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Posts Tagged ‘a soldiers wind’

Michael Bosc Slides in from Spain to Guest with Mike Angley

MA: Michael Bosc is living in Spain on a finca growing olives and almonds. He was born in London during the second world war when V1s and Land Mines were falling on the houses. He served nine years in the RAF and is married with two grown up children.

Learning to sail in his mid forties, he sailed across the channel on many occasions visiting the Normandy coast from Cherbourg to Fecamp where English Kings are buried. Michael has always had an interest in history and found it relaxing writing an adventure story set in the latter stages of the American War of Independence: A Soldiers Wind.

His second book, A Loving Son, echoes back to his earlier life just after the war and the East end criminals, with the gangs growing, the East End criminals were finding their feet, this was Stanley’s training ground…

Interesting life story, Michael, and welcome to my blog. How did you get into the world of writing?

MB: I am retired and had been thinking of writing for some time. However, until I moved to Spain I never had the time, with sailing and other activities. But when my father-in-law died and we went back to England, I picked up the Sunday Telegraph and in there was an article by a lady reviewer. She was saying how all the books she had reviewed although good, did not contain enough sex, it was a bit like waves crashing on the beach. It was not necessary to be explicit but we all like to read about sex, so being a normal health male I thought, why not?

MA: (Chuckling) I understand it was your personal interests that drew you to the specific ideas you had for a novel. Tell us about that.

MB: My interest is in Naval History, British or otherwise, so when I read that I thought, I could write something along those lines, after all I sailed for over 20 years. I mentioned this to my wife who said go for it, and A Soldiers Wind was born.

A year later my mother-in-law was seriously ill and whilst in England (again) I decided to write about Stanley Saunders, an East end boy growing up in London after WW2, whose mother was a prostitute who set up an escort agency. It tells of Stanley’s maturing and how whilst protecting his mother from the villains, he hones his skills as a killer, an assassin; thus A Loving Son was born.

MA: Did your personal life’s story influence your writing – any real-life East enders as characters?

MB: No, apart from the fact of my birth-date 21st October (Trafalgar Day) plus my love of history and reading naval books, no. Not even the gangs of East London were close contacts however at that time in history it was a well documented fact that bodies were dumped in the marshes or were propping up bridges.

MA: Tell us about your novels.

MB: A Loving Son was supposed to be the first novel out, but Authorhouse were reluctant to publish at first as Stanley and Gillian were under 18yrs. Unfortunately, the difference between the USA and England was around 2 years, but after re-writing a few bits Stanley was published. I think I am more in tune with A Loving Son because of its setting in the period of time I grew up in. There was an awful lot of bent police, gang killings, and general dodgy goings on.

For a woman to set up a business in that atmosphere at that time was very bold. If the police were not wanting a cut to turn a blind eye to what was going on then the gangs wanted protection money so she could continue. Diane, although a prostitute, was a loving mother very fond of her only son and very protective towards him. She had her head on right and saved money to buy a house so they had somewhere to live. There is a lot more to her than you first see.

I took the memories of how hard it was in London immediately after the war, with rationing, food shortages etc., and then put Stanley in the role of protector of his mother. Strange as it may seem, once I had done that and given him a name, Stanley appeared and started to tell his story; once begun it just went from logical reactions to logical actions. What I did learn was that to Stanley there was no grey area, only black and white.

MA: Tell us more about Stanley’s character.
MB: He is honest in his way, does not think about when he kills, looks at it as a job pure and simple. But he does care about his mother and the girls. He is fond of them and looks after them like his family. However after a kill he needs sex…

MA: Oh my! Are you planning more stories in the future?

MB: I have the sequels to both books ready to go to print, and I am working on the next ones. Plus I am putting together a wine book with a difference. I write blogs on the local ‘Cellers’ here and the superb wines they produce, but I also add their history to the story. I am not a wine snob, I say what we like and don’t like but then most people can do that. I try to say something about the people, the village or the countryside. There is so much more than opening a bottle, tasting and writing. These blogs can also be found on Southwest Wines site, where they have been kind enough to give me my own page.

MA: Thanks, Michael. I appreciate you stopping by and visiting with me. I know my readers will want to learn more about you, too. Please visit Michael’s blog for more information: https://asoldierswind.wordpress.com/

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The advent of Victorian Britain drove many prostitutes into ghettos. Port towns were always brutal, rough areas, but as cities and towns grew, prostitutes developed their own areas where men went to for sexual gratification.

Industrialization also provided work for women, they now worked in the mills, no longer were they restricted to being a wife or a whore.

