Wendy was born and grew up in Surrey, attending school in Esher, where she developed an early interest in English Literature, especially that of the First World War. After twenty years running her own business in the graphic design industry, Wendy decided to fulfil her life’s ambition and become a writer, which she has now been doing professionally for over ten years, becoming a recognised academic authority on First World War Literature. Wendy lives near the beautiful West Sussex coast with her husband, grown-up daughter and teenage son.
Questions and Answers:
Q. Why did you want to write a love story set in the First World War?
A: I’ve read about and studied the First World War and its literature for over thirty years and it has always fascinated me. One of the most interesting aspects for me, is the relationships which were forged between the men who served and that is one of the things which I wanted to focus on. So, while Light and Darkness is a love story, that love is not always the conventional love of most romantic novels.
Q. Have you been able to be historically accurate?
A: Yes. I think it’s important in a novel set in a particular time in history that the author should do their best to stick to the facts. Obviously there has to be an element of artistic licence, but I’ve made a point of sticking to real events, where possible.
Q. Is Harry based on a real person?
A: Yes and No. The original inspiration for Harry was my great-grandfather, Harold Sutton who served as a Sergeant with the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was awarded the Military Medal and was wounded in 1917. He died – partly as a result of those wounds – in 1921 and is one of thirty-five men from both wars, who are buried in Sunbury New Cemetery in Middlesex. It was from his story that I came up with the idea of writing about the men who came back “damaged”. There, however, the similarity ends. Harry’s character and personality are a combination of many people. They have to be really, because Harry is many people: a son, father, husband, lover, artist, soldier and friend.
Q. Where did you get the title Light and Darkness from?
A: It’s the name of a poem by Edward Wyndham Tennant, written in October 1915, but I think it also epitomises the journey that Harry takes within the story.
Q. What do you read for pleasure or inspiration?
A: The answer is one and the same, really. I read anything to do with the First World War. I have a considerable library of books from and about that era: mainly non-fiction, but also memoirs and some fiction. The poetry of the First World War is very important to me and I can happily spend hours reading it. My favourite writer from that time is Siegfried Sassoon, whose words – both in poetry and prose – always move me… usually to tears.