Tuesday, 27 September 2016

New Novel: "The Beauty Shop"

Today, I'm thrilled to reveal the cover of my debut novel, The Beauty Shop, so here it is:

Well, as my frequent readers have seen, I've been writing recently about the Guinea Pig Club - a club formed by a group of burned airmen during the Second World War. It was for severely burned airmen, who were under the care of Archibald McIndoe. The club continues to this day, and out of the original 649 members, there are 17 remaining.

When I began to write the story, it seemed that not many people knew of the existence of this club and the history around it. However, due to the efforts of the Guinea Pig Club and all who support them, there has been more media coverage, a memorial to the plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and various events. So, it seemed apt for me to release my novel this year, given that it is the 70th anniversary of the Guinea Pig Club.

I have been fortunate enough to have spoken with several people who worked with Archie McIndoe, one of whom worked with him during the war. I have also had the honour of speaking with Dr S Saunders, who is a 'guinea pig' and was so inspired by Archie's work that he trained to become a doctor after the war.

I spoke with Sandy Saunders by phone, and he wasted no time at all in telling me his story, and how he became a 'guinea pig.' I have to say I was saddened, and he must have picked up on this towards the end as he apologised for being so frank. But the truth was, I didn't find the details gory in any way - how could he shock me, an ex-nurse? I was, in fact, close to tears.

But even with gory details, tragedy and sadness, I find myself drawn to such pockets of history. I am in awe of these men and their bravery and of how they overcame the odds to lead the lives they've had. And I'm in awe of the maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe, who forged an early working model of holistic care. He changed the boundaries and became a friend to his patients. He gave them hope. When a young airman was severely burned, disfigured and beyond recognition, he instinctively might have thought his life was over - many of them did. But Archie threw them a lifeline, one which each man clung to tight. Archie told them what he could do for them and how they might live their lives again. For that, and all that he was, they loved him. He was their 'boss' and their 'maestro,' and this was what they called him.

The book is available from Amazon and you can pre-order the Kindle version now which is due to be released 28th November 2016. The paperback and hardback will be available from December 2016.

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