am thrilled to have someone, completely unknown to me and with a professional eye, say this:
"Your memoir has a great (and commercial) premise, and I really enjoyed reliving your father’s earlier life experiences and learning more about this fascinating period in WWII history. He was a stoic, level-headed and resourceful personality who lived a fuller life than most, but chose not to shout about his achievements. WWII is of perennial interest as a genre and Princess Anne’s Foreword helps to give this gravitas. Your writing is polished, your descriptions are vivid, your questions are intelligent and you’ve clearly done a lot of research".
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Here is one of my favourite extracts from Dad's diaries, where he talks about his journey from Longchuan (where they left the river) to Shaoguan. Luxury travel it was not:
“When we did get a bus it was a closed truck with two small windows on either side, one behind and one in front with a completely closed back. Inside it was almost 5 feet high. Into this enough luggage was put to cover completely the whole floor to a depth of two feet. Into the space above we crammed 34 people. Some I admit were children but even so it was incredibly crowded and once inside and settled quite impossible to move without deranging someone else. On the move when there was enough draft the ventilation was not too bad, but as soon as we stopped it became stifling and one suffered from a terrible feeling of claustrophobia. The drivers were very unwilling to unlock the rear doors, partly because it was a rather long process and partly because at every opportunity we would jump out to stretch our aching limbs and it took a very long time to put us back in again. To add to our comfort about 50% of the other passengers were constantly car sick”.
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