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All About Patricia Cooper
Born in Worcestershire, England, Patricia Cooper was five when World War II broke out. One year later, just after her sixth birthday, she was shipped off to a Preparatory Boarding School, where she remained until VE day – 1945. She is currently writing another book in a totally different genre.
Her memoir, “Dear Cedric…” is based on those five years as a child evacuee.
Graduating from College in 1953, Patricia couldn’t wait to shake off the restrictions of Academe and explore the world she had only read and dreamed about. In the 50s, when aeroplanes still had propellers, the fashionable way to travel was by ocean liner. It didn’t take her long to join the Merchant Navy and revel in long sea voyages, whilst earning her keep in the Purser’s office.
In 1968, Patricia, her husband and their children emigrated to Ontario, Canada where she worked as a business writer and editor–and where she still lives. She continues to travel as much as possible and enjoys writing historical/time travel romances.
Patricia’s School Visits
Patricia is available for full or half day visits, which comprise of a presentation to whole or part school and writing workshops with Q&A session and book signing.
Patricia will be good for anyone or school looking at things that happened at the time of WW2, also anyone in the Worcester area, Bridgnorth and Bromsgrove.
My first idea came from a six-year-old during a family Christmas party:
“Grandma. What presents did you get for Christmas when you were six?”
The word it invoked was ‘memory’. What evolved from that incident turned into a 100,000 word memoir of my childhood–turned upside down during the Second World War.
In 1940, when Winston Churchill warned Britain that the threat of a German invasion could not be ignored, a massive evacuation plan sprang into action. The nation’s children were to be sent to any safe corner that could be found, either at home or abroad. Within weeks, tens of thousands of children ranging in age from three to teens, were shipped abroad to Canada, Australia, America, South Africa. Likewise, tens of thousands were squirrelled away to what were considered “safe” havens within the United Kingdom. This exodus was not limited to individual kiddies and their siblings, but included those bastions of learning, public schools, which were uprooted and shifted lock, stock and text book to country mansions, hotels and the like, buried deep in the countryside. Smaller, preparatory schools also packed up their Beacon Readers and scurried away to find country estates large enough to accommodate their needs. For those parents who could afford it, a hundred guineas or so would buy a year of safety for their offspring, and peace of mind whilst they went off to defend their country.
I was one of those fortunate children, although I would question the word ‘fortunate’. With a trunk-load of clothes and the required bedding, I was (for the want of a better word) dumped into the capable hands of Miss Audrey Joan Baker, principal of “Normanhurst”, her private preparatory school, which she had relocated to a manor house in Shropshire, close to the Welsh border and where the war seemed a million miles away.
I was six years old and, despite the promise that “the war would be over very soon”, wasn’t reunited with my parents until I was eleven. There were occasional visits from my mother; summoned when I either ran away, or was seriously ill. Memories of those years, although fractured chronologically, remain vivid in my mind to this day. As I wrote them down, other memories surfaced and were reinforced when I revisited ‘Normanhurst’ fifty years later and discovered that time had not distorted, nor falsified the experiences of those five years– borne out when I accurately identified a squeaky floor board, and a fish-shaped gouge in the wainscotting. My memories also focus on the woman who shaped those childhood years, and to whom–in retrospect–I owe far more than I ever could have envisaged at the time.
An excerpt from “Dear Cedric….”
Snuggled in Mummy’s lap, I feel warm and safe. She is reading my favourite Rupert Bear story.
A loud clanging broke my perfect dream. Someone was poking me, pulling at the eiderdown, disturbing my nest of cosiness.
“Wake up! That’s the getting-up bell.”
Ann-the-Bank pulled at the covers around my face. I peeked out. All I could see in the still-dark room was the outline of a large lady framed in a pale patch of doorway.
Now the bell was clanging inside the dormitory.
“Come along, all you lazy bones! Up you get, and that means all of you. Including the new person.”
The bell landed on the end of my bed, just missing my toes. The large lady unlocked the blackout shutters and swung them back. Early morning sunshine flooded the room. Satisfied everyone was awake, she marched out still clanging her bell.
“Who was that?” I asked.
Ann-the-Bank’s pink flannelette nightgown lay in a rumpled heap on the floor. She was already half-way wriggled into her Liberty bodice and knickers.
“That’s Mrs B, Miss Audrey-Joan’s mother. She sees to our welfare. C’mon. Get up. We can’t be late for breakfast.”
