PART 3: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

When I put out the call for questions ahead of my Luminous Colours of Dusk book release, inevitably there would be questions about Spain and my books based there. So, here is a Q&A section dedicated to my Secrets of Spain series.

Why write about books based in Spain?

That is a good question. I’m a New Zealander, a baby country with a small but interesting history. To write the story of my family coming out to this pioneering nation from Scotland and Ireland would make a great tale. But when I moved to Spain, the place spoke to me, as it has spoken to so many foreigners over time. I feel a personal connection to the struggles of the country, and the history and politics speaks to me better than my home country. (Though, since it’s election time in New Zealand, I’m pretty outspoken at the moment). You can find a 1001 books based in Madrid, Barcelona, or anywhere in southern Spain, but Valencia sits outside the spotlight. You only have to visit the city to understand how unique it is, and to me, the perfect setting to write books. The history of the place gives so many exciting possibilities.

Why write about the Spanish civil war?

There is no war like the Spanish civil war. There was no one side versus another, rather factions coming together, struggling against the enemy and one another. Nothing is as vicious as a civil war, yet other nations weighed in, while some stayed on the sidelines with their own agendas. Volunteers came to fight and changed the course of the war. While one side defeated the other, and evil won the war, some believe the outcome was a good one. There were no winners in Spain, and the wounds are not fully healed. The multiple facets are what drives my interest.

Out of your Spanish books, who is your favorite character?

Tough question! Luna Montgomery was the first character I ever created, but she has a great supporting cast in Blood in the Valencian Soil and Vengeance in the Valencian Water. I have always enjoyed writing Paco Beltrán, patriarch of the Beltrán Morales bullfighting family. He played a good role in both books, and has a big space in the third book, Death in the Valencian Dust. As evil as he was, I enjoyed also writing José Morales. His transformation from conflicted young officer to evil Francoist was a joy to undertake. I know a lot of people found him hard to stomach, but some really liked him. Scarlett Montgomery was a great character for me, as she was based on a real life New Zealand nurse who defied her country and went to the civil war.

How much research do you do for your Spain-based books?

I lost count of the hours spent researching years ago. I never stop researching – everyday conversations with Spain lovers help me. Even tiny comments can come in handy for minor details. I can often sit down and need a basic piece of info for a chapter and spend all day reading, long forgetting the original point I needed. One day I sat down at my desk at just after 9am, needed a detail on where a bus stop was in 1957, and then my alarm rang to stop writing at 2.45. Somehow, the whole day had disappeared. I never know where I will find helpful information. Between all the books and websites I use, I can be buried in info, much like my desk is. I can’t actually see my desk under all the stuff I have piled up ahead of my next book on Valencia.

I am lucky to be part of #wabas – Writers and Bloggers about Spain. The members are kind enough to let me be part of their group and I can absorb all kinds of information from them, so thanks!

What will the next Luna Montgomery book be about?

(I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible for readers still on books one and two)

Death in the Valencian Dust is another double timeline story, split between 1975 and 2014. At the end of the second book, Cayetano Beltrán asks his uncle Jaime about the time he went to prison in Valencia in 1975. It is centred around the time when Franco dies and King Juan Carlos takes over, and the upheaval Jaime goes through thanks to some dodgy dealings in Valencia. The 2014 timeline sees Cayetano at age 45, facing retirement from bullfighting, while Luna’s life is going in a very different direction. Cayetano is struggling with Luna’s rising career and ambitions while the sun sets on all he has ever known. The Beltrán Morales family has undergone a major upheaval since we saw them in 2010 (cant tell yet!), and in the shadow of King Juan Carlos retiring, they reflect on their family and the loss of all the traditional Spanish ideals they have previously enjoyed.

Have you ever had the desire for Luna Montgomery and Darren James to become a couple?

