Luck. A lot of luck is timing and that seems to be true with the story behind this novel, Somewhere in France. I haven’t read it, nor had I heard of it, until I found a link on Twitter. Although I’m not a big historical fiction buff, I am fascinated by World War I and may look for this after I finish the five or six books I’m currently reading.
From the interview above, Jennifer Robson mentions she wrote this novel, queried agents, and was told no one was interested in WWI. She apparently stopped trying to find an agent. When Downton Abbey became a hit, a friend suggested she try querying again. This year is also the centenary of the beginning of WWI. I had wondered at the proliferation of movies and books set in that time period but hadn’t made the connection with 1914. (The Well-Digger’s Daughter, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, The Given Day, others. It seems like I’m encountering these works every other day, although maybe it’s just me since the Dennis Lehane book is years old.)
Somewhere in France is definitely a case where the author wrote what she loved, and a good example of how timing played into interest in her book.