top of page

Book Release and Author Interview for "The Watchmaker's Daughter" by Dianne Haley

Author Bio:

Originally from the north of Scotland, Dianne now lives with her husband in Edinburgh and has two grown-up children. After a thirty-year business career in London and Edinburgh when Dianne wrote between projects, she is now writing full-time.

Dianne and her family have been visiting the area round Lake Geneva since 1992 and love the Alps in all seasons. The inspiration for her series set in WW2 Switzerland came from a drive through Geneva’s old town on a rainy October evening, the cobbled lanes a perfect setting for secrets and hiding places.

Book Blurb:

Hiding the worn piece of paper among her father’s watch deliveries, her eyes fill with tears at the memory of her brave friend walking towards the Nazi soldiers, and the sharp sound of gun fire. Her friend sacrificed herself so that she could deliver this message. But if she hands it over, the love of her life will die…

1942, Geneva: As her radio crackles with heart-breaking news from occupied France, Valérie Hallez gazes towards the snow-covered Alps after a long day helping her father, a local watchmaker. With a Nazi invasion looming, she is sick with worry for the future of her country, and for Philippe, her childhood sweetheart with soft brown eyes. Valérie might not be able to join the army like him, but she is determined to play her part in the fight against evil…

In defiance of her father, Valérie helps the French Resistance by smuggling messages among her father’s watch deliveries. And when darkness falls, she risks everything to hide Jewish refugee children in his old workshop. Philippe fears for her safety, as her work for the Resistance could come with a heavy price. But nothing will stop her delivering vital information and getting terrified children to safety before they are sent back to the Nazis.

But when Valérie is entrusted with an urgent letter for the Allies, she finds herself in an impossible position. The information it contains could alter the course of the war. But if she hands over the message now, it will cost Philippe his life. With Nazi spies closing in on her, Valérie must act now… But can she really trust the man she loves, and will she find a way to save both him and her country before it’s too late?

An utterly gripping and heart-breaking novel about love and bravery in a time of terrible danger. Fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and We Were the Lucky Ones will be swept away by The Watchmaker’s Daughter.

Book Buy Link:

Author Interview:

Q1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

A1. I have always been inspired to write by a strong sense of place. The inspiration for my World War II series came from a drive through Geneva on a rainy October evening, the cobbled streets a perfect setting for secrets and hiding places. I was transported back to the 1940s.

Q2 Tell us the best writing tip you can think of, something that helps you.

A2. It's important to finish a book. With a finished book you have something to work with. You often learn more about the characters as you write the first draft so the second and third drafts are much more rounded.

Q3. What are common traps for aspiring writers? Advice for young writers starting out.

A3. Writers often become discouraged partway through a manuscript and give it up. it's often important to write through a difficult patch because there's often good writing that can still be used. The other good piece of advice is not to throw anything away. What doesn't work in one book might fit better in another.

Q4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

A4. I would tell myself not to be impatient. It takes a long time to become a better writer. And it's a combination of writing what you want to write and finding a market that gives you the best chance of success.

Q5. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

A5. I'm friends with three authors and we formed a writing group together. They are Jenny Harper, Jennifer Young and Lorna Fraser. They tell me things they like and don't like about my writing, things that don't quite work and sections I need to change. We know one another's writing well so they see what I'm trying to achieve.

Q6. Can you give us a quick review of a favourite book by one of your author friends?

A6. A story of love, rivalry and gender bias in late 18th-century Edinburgh The Prize centres on the artist Henry Raeburn and his world-famous painting ’The Skating Minister’ and the efforts of his fictional rival, Miss Euphemia Elphinstone (Phemie), to achieve recognition for her talents. The story is told from two points of view, Phemie’s and Henry’s, and interweaves fact and fiction.

Q7. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

A7. It made me much more aware of the different types of editing from structural editing to line and copy editing to proofreading. I could see the different changes targeted by the various types of editing and I know now what to expect from each stage of editing.

Q8 What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

A8. I paid a professional editor to critique my first book. I'm convinced it made the book more marketable and led to my first publishing deal.

Q9. What was an early experience where you learnt that language had power?

A9. I used to write stories and poems when I was at school and the best were published in the school magazine. It was my first experience of seeing my words in print and I could see the power of language.

Q10. What's the best way to market your books?

A10. Though I'm still learning, I can see that social media has a much wider access to readers so using this effectively can reach many more people then through more traditional channels. It also helps you to engage with readers, get their views directly and improve your writing as a result.

Q11. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

A11. My series features the same area of Switzerland and main characters so I spent several years before starting the books researching the places and the period of history I was writing about. We've visited the same area round Geneva for many years so I know the area well. As I'm writing each book, I will research additional locations and historical facts I need for that book and it will take me several months to do this.

Q12. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

A12. On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King included some brilliant quotations on writing, as well as impressing on me the importance of reading widely for any writer.

Q13 What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

A13. It's very important to have authentic characters and keep them true to the historical factual information available. The fiction can start where the historical records leave gaps that you can fill with your imagination.

Q14. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

A14. I do read my book reviews because it's important to understand what my readers think of my books. However, not everyone will like them so you need to accept both good and bad ones. If there's something in a bad book review that I recognise then I will seek to address it in future books.

Q15. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

A15. I find the later part of the writing process most difficult. it's very important to get the details right in historical fiction but I do not enjoy proofreading as much as the creative process of writing the books in the first place

Q16. Tell us about your novel/novels/series and why you wrote about this topic?

A16. My series is set in 1940s Switzerland across the border from occupied France. While Switzerland was a neutral country throughout the war, many Swiss citizens helped French refugees escape from France, risking wrath from the Swiss authorities who were afraid of a German invasion. Saint-Maurice, to the east of Geneva, was a key location for the defence of the Alps. Taking these things together I could see a story that was different from other books but had the same themes of traditional World War 2 historical fiction. I also wanted to have a female young protagonist so Valérie Hallez was born.

Q17. What is your favourite line or passage from your own book?

A17. The shouts were much closer now. Valérie whipped her head round, expecting to see masked faces appear through the trees. She could hardly breathe, fear dulling her reactions. Images flashed through her mind, her father at his workbench smiling up at her, Philippe's warm gaze and the feel of his arms around her. She turned her face towards the men clambering through the trees. It was over.

Q18. What was your hardest scene to write?

A18. I didn’t find any scenes hard to write. Amending scenes was more difficult, digging deeper to improve my writing.

Q19. Tell us your favourite quote and how the quote tell her something about you

A19. 'I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have.' The original quote is credited to Thomas Jefferson. Writing is all about putting in the hours. Only then can you get lucky.


Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page