Pro-cyclist Darren James will be in the third book very prominently, and still rubbing Cayetano Beltrán up the wrong way. The men will find common ground with the changes in their lives and careers, but they are an uneasy alliance with Luna endlessly caught in the middle. Have I had the desire to have Luna and Darren as a couple? Yeah, I have thought about it. There is a lot of logic in a pairing like them. The third book isn’t out yet…

How do you feel about reviews of the series? Do you seek out reviews?

I’m not really comfortable with asking for book reviews. I am pretty happy with the reviews I have received, and get nice little messages via twitter regularly from people who are reading. I write a niche subject so it is easy to get lost in the crush of millions of books to read. I am meticulous with my planning of the series, and that satisfies me personally.

Of all the people you have killed in the series, which was the hardest?

SPOILER ALERT – you may want to skip this bit if you are not finished the books

I have always felt bad about killing Alejandro Beltrán. To me, it was an awful way to die and I feel sorry for writing it. Cayetano Ortega was a tough character to kill as well. In fact, everyone from the first book in the 1939 timeline met a sad end.

Do you have a book planned, away from the Secrets of Spain series?

I do, my long suffering novel based in Spanish civil war slowly continues to grow in size. The book starts in Barcelona 1937 and progresses throughout much of the war, based mostly among the fighting of Madrid, Barcelona and Teruel (and surrounding areas). That will be released after Death in the Valencian Dust, with all new characters from me. The characters are fictional, based on real accounts, and set to the real timeline and outcomes of the war itself.

Do you use social media much for book promotion?

It was be impossible to work without social media, though I have placed a ban on using it on my computer, or I never get any work done. I have broken my bad social media habits. In saying that, you can always catch up with me. Twitter is my preferred medium, much more than Facebook. You can find me –

Website: here obviously

Facebook: Caroline Angus Baker (subscribe, since I make many public posts)

Twitter: Writer_Caroline

Pinterest: WriterCaroline

Tumblr: Duende Lover

Google+ : Caroline Angus Baker

Book Links:

US – Caroline Angus Baker

UK  – Caroline Angus Baker

New Zealand (paperback only) Caroline Angus Baker 


Part 4 is all the questions about writing, and Part 5 is the first chapter of Luminous Colours of Dusk. Also, there will be a free promotion on Night Wants to Forget and Violent Daylight. Details will in Part 4.

Click here for Part 1 – all about Canna Medici – PART 1: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

Click here for Part 2 – all about me – PART 2: ‘Luminous Colours of Dusk’ Author Q+A

THREE DAYS ONLY: Get the ‘Secrets of Spain’ series free!

To celebrate some spectacular climbs in the year’s Tour de France, for 72 hours only, you can download Blood in the Valencian Soil and its sister, Vengeance in the Valencian Water for free, for your Kindle (or on any device using the free Kindle app). They are the first and second parts of the ‘Secrets of Spain‘ novel series, featuring bike mechanic Luna Montgomery from Valencia, and Cayetano Beltrán Morales from Madrid, and their quest to dig up Spanish Civil War and Franco-era mass graves, while coping with 21st century Spanish life. Get one, get both, read in any order, the choice is yours! Read about 1930′s war time Cuenca, Valencia 1957 and the flood which took over the city, and present day Valencia, Madrid and Cuenca. The series has something for everyone – Spain, history, war, bullfighting, cycling, romance… whatever you like, this series will give out your favourites and tell you the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary lives. Of course, you don’t need to have a knowledge of any of these subjects, just jump in and follow the story!

Check your timezone, so you don’t miss out on the offer. The books will be on sale –

July 22 09:01 – July 25 09:00 Europe time

July 22 00:01 – July 24  23:59 US Pacific time

July 22 19:01 – July 25 19:00 New Zealand time

Click here to download –





Video: VALENCIA Waterfront Cities of the World (Discovery Channel)

Here is an amazing documentary (in English) on the city of Valencia. Many of the places described in both Blood in the Valencian Soil and Vengeance in the Valencian Water, including the 1957 flood, the beauty of the old town, the Turia and the Arts and Sciences complex and the Cabanyal district. As a special treat, the doco interviews author Jason Webster who talks about the history of the city. I think I spotted just about every single major location in my books in this video! This video is definitely worth your time.