This time also saw the arrival of  ‘rent boys.’  The telegraph office was the centre of this trade and many private clubs in London were used for sexual activities which highlighted the hypocrisy of the age.

The invention of the telephone also took some women off the streets, to a slightly healthier life style, although violence was still common.

In A Loving Son, Diana Saunders has brought up her son in difficult circumstances. Living in the shadowy world of crime, trying to stay as legal as society would allow. Setting up an escort agency to cover her prostitution activities and Stanley, her son, killing anyone who interferes.

The telephone is now being usurped by the internet. Prostitution has always been with us and always will be; if the tax man could get hold of some revenue from this industry it would clear the national debt in a couple of years.

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I have been asked why I write about sex in my stories. Why not, all books have some sexual content but most leave the reader with waves crashing on the shore at that time.

I however, believe that a little gentle erotica is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with sex and never really has been. It is when its portrayed as hard and vicious with no feeling that it becomes wrong. Sex should be a careing gentle thing with a feeling of enjoyment by both parties otherwise its just rape.

I try to impart this feeling in my books, whether between a husband his wife or lover there is still that feeling of care. In the late 1700’s early 1800’s it was accepted that women took ‘companions’, this was their way of sexual fulfilment and not having a baby every year as contraception was not exactly a priority.  This left the men able to have a mistress who did not mind having children but who usually knew about preventing babies.

Society in those days accepted the situation especially when in the tropics. Many offspring of famous males sired on their mistresses have either taken over the family title or proved to be famous themselves. Obviously there were ‘rotters’ there always are, but usually these men looked after the mistresses and their children. I have tried to relate these situations in A Soldier’s Wind and hope to have achieved my aim.

In A loving Son, I have taken the attitudes of post war London and entwined the story of Stanley and his mother with the conditions of that day.  East London was not the rosey place depicted in some films, it was hard, and for those who had no husabnds or means of supporting themselves it was even harder.  Women did take to prostitution to provide a home and food for themselves and children, there was no social then, no child benefits or tax credits like there is today and the NHS was only just starting up.

What there was were criminal gangs, robberies, sex clubs (for the rich), bent coppers, mayhem and murder. So Stanley became a skilled killer, honing his skills whilst protecting his mother, an assissin in the making, A Loving Son indeed .

 

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When I started writing A Soldier’s Wind I included two prostitutes who were ‘upper class’.  These ladies were not at all unusual, it is recorded somewhere that two sisters actually married into nobility.  Prostitution in the 17th and 18th centuries was mixed, both in the chances of catching disease and the type of woman involved.  At the top end were classic beauties who charged vast amounts of money, were extremely wealthy and meticulously clean, and accepted in the highest levels of society some even marrying into it.   Next came what might be termed ‘The Casual Professional’. A woman selling her body to put a loaf of bread on the table, or a roof over her head; perhaps an officers widow who took a position in a ‘gentleman’s establishment’.  Then there were the street walkers, in every doorway in London a woman was available with the chances of diseases almost 100%. Boswell, Johnson’s biographer, was constantly with prostitutes. London bridge was one of his favourite haunts, with him having to be treated for the pox on many occasions.

In  A Soldier’s Wind Jason and his Uncle enjoy being in the company of upper class prostitutes, money being no object. Sheathes were available for purchase usually made from animal intestines which were stored in a saline solution. Sexual equipment could also be purchased, dildos, douche’s etc., it was also possible for women to have an operation to restore their hymen, the first night of marriage was important to prove their virtue, blood had to be seen on the sheets.

Sheath’s were used purely to prevent infection not as a means of stopping pregnancy, most innovations came from Italian immigrants who opened shops in London.

One of the main reasons for disease was a lack of hygiene, bathing and regular washing was something of a rarity.

There is nothing new in sex!!!

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I have always been interested in sailing and Naval History, and knowing this my sister gave me books on the subject for birthday and christmas presents – for which I am grateful having enjoyed them very much.  However, I felt there was a gap in that area and began toying with the idea of writing myself having had ideas going round in my head for some time.

The turning point came from an article I had read in a newspaper, a literary critic was complaining that although the books she had read contained romance they were `sedate´. Yes there were hints of sex but no actual sex, that is when I decided to start writing and put some sex alongside action, blood and guts; with sailors who had the money, setting up mistresses. All this existed and is well documented in history even to the point of women being on board the sailing ships with a small number impersonating crewmen fighting and dying along side them. There were also births on board all of whom were recorded and  added to the ships muster, such was the way in the  Royal Navy during the 17th, 18th and early 19th century.  So I started to write and Jason, the times and people in his life  were born, I hope you enjoy it.

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