War and Inspiration


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Highlighting Historical Romance with Jan Shelbourne on sources of inspiration.

Most authors are asked what inspired them to write their books. It can be a major event, a person, or a tiny incident which sparks our imagination and produces another unique story.

My first attempts at writing were full of enthusiasm and scenes in my head but lacking in that essential substance – inspiration.

It was by chance while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room that I picked up a three month’s old journal and read an article on how a person’s true character emerges when faced with life threatening danger or massive upheaval. For example, the tough guy turns to water and runs, the small insignificant person steps up and takes charge.

An idea was forming in my head and again by chance, I was sorting through old family papers and came across my grandfather’s World War One military record. He served with the Australian Imperial Forces in Belgium and France and was involved in some of the bloodiest battles. He came home but was never the same and it was years before he could talk about the horrors of that war. I decided to research the events leading up to the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914 and what followed was called The Rape of Belgium. I was reading the atrocities my grandfather spoke about.

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There was the inspiration and the setting for my first book Behind the Clouds, which is set in Belgium and France during the early days of World War One.  After eight years of marriage and two children, Adrian and Gabrielle can barely stand the sight of each other – until they travel to Belgium. A terrible betrayal as war is declared forces them to rely on each other to survive.

About the Book

Barely tolerating each other, Adrian and Gabrielle Bryce are trapped in Belgium as the clouds of war loom over Europe. Plunged into a nightmare of lies and betrayal they flee for their lives as the Germans cross the border. Narrowly avoiding capture, witnessing death and atrocities, they reach safety as two different people – only to face charges of treason and a woman who’ll stop at nothing to see Adrian dead.

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Author Bio

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Jan Selbourne grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Her love of literature and history began as soon as she could read and hold a pen. Her career started in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting then a working holiday in the UK brought the history to life. Now retired, Jan can indulge her love of writing and travel. She has two adult children and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.

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