Valencia, Spain: October 1957 – After a long hot summer, Guardia Civil officers José Morales Ruiz and Fermín Belasco Ibarra have had enough of their lives. Sick of dealing with lowlifes and those left powerless under Franco’s ruthless dictatorship, the friends devise a  complex system of stealing babies, to be sent away to paying families. But as the October rains fall, the dry Valencian streets fill with muddy water, and only greed and self-preservation will survive…

It’s 2010, and Luna Montgomery is busier than ever. With the mystery of her murdered grandfather solved, she reluctantly prepares to be the bride in Spain’s ‘wedding of the year’. But four more bodies lie hidden at Escondrijo, Luna’s farm in the Valencian mountains. Her fiancé, bullfighter Cayetano Beltrán Morales, is not eager to have his name brought up in a post-civil war burial excavation. When Cayetano’s grandfather José, an evil Franco supporter, starts to push his ideals on Luna, her decision to join the Beltrán family comes under scrutiny.

The Tour de France is fast approaching, and Luna’s position as a bike mechanic on Valencia’s new cycling team begins to come under pressure. When an ‘accident’ occurs at Escondrijo, lives hang in the balance as more of Spain’s ghosts come to life and tell the story of a flood in 1957…




As promised, here is the first chapter to read ~

Agosto 1957 – Valencia, España

 Valencia. It was hot. Stinking hot. Not as hot as back home in Madrid, but still, when combined with the stench of a fly-ridden body, the heat was hell. The whole place was hell. At least while standing in Plaza del Temple, outside the Delegación de Gobierno building, there was a hint of a breeze.

José sighed as he pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket. Fuck, not many left. Perhaps some of his fellow funcionarios could start paying back the ones that they owed him. They would have to; he didn’t have a céntimo to spare for cigarettes. God forbid luxuries in this shithole. Why did his wife want to bring more babies into this world? For God and country, she would say. Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ will bless us with a son, she would say. More appealing was the bonus that José would get from Franco for having more children. The Caudillo encouraged more children from his downtrodden population. It was a mystery how anyone could feed these extra mouths; a  Guardia Civil pay-cheque couldn’t feed more kids. But after four years of marriage, all José and his wife Consuela had produced was their daughter, Inés. It was staggering what a beautiful baby girl could do to man, even a hard police officer like Teniente José Morales Ruiz. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on. His fellow funcionarios would howl with laughter if they knew how soft he was with this daughter. Especially since they knew how rough he was with the sons and daughters of his fellow Spaniards when he hauled them into the cells of this hot city. Upholding the law didn’t produce half the excitement José expected, so he needed to create his own.

“Sueñas, Morales?”

José glanced up from the dusty footpath and watched Teniente Belasco come towards him; the tall thin man looked sweaty in his dark green Guardia Civil uniform. “I’m not daydreaming,” he replied and poked his unlit cigarette back into his pocket. “Where have you been? I thought we agreed to meet here.”

Belasco glanced up at the 300-year old building behind his partner. His eyes traced along the triangular turrets of the Monastery del Temple attached to the government building. The original temple had been built to commemorate the conquest of the city in 1238. “Sorry, but when a member of the public needs a dose of Guardia Civil justice, I must go where I’m called. You know I love beating people.”

“Why did you leave me to submit your paperwork with the civil protection division today? I’m not your slave.”

Belasco gestured over his shoulder in the direction of the prison near the end of the river. “Had to throw a few whores in one of the cells on Paseo de la Pechina. Nasty bitches, too. The ones who scratch when you shove them.”

“The kinds you use in the night?”

“Yeah, one of them did look familiar. I tell you, the whores back home are far more beautiful.”

“You won’t ever get back to the Basque country,” José commented. “So stop dreaming about their whores. If they look anything like you, they must have faces like wild pigs.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me that the whores in Madrid are better?” Belasco challenged.

“I wouldn’t pay to touch one of those skeletons. Christ, I wouldn’t do it if they were paying me.”

