Soraya M. Lane - The Female Perspective of War
Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller. Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons, and a collection of four-legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading. As our Author of the Day, Lane tells us all about her book, The Girls of Pearl Harbor.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Girls of Pearl Harbor is about.
The Girls of Pearl Harbor is about four women who are all nurses stationed in Pearl Harbor. They are having the most wonderful time there, feeling like they’re on vacation, until the fateful day of the Japanese invasion. Their lives change forever on that day, and nothing is ever the same again.
What inspired you to write about nurses in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor?
As with all my historical women’s fiction novels, I’m interested in the female perspective of war. Many of us know what the soldiers went through at Pearl Harbour, but how many of us truly knew how many women were stationed there, and what they experienced? I am very passionate about exploring the experiences of women during WWII, and weaving a fictional story around fact.
Tell us more about Grace, April and Poppy. What makes them so special?
Oh, I just love those characters, they were so real to me when I was writing about them. I tried to create very different women, so I could make the most of their friendship and explore their different experiences. I love all of them, but I was particularly drawn to Grace.
The girls were enjoying parties the one moment and thrust into a war the next. Do you think it was like that for a lot of people during that time?
Yes, absolutely. These women stationed at Pearl Harbor felt like they were on vacation, and the most they were doing was patching up some injuries from soldiers playing football. Then suddenly they were thrust headfirst into war, and their experiences were shocking.
How much research did this book require from you, and what was the most interesting aspect of this research?
I always do a significant amount of research for my historical women’s fiction novels, and to be honest everything about this period fascinated me. I loved learning more about Pearl Harbor pre-invasion, and then the actual accounts of the day were fascinating to read. Heartbreaking but fascinating. The most interesting account was how many nurses said the Japanese pilots were flying so low, they actually waved to the women as the flew over, and the women waved back, not realizing what was happening.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
No secret skills here!
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I suppose my underlying message is always that women are amazing, and I really try to show incredible things that women have done in history, that many people are unaware of. I feel it’s sort of becoming my role to showcase what women did during a time period where they were expected to do little more than to keep their house and look after children!
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
My greatest challenge is the emotion of writing - I mean, I have tears in my eyes during the writing of all my historical books. Sometimes the scenes I force myself to write are heartbreaking, but I need to write them to truly show my characters’ experiences during wartime.
You write for two very different genres. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I write historical women’s fiction and contemporary romance, and the short answer is that I started my career writing romance, and I’ve never truly stopped. But when I went back to university to do my MFA in Creative Writing, I wanted to challenge myself to write the kind of historical saga that I loved as a reader. I wrote my first historical novel, Voyage of the Heart, over 2 years, and I’ve never looked back. I fell in love with the genre, and historical women’s fiction is my priority now.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I am a very disciplined writer, except during self-isolation and lockdown with my family at home! I have two young boys (9 & 6 years) so it’s a very busy household. Usually, when they’re at school, I write 9.30-2.30pm every single day, although I try not to work weekends now. I also work nights whenever I need to when I’m on deadline, and I aim for a minimum of 2,000 words per day when I’m writing my first draft. I was a freelance journalist before becoming an author (I did both simultaneously for a few years) so I was already very disciplined as a writer.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m on the final page proofs for my upcoming historical women’s fiction novel, The Last Correspondent, which is out November 1st worldwide in kindle, paperback, and audio formats. I’m so excited about it - it’s about female war correspondents during WWII, and I just love the book. I’m also in the early stages of researching my next novel, a WWII story set in Dunkirk.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find more about me at my website www.sorayalane.com and I interact regularly with readers on Facebook - www.facebook.com/SorayaLaneAuthor