It's 1939 and John and Annie Williams from Lancashire are preparing for war once again. Their three sons and their daughter respond to the call to arms by joining the military forces. Herbert trains with the RAF while his brother James joins the navy. Harold plans to fight for his country by signing up with the army and Emma becomes involved in the covert world of espionage and secrecy with the Intelligence Service. In Germany, Dr Lehmann and his wife Martina are reluctantly coming to terms with the possible devastation of war. Their Son Peter Lehmann enlists in the army to work as a Medical Officer. In Belgium, Madame De Vos and her family are bracing themselves for possible invasion and occupation. Her son, Hugo De Vos decides to fight his war in the only way that he can, by working with the Belgium resistance. The three families face an uncertain future and prepare themselves for the very real possibility of pain and loss. In my first book, Two Sons, I tell the story of the Williams family from Britain, who while on a visit to Belgium in 1932 meet a German family, Eric and Martina Lehmann and their son Peter. Both families are in Belgium to pay their respects to their two dead sons who had been killed at Paaschendaele in 1917 and buried in Flanders. While staying at a Madame De Vos's hotel in Poperinge, both families eventually realise that they have more in common than they first thought. In July of 1932, Hitler and the Nazi Party were threatening to take control of Germany and there was a growing fear in Belgium and France of the possibility of ather war. Having lost their sons in one conflict, both families feared that they may have to make further sacrifices. White Sand takes the story of the families on from the outbreak of the Second World War to the next decade. As we travel along the journey of our lives we will experience joy, pride, despair, love, grief and the fear of loss. White Sand, continues with the theme and like 'Two Sons it is about the emotions, the passion and the feelings that many us share, regardless of nationality, class, faith and status.
Born in Blackburn, Stewart grew up in Lancashire. After art school, his career was in design and advertising, and as a lecturer in further and higher education. He now lives in Somerset with his wife Jessie. Their two daughters often visit, bringing the five grandsons with them. Stewart is a keen historian. It's the most immediate and 'living' history that has inspired Two Sons, which was his first book and now White Sand. Many of us still have links with the two world wars. Stewart lost an uncle in Flanders and one of his ancestors was the poet Wilfred Owen. Many of his father's generation fought in the second world war. Something that happened so long ago is in many ways still with us.