Gail M Shell


Gail M Shell was born in Melbourne, Victoria, before moving to Geelong where she married. She and her husband have three sons. Over ten years ago at the request of her family, she wrote and account of her father's experiences as an Australian soldier during WW11 and of his ordeals as a prisoner of war. She assembled many original documents and letters in her possession and in the course of her writing, her father's story expanded. The letters from her father to her mother, diary entries and photos took on a life of their own. Consequently, she also documented her mother's story - her parallel journey back home as Australia underwent revolutionary cultural and economic changes. Their story emerged as a full length novel. Gail was awarded a monetary grant from a fund raising group of the MS Society to help her realise her dreams. This grant enabled her to complete a rewrite of the manuscript under the guidance of a professional assessor, mentor and editor.

Smashwords Interview

I was surprised Whose War? was fiction
In the course of researching facts and personal experiences, apart from turning to many books and newspapers of the time, I interviewed a number of exPOWs, and often their wives, as well as relatives and friends who lived through the trauma of WW11. I was privileged to accumulate a wonderful plethora of stories and anecdotes. At that time, many years ago, I was not familiar with Creative Non-fiction as a genre. Hence I wrote in the genre of Fiction which enabled me to incorporate much of the relevant information that I had gathered. But, I do insist that if I am unable to substantiate any fact, I will not use it.
Are the characters in your story faithfully portrayed?
My main protagonists are, such as Tom and Annie, but because of early criticism that my characters were too similar, I made changes to some other characters. Under the ploy of writing fiction it is exciting to manipulate and create characters to suit their place in the overall story. In real life, Tom's mother, was nothing like the feisty and colorful woman, and nor was Bess like she was presented. Tom and his brother Fred have been portrayed reasonably faithfully, although Fred was not so much the rough-and-ready younger brother with a rattletrap for a bike. For my readers I add, Fred, in fact did suffer the horrific amputation, as did Tom, the torture.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Gail M Shell online


Whose War?
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,620. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Australia & New Zealand
A story of love and war written through the tapestry of history when WW11 reaches Australia.

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