The Long Shadow
A new, revised print edition of The Long Shadow will soon be available for those who
are not e-readers! The original book published in 2005 is now out of print and only a
very few copies are left. (If anyone wants a signed first edition contact me at email@example.com)
The story mainly takes place in Thessaloniki, Greece during WW1. I have been asked
to give a talk on this book on 22nd May at the American College in Thessaloniki and
I'm looking forward to returning to a much loved city and meeting students interested
in this period of WW1 history. May is a glorious time to be in Greece!
A Trip to Athens and Thessaloniki
In October I took a plane to Athens, Greece, where I was to stay for five days. I then intended to take the train to Thessaloniki, a journey right up to the North of Greece, and stay another five days there before flying back home. The purpose of the trip was to research the background for my sequel to The Long Shadow. The new novel is to be called Dying Phoenix and is set in the late 1960's when a military junta took over the country and imposed martial law, ousting the young King Constantine from the throne. They took the image of the Phoenix as a symbol of a resurgent Greece. To many it was just that, law and order restored as it seems. But to those who dissented, it was a time of imprisonment, torture of a barbaric kind, while many liberties ended and impositions of various kinds put on the populace.
My aim was to speak to people who recalled the times and hear their stories and it was most interesting to listen to so many different viewpoints from Right, Left and Centre political stances! It was a wonderful adventure and I did indeed garner a great deal of fascinating information and atmosphere for the book with the help of many wonderful people who will duly be acknowledged.
There was some concern that a strike would affect the train journey north but with the help of lovely Tonia Andrioti in the Plaka Hotel, I was able to sort it all out and make the journey safely and happily. I passed some beautiful scenery en route, gorges, ravines and then plains of cotton and other produce as well as many untouched little town and villages. Athens and Thessa;loniki are however grown and altered out of recognition since my first visits in the 1960's...now there are few of the little white stone houses, they have nearly all been replaced by high rises. There are too many cars and horrendous graffitti everywhere. As soon as it is painted over, another lot goes up as the angry young and dispossessed vent their feelings in sometimes, astonishing displays of street art. Much like many urban scenes, in Europe, sadly. But the cities still have charm, sunshine and in Thessaloniki, the beautiful promenade by the sea where one can watch the sun setting slowly over the darkening waves.
As far as the present crisis goes, people keep cheerful, still enjoy a drink and a meze in a bar by the sea, sing and play music in the squares of Plaka, and go about their lives as best they can. There are awful problems but the Greeks have known far worse. You have only to read The Long Shadow to see how the country suffered in both the wars and in the aftermath as well. They will win through as they always do.
Lighthouses provide the inspiration for Loretta's latest novel
A MALVERN author explores her fascination with lighthouses and the British coastline in her third novel. Based on a true story, Loretta Proctor’s Middle Watch traces the journey of a young girl who was orphaned at birth and adopted by a kind-hearted naval officer. Seeking sanctuary from his jealous wife and sons, she follows her stepfather when he embarks on a life away from his family as a lighthouse keeper in Yorkshire. From this develops a compelling love story, when she meets the silent and enigmatic son of a lighthouse keeper only for their romance to be cut short by his military service. Alone on the coast, her step-brother lures her to sample the delights of London before abandoning her in poverty and violence of the city’s back streets, causing her to flee back to the coast in search of her soulmate.
She said: “The story was inspired by a chance conversation over coffee with an orphaned friend whose foster father became a lighthouse keeper. “The character of the heroine, Bridie, isn’t like her naturally, nor is the subsequent story but it is such chance moments that inspire us authors.”
The cover of Middle Watch is Flamborough Light in north Yorkshire. Her latest work follows on from The Long Shadow and The Crimson Red, which were published seven and two years ago respectively.
Loretta signs books at new Malvern Bookshop
Our old Malvern bookshop, Beacon Books, have now shut after many years due to the retirement of the owners. Malvern book lovers were dismayed by this as we only have
the limited stock of WH Smith and a wonderful and extensive bookshop that sells second
hand books. So some intrepid people got together and formed a co-operative, inviting others to join and then formed a new bookshop on this basis. It looks wonderfully bright and airy and is run by cheerful and pleasant ladies who are enjoying learning about the book trade. There is also a place for coffees and home made cakes and the whole atmosphere is welcoming and delightful. What a wonderful idea.
I was happy to do a book signing here on May 12th and enjoyed the morning, well catered for with lots of cups of coffee from Helen and Susan who were in charge that morning. Many thanks to dear Rachelle who bought books and brought me some beautiful flowers.
Female First Magazine Interview
Loretta Proctor talks to Lucy Walton about her third novel Middle Watch.
‘My new novel tells the story of Bride O’Neill; a young girl adopted as a baby after her parents tragic deaths. She has an unhappy time at home until her beloved foster father, Joe, takes her away with him when he becomes a lighthouse keeper...'
'Haitch' or 'aitch' : All about pronunciation.
My 'five minutes of fame' actually spanned the day when David Sillito of the
BBC caught me coming out of the British Library a few weeks ago and got me
pronouncing a variety of words in my own inimicable fashion. I was relieved
to learn that others also used my versions of the language.
This amusing clip sponsored by The British Library appeared on Breaksfast
Special, Seven o'clock News and even World News. Wow. How about that for
a TV appearance lasting a few seconds?
Malvern author Loretta Proctor held a booksigning event in her home town of
Great Malvern, Worcestershire on Saturday 10th April. It was held in the
Malvern Hills Art and Craft Gallery, a charming venue, with the beautiful
backdrop of the Malvern Hills. It was a sunny day, perfect for gardeners and
the Grand National was kicking off that afternoon but despite these possible
setbacks, Loretta was well supported and sold several copies of her new novel
The Crimson Bed and a few of her first novel The Long Shadow.
She has already had a London launch at Goldsboro Books, in London's historic Cecil Court. She said, 'That was a wonderful event but I wanted to have a launch in my home town of Malvern as well as many people said they would like to attend.
"Author Loretta Proctor on the genesis of The Long Shadow.
In the foreword to my book The Long Shadow I explain how the idea of writing this book began to take shape in my mind as far back as 1973.
I was always interested in history and in particular the period of the First World War..."
Read more at
The Podcast for The Crimson Bed is now ready and up and can be heard on
Excerpts are being read by a young and upcoming actress called Tessa Nicholson. Tessa recently played the part of Elizabeth Jarvis accused of killing her baby in the new BBC1 TV drama, Garrow's Law.
March 12th 2010
From the Matador website news.
Loretta Proctor has enjoyed a successful launch for her book The Crimson Bed. About 40 people attended the event at Goldsboro Books, in Cecil Court, London on March 12th.
Loretta said: “It was a real thrill to see the window with rows of my book in it, and I sold a good 30. The wine flowed, conversation hummed and it was a most enjoyable evening.”
Amongst the many guests was actress Tessa Nicholson, who read extracts from the book for Loretta’s podcast. Loretta said: “She kindly agreed to drop in and read a portion of Chapter One, leaving off just as my hero unbuttons his trousers ...! That got the audience!
“It was all great fun. I'm shattered now but it was worth it.”
Malvern Book Signing event.
Featured Article On The Long Shadow
The Crimson Bed Podcast
Successful launch for The Crimson Bed