“Do you ever dream of returning home?” Belasco asked as he wiped the sweat from his brow in the midday sun.

“You know the rules,” José sighed. “No, the Guardia Civil needs us here. So, here we are, stuck in Valencia. I will go home one day. My life won’t be like this forever.”

“Ah, yes, the big dreams.”

“You bet. One day, I am going to save enough money to buy my own land and people will work for me. No more wrestling petty criminals and dirty whores.”

“I love being a bully in a uniform. Plus, it gets us paid.”

“We are not getting paid enough.” José studied his fellow officer. He and Fermín Belasco Ibarra had worked together for several years, and he was sick of it. Belasco lived in the Guardia Civil barracks, but spent most of his free time drinking and sleeping with women, whether they consented or not. This hard-hitting life spoke through Belasco’s features; he looked exhausted all the time. “I don’t know how much more of this life I can take.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“You want out of the Guardia Civil? Fuck, no other work pays as steady as this. Sure, you can go home to Madrid, but then what? It won’t be happily ever after for you and the lovely Consuela if you starve to death.”

“Tell me about it.”

“If I had a pretty girl waiting at home, I might be a bit happier.”

“If you keep quarrelling with whores, the only thing waiting for you is a rash.”

“Too late for that.”

“Gracias, Fermín. Thanks for sharing.”

“We’re not all as lucky as you. You get a wife, a daughter, and permission to live outside the barracks on Calle de Calamocha.”

“Soy un hombre afortunado.”

“A very lucky man indeed.”

“One day, I will be just as lucky. I will go home to my beloved Basque nation and have a real life.”

“Don’t let any of the others hear you say that. May I remind you that the Basque country is part of España? Get in line, hermano, you are no different to the rest of us.”

“I thought I could trust you. I thought we were friends.”

José shrugged. “I could arrest you. Say you are an enemy of the State, and are plotting against Franco and the unity of España. And I would, too, if I would get something out of it.”


“De nada. If we were in Madrid…”

“Here we go again.”

“Shut up. If we were in Madrid, we could be part of an elite squad, out chasing rojos, the dirty red socialists who are hiding. That would give us some excitement.”

“Part of Franco’s special forces? They work here, you know.”

“But in Madrid, they’re catching the most dirty rojos, the filthy ones who got up to all sorts of treachery during the war. Those guys get to chase those pigs. They get to meet Franco. Valencia may as well be in the fucking desert compared to the action going on in Madrid.”

“It feels like the desert,” Belasco grumbled. He pulled at the collar of his heavy dark green jacket; beads of sweat ran down his neck as he did it. “Valencia saw plenty of action during the war, so surely there are loads of socialist pigs to catch here, too.”

“But we aren’t seeing any of that action. We are guarding cells full of whores and drunks.”

“One of them was dead in there this morning, you know.”

“Fuck, I know, I could smell him when I dropped off a pimp earlier.”

“And the truck isn’t taking him out to the cemetery until nightfall. They are stuck with the body all day.”

José glanced away from his worn black boots on the dusty path, and up out across the riverbed before him. Nearby limp trees were still in the heat. The river looked the same as always. Quiet. Innocuous. The river itself was 150 metres wide, yet the water that flowed was a tiny fraction of that, and the stream didn’t offer much water today. The rest of the riverbed was dry, and a few slum shacks had emerged. Those people would be royally fucked if the water level rose. But it was August, summer in full swing. It would be hot and dry for months ahead. That river wouldn’t come to life.

“There’s another one of ‘those’ in the cells today, those women who attack the clergy. Had to haul her out of Iglesia de Santa Catalina. She was in there, hurling abuse – and blows – at the priest. She had already injured two of the nuns.”

José turned and looked at his friend. He knew what Belasco meant. Nuns stole babies from their young mothers in the hospital, and the infants were sold at a profit through the priest – all against the mother’s wishes. Every church was the same, running the hospitals for their own desires. “Why was she arrested?”

