From Mam to the Masses:
Representing Welsh women to an international audience
When I began writing The Mind’s Eye, I had already invented the tiny Welsh village of Bryn Eira Bach (translated as Little Snow Hill) as the setting in which Kit and Leighton would join the Price family and live out their adventures. It was all too common during the Second World War for British children from big cities like London to be evacuated to largely rural areas where there weren’t many lights on at night, therefore making them invisible to the eyes of the Nazi Luftwaffe circling overhead. At my wonderful little primary school in Cardiff (South Wales) where I was born, we spent countless hours studying the photographs of children with their little paper labels, who piled off the trains at various Welsh stations looking bewildered and excited and terrified all at the same time.
Fortunately for the evacuees in my story, they have come to the heart of what I like to think of as the traditional Welsh spirit, the warm, open-armed, bonecrushingly-fierce affection that one now rarely sees in Welsh women that are below the age of 60. They may be brash and forthright girls, but they are as honest as they are generous; there will always be a place at the table for a wandering stray. They were forged in the fires of this great and terrible War that I write of, proving their strength to keep a whole country running whilst their brave boys took on Jerry overseas. In The Mind’s Eye that spirit is represented by Gladys ‘Mam’ Price, a character whose subtle but constant support provides the gravity that keeps the Cavendish children grounded in their time of need.
When you read The Mind’s Eye I’m sure you will smile the first time you meet Mam. Please don’t think that I don’t want you to; another great joy of representing the spirit of the wartime Welsh is the chance to show the absurd amount of humour and cheer that they delivered alongside their struggles. But amid her comedic ways and almost-pathological focus on creating superb meals from meagre rations, spare a thought for this woman and who she really represents: those countless others out there who had sons and husbands abroad, who bit their nails down to the cuticle every night wondering if they would ever return. Mam may only be a side character in terms of this grand genre that we call fiction, but she is as real as you or I, waiting out there in some snowy Welsh cottage for you to turn up lost so she can offer you a slice of laverbread and a cup of tea.
K.C. Finn is the author of The Synsk Series.
Book One— The Mind’s Eye— is currently FREE on all platforms.
A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.
At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one of the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.
As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time. There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.