The winter of 1941 was harsh. My father, remaining in London to fight the fires ignited by Hitler’s bombs, sent my mother to the safety of the Durham countryside to give birth. A city girl to the core, she returned to South London with her bundle of joy (me) within months. Save my mum’s dear brother, our family survived the war and moved to the relative prosperity of Brixton. At seventeen, I enrolled at the Brixton School of Building, where I spent six years studying construction management, while also working on various building projects around London. I was soon accepted as a member of the Chartered Institute of Building. In 1966, I jumped at the opportunity to escape the bleak English winters to work on a swanky hotel in Nassau. Four weeks before my departure, I bought a pint of bitter for a bewitching Yorkshire lass who happened to be holidaying in Bournemouth. During our brief courtship, we met each other’s families and promised to write. Ten months later, I returned, requested her hand and whisked her off to paradise. 40-odd years later, we are still together and blessed with two wonderful children.
Life was spent between England, The Bahamas, Bermuda and the US. Hobbies included sailing, horses, flying and cooking. Work was fulfilling in many ways; it even provided for an element of creativity. But the artist in me was itching for an outlet. (Sorry if it sounds much too grand!) I have always wanted to write. So, at the ripe old age of 55, I began.
I studied and attended workshops on fiction and screenplay writing and created two screenplays. I carried out many years of research on the subject of the British airship program (which has fascinated me since reading Nevil Shute’s Slide Rule as a teenager) through books and on-site visits in the UK and US. In the end, I had enough material to write two novels. The Airshipmen was the first. I had thought of changing all the names in the story, but in the end, I decided I wanted to honor the real characters—each heroic in his, or her, own way in the struggle called ‘life’.
Thomson watched the Princess make her regal entry. Gliding down the stairs, she moved as though suspended in air. He took in every part of her: her beautifully shaped hands and fine fingers on the gleaming brass rail, her slender arms exposed from the three-quarter-length sleeves of a gown that did not hug her body, but hinted with subtlety at what lay beneath. The Airshipmen