“Assault. Might be able to throw in a few other charges, just to keep her quiet. She is a mess; a few months in the cells, and she will be dead. She was covered in blood, I guess from assaulting the clergy.”

“Or from giving birth.”

Belasco paused. “I don’t know about all that.”

“Me neither, but it can’t be pretty. I waited at the bar around the corner from my place while Consuela did all that.”

“This woman isn’t as virtuous as Consuela.”

“Just another whore?”

“When we pulled her off the priest, she was raving that she and her husband would have raised the baby, but he died back in the winter. But who knows. Either way, she is a single mother, and they suspected that she wasn’t a staunch Catholic, so they took the baby.”

“Don’t they usually just tell the mother that the baby is dead and show her a closed coffin?”

“They did; she didn’t believe them. Said she wanted to see the body of the girl. But by then, the baby had already been removed to be sold on to another family. A buyer was already lined up, someone more ideologically suitable for parenthood.”

“She probably deserved to have her baby taken.”

“They said she was speaking Valencian in the hospital while giving birth.”

“That’s a crime on its own. The baby is better off with a devoted Catholic family.”

“As they all are.”

José took off his dark tricorne hat and fanned himself with it. “Sometimes you have to wonder where all these babies are going.”

“A lot of cities developed a decent system where foreigners can come in and collect the babies. Those Americans who come in, they pay top dollar. Pity is, the system isn’t working so well here. The priests and the nuns work alone in public or private hospitals, and they are getting a large profit margin, but aren’t attracting many foreigners. Locals can’t afford to pay as much as extranjeros.”

“It sounds like a market to be exploited,” José mused.

“What are you saying?”

“Well, most of the babies are shipped out of here and on to bigger cities. There could to be a sort of go-between business that provides extra babies to the church. The church can sell them, and the baby-supplier gets a slice of the profits. They would get a slice of the foreign dollar. Imagine having a wad of American notes in your hand at the end of your work day.”

“What about our work here?”

“We could do both.”

“But wouldn’t that be stealing from the church? That money is for finding homes for disadvantaged children.”

José scoffed. “Targeting a vulnerable woman and taking her baby, or stealing a twin, is not done to save babies’ immortal souls. It’s for profit. Don’t tell me that it’s done because it’s God’s will.”

“Franco approves of the practice.”

“Franco is fostering a country where we all starve. Babies are stolen from their left-wing families, to create a population where he remains in power, by rearing the rebellion out of them. It’s crazy bullshit.”

“I could arrest you for saying that. Maybe you’re the enemy of the State, not me.”

“I just want to feed my wife and daughter. Plus, even with enough money – just – a man can only take so much paella.”

“Better than starving in Madrid, isn’t it?”

“But I took this job to see action! And where is it? Standing outside a set of cells filled with thieves and whores? They starve in the dark while I stand in the heat.”

“So, what, you want to be in the Brigada Especial in Madrid? The war ended 18 years ago, how many rojos can there be left to chase?”

“They killed my family,” José spat out. “Those Republican bastards shot my father, and my mother was killed in an air raid.”

“The town where I grew up is no longer on the map, thanks to air raids. I was lucky not to get shipped off to Russia to live out my days with the other orphans,” Belasco said. “But it’s old news.”

“I don’t feel like vengeance has been carried out sufficiently yet.”

“Maybe you should have joined the army.”

“The army is weak and pathetic. Anyone could take over España right now. At least the Guardia Civil has undisputed power.”

“Too much ambition, Morales. That’s your problem.”

“Franco rules this country and we help him do that. Why shouldn’t there be some benefits on the side?”

“Ask the boss later on then. He knows a lot of people, and he is getting plenty of benefits.”

“Whores, mostly.”

“Nothing wrong with that. Even respectable women, one angry word from people like us, and they are on their backs in fear.”

“I have no need for that.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t indulge. Consuela doesn’t need to find out. Besides, she still hasn’t given you a son.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

“Hey, you could buy her a son for Christmas if that cock of yours doesn’t fire up often enough. Or practice on other women first. The choice is yours.”