“That’s what we call Miss Baker, silly. Now GET UP!”
Scrambling out of bed I pulled on the clothes I’d hung through the foot rail of the iron bedstead the night before. Then I dived under the bed, my knees bouncing on the wooden floor as I groped for my shoes and socks.
Ann helped me with the buttons at the back of my green and white check overall.
“Do you know how to tie your tie?”
I slipped the preformed tie over my head and pulled it into place. Ann had turned away and missed the little trick Dilly had shown me.
“Of course I can. But I can’t do my hair. Dilly always ties my hair ribbon.”
“Can’t you brush it yourself?” Ann-the-Bank was getting cross and impatient. “We have to get down to breakfast.”
“Then brush it and use a Kirby Grip. You do have Kirby Grips, I suppose?”
Last night I’d jammed all my things into the chest which Ann and I had to share. I opened the top drawer, grabbed a card of Kirby Grips, pulled one off and shoved it in my hair.
“That’ll do. Now, COME ON. And don’t forget your gas mask.”
Grabbing my hand Ann dragged me out of our attic dormitory to race along the corridor –our progress abruptly blocked by a mountain in a flowered pinafore and Plimsolls. Mrs B.
“And might I inquire whether our faces and hands have experienced soap and water this morning?”
Before I could open my mouth, Ann-the-Bank answered in a flash.
Yes, Mrs Baker.”
She lied. Ann-the-Bank actually lied.
“And our new person? Patricia?”
Ann’s fingernails dug deep into my palm. I nodded and looked down at my shoes.
“Hmph. Let me see.” Mrs Baker’s finger lifted my chin. A pair of terrifying dark grey eyes examined my face.
“Hmph. Very well, off you go.”
We did. Speeding down the two flights of back stairs, our feet clattering on the bare, grey painted wood, gas mask boxes bouncing on our backs, we skidded to a stop in the passage outside the kitchen door. Ann pulled me in behind the last child waiting in a line against the wall.
“The queue for breakfast. Follow me and do what I do.”
First we took a thick white china bowl from a pile that looked as though it would topple over, then stepping up to the huge Aga stove, another strange lady plonked a ladle-full of stiff and steaming porridge into our bowls. Next, a table where Miss Baker smiled at me as she poured a moat of milk around the hill of porridge.
“Good morning, Patricia. I hope you slept well. Just follow Ann. She’ll show you where to go.”
“Yes, Miss Baker. Thank you, Miss Baker.”
Having exhausted her [publishable] memories – Patrica switched to writing in other genres. “Tangled Destiny” is the first book in a trilogy. No, they are not sequential, but all feature one of my secondary characters, Linnet. The daughter of Merlin, Linnet is an immortal and a time travel guide. We first meet her in “Tangled Destiny” where she is involved in restoring a runaway bride to her desperate fiancé in order to fulfil a marriage contract.
In the second book, “Destiny Waits” Linnet has her work cut out when a ghost who has been waiting for 200 years to find his lost love, asks for her help.
The third book, “The Winds of Destiny–Linnet’s Story” –chronicles how a thousand or more years ago, Merlin made a bargain with her mother. The story, however, begins long before that when her grandmother escapes the cataclysmic demise of the Island of Theros.
About “Tangled Destiny”
Set in 18th century Charleston, South Carolina, “Tangled Destiny” is an historical romance, generously seasoned with time travel and a touch of magic.
Briefly: The contractual marriage between Christian St. Clair and Catherine Trevane will unite two of the most powerful families in South Carolina. But in 1778, just weeks before the wedding, Catherine disappears without a trace.
Concerned as to Catherine’s whereabouts and urged on by his father’s insistence that the contract has to be fulfilled, Christian seeks the help of a local healer, and wise woman, Linnet, who, rumour has it, can find the lost. Linnet’s secret is that she is not only Merlin’s daughter, but she is an immortal and a time travel guide. She agrees to help Christian. However, when she discovers that his bride has taken refuge in the 20th century, she knows she cannot fulfill her mission without resorting to subterfuge Her quest is further compromised when she discovers Catherine had miscalculated the year of her arrival and is now an elderly widow, living with her career oriented granddaughter, Sarah. Linnet knows she cannot change history by bringing Catherine back to her own time, so she does the next best thing and brings Sarah, who is the spitting image of her grandmother when young.
Murder and mayhem follow before the truth comes out and destiny is fulfilled.
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Patricia Cooper, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org