Have you ever wondered what the area where you live was like during the Second World War?
I like to tell stories sparked by interesting items that catch my attention and I’ve found inspiration in a many different places. Since one of the genres I write is historical fiction, sometimes that’s something I read in an old newspaper or a history text, or maybe something I’ve noticed in the landscape around me. My historical series, The Yankee Years, was inspired by the area where I live in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The county has a rich and varied wartime history and, after I moved to the area almost two decades ago and learned about this history, I became fascinated by it.
The war was a pivotal point in Northern Ireland’s history and the influx of Allied troops had a major impact on the economy and culture of County Fermanagh. Army camps and Air Force flying-boat bases sprang up, and the population of the county grew until approximately a quarter of the entire population were military personnel. Fermanagh must have been so different from the quiet rural area that I know and imagining this really intrigued me. The events during the war and their impact on the county grabbed my imagination and that’s how my historical saga series was born.
Despite the impact the war had on Fermanagh, there was an interesting dichotomy in the county. The old way of life was disrupted and challenged by the incomers from unfamiliar cultures but, at the same time, fundamental aspects of rural life didn’t change so I can easily imagine what farm life was like at that time as small farms are still very much the same today. The continuity of this way of life through the generations is another feature of the province that fascinates me.
As we mark Remembrance Day today, how much do you know about the wartime history of the place you live? If you delve into it, you may make some amazing discoveries.
And why not dip into a wartime story set in Fermanagh? Allies After All is free here.