“You’re a prick, you know that?”

“Hey, my prick is happy, when it isn’t itching.”

José swatted a fly from his face and shook his head in disgust as Belasco laughed. There had to be a better way of making a living.




PART 2: Vengeance in the Valencian Water Q+A

To read part one, click here – PART 1: VENGEANCE IN THE VALENCIAN WATER Q+A

Here we go, part two of the Q+A, time for some of the more specific questions –

6 ) Did you base the characters on real-life people, like with Blood in the Valencian Soil? 

Rather than look at the situations of specific individuals and make a fictional tale based on their lives, this book takes a different vein. This book follows real events (like BITVS) but has all fictional characters. This book is a snapshot of Valencia in 1957 and the characters live in what was reality at the time. I spent countless hours studying photographs and recollections of the city and its way of life at the time. I also studied the 1957 flood over the period of about a year, so I knew all the details I needed. I got to point where I knew the water level of individual streets around the city. I also walked those streets in Valencia, to visualise the scenarios for myself. All of the characters are entirely fictional, and would not want to meet these people in person!

As for the 2010 characters, they are all also fictional, but live in Spain as it was that year. One chapter sees Luna caught up in a protests in Madrid, and I made sure there was a protest in Puerta del Sol in that month, and checked what they protested against and what their signs said. The timeline is accurate, but no one is based on a real person.

Graham Hunt was kind enough to capture this, so it had to go in the book

7 ) What did you research for the book? You talk about research a lot of twitter.

Jaja, my twitter rambling coming back to bite me. Following on my from the last question – I researched a lot. For me, when I sit down to write, I need to be able to envisage the whole scene in my mind before a word can be written. When it’s based in Valencia, imagining somewhere is a piece of cake. But still, I need to know the details are in place before I can start. For example, when writing José in 1957, I needed to know what his Guardia Civil uniform looked like, or what the fashion of the time looked like in Valencia. That meant tracking down photographs in 1957. There is one scene were José has to wear what I imagine as the most ugly brown suit ever, but then in another, the smoothest grey suit you can imagine. I know both of these were on sale because I checked. I don’t spend a great deal of time on clothing unless it’s relevant to the scene, so you don’t feel bombarded with inane tidbits. But when they buy 1957 swimsuits, I checked to see what you could get at Malvarrosa at the time. Beach umbrellas are the right colour, restaurant decor is correct, street names are correct, even the flowers bought at the market are the right type. When Franco arrives, his car is the right kind, the positions are correct, the aides are dressed properly. When it comes to bullfighting, the clothes are correct, the details of a fight are correct, the feeling from the crowd is correct ( I know this because I sat there to get it right). Valencia is the perfect place to use as a location because there is just so much to see, and how much the city has changed is incredible. I have studied the detail of the city from the mid-1800’s until now and the changes are amazing, yet the core, the heart of the city remains the same.

Calle Miguelete at Plaza de la Virgen, both Jose’s 1957 and Luna’s 2010 reality 

8) Are there any storyline pieces you are worried about? Does reaction to the book worry you?

Does it worry me? Only all the time. Writing a book is like walking around naked, you are fully exposed to embarrassment and ridicule. I feel like a running joke – an author with an anxiety disorder. I dream about being teased about typos. After writing a  chapter, I put on a cynical hat and question its believability. With the Luna Montgomery series, I want things to be as realistic as possible. Fortunately, by following real-life scenarios, the possibility of the storyline being over-the-top is nigh impossible. With the flood, it’s all real, as is the babies stolen by the church. None of that needed to be made up. The 2010 storyline gave me more worries. The medical details were something I was careful with – there’s nothing worse than reading/watching something and a character is sick and makes an instant miracle recovery. Anyone who suffered or nursed someone with a serious illness or injury will see right through it. I had to check the detail very carefully. I fight constantly with Luna and Cayetano, to make sure they are believable and full of flaws. Perfection doesn’t exist and neither of them can appear to have the upper hand over the other. They both make mistakes, they both say stupid things, like any couple. I worried, about halfway through, that Luna was being too needy, and then wasn’t being strong enough. At the end, I did worry if all the feminists out there will be disappointed with her life choices, but to me, she does all she needs to do for all around her. She doesn’t have the luxury of making decisions to suit herself. I also worry if Cayetano comes off as arrogant or selfish at times, but have tried to suitably redeem him. You aren’t supposed to like every character all the time anyway.

9 )Why give Luna two children? What’s the point?

There is plenty of point. From the very beginning, I imagined Luna with two sons. Luna is the very first character I ever created, back in 2009 when I was still finding my feet. (You can’t accuse me of not taking my time with the characters. I took 18 months off these characters to work on Canna Medici while I got this series together.) Luna meets Cayetano and their lives are a mess. They meet to uncover murdered relatives, so it’s not a love story. From the very beginning, Cayetano always had María, his wife. That in itself is a nightmare, but to have Luna as a single woman would be too easy, and make her too perfect. I made her a parent because it suits her, she’s the type to cope well with sons. I had to also make her a widow, because that was the only way to make her solo mother, no other scenario worked on Luna and Fabrizio as a couple. I’ve been the child of a solo mother, and know just how amazing they are. To have a male and female lead character makes it easy for them to fall into a relationship, or at least an affair, and by making Luna a widowed solo mother, and Cayetano already married, it gave me far more scope to develop the characters and their interactions. They come from totally different perspectives, and not just because their families sit on opposite sides of the political and religious divide. They cannot understand each other’s situations because they are so bogged down in their own realities. Just when the path seems smooth for a quiet life, I have something to throw in the mix. This isn’t a romance novel (but if you like romance, I have one in the pipeline to come out after my next civil war book, so bear with me!)

10 ) Which of the two books (Blood in the Valencian Soil and Vengeance in the Valencian Water) have you enjoyed writing the most….and why?

That is a really hard choice. BITVS was my baby, I nursed her for quite some before I got the book I wanted. It is centred in the civil war, something that gives me enough inspiration to write 100 books. It is set around a murdered grandfather, something very close to home for me. The issue of relative killed in the civil war and hidden away also hits close to home for me. The story of a kiwi nurse in Spain is something I took the time to understand, follow and genuinely care about. It was great to meet the family of Renee Shadbolt, the real Scarlett Montgomery, and how proud they were of her. Real people in real scenarios flourishing and despairing was what I wanted to create. I will always love BITVS.

one place – three periods in the series

VITVW is totally different. Writing one book and making it my baby seems easy compared to following it up with a suitable sequel. I wanted to continue the series, but at the same time, make a story that can stand on its own. It needed to pack all the punch of the first book, without going over old detail. I can’t remember when I decided to write a Valencia flood novel, but I don’t think it’s been done before (feel free to correct me). It would have been easy to have Luna and Cayetano go back through another civil war story and it probably would have worked, too. But going back to the 1950’s instead of the 1930’s gave the series new life. The third book goes to the 1970’s, so the state of Spain under Franco through the years can be seen in long form. From war in the 30’s, to the heavy-handed rule of the 50’s, to the unstable 70’s, the story of the Beltrán and Morales families can tell a huge story. The present day storyline also gives that chance. BITVS is set in 2009, VITVW in 2010 and then Death in the Valencian Dust in 2013, and Spain changes in this tiny time frame, giving me plenty to work with. As long as Rajoy is in power, enough things will be screwed up, providing plenty of ideas.

I would have to say BITVS is my favourite to write because it was the first in this big project, but VITVW gave me huge satisfaction too, as I feel I have done a really good job with it. I wouldn’t change a thing, and feel my writing style is much better now.

Click here to read the Part 1 with the free book offer Q+A. Part 3 will have all remaining questions, Part 4 is Valencia in photos, and Part 5 is the first chapter, available January 24, the same day as the book release.

Thanks to Graham Hunt for the video, and Juan Antonio Soler Aces for the historical Valencia photos