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  • The Colour of Tears

    Merril Haeusler’s debut novel, The Colour of Tears, was published last month and is available on Amazon.

    Merril’s Story Behind the Story

    A small town on the Ligurian coast in Italy was the inspiration for my novel, The Colour of Tears. A popular holiday destination for Italians and European visitors, Zoagli is also my favourite place to visit in summer. Wandering through the cemetery on my first visit, I noticed a number of graves of people killed during a bombing raid by the RAF in 1943. The raid destroyed the viaduct which spanned the beach on the edge of the town square. Photographs of those buried are portrayed on the headstones and amongst them is a young woman, one of many, whose life was lost that day. There was something about the way she smiled out from the grave that moved me and made me want to find out more about the bombing of such a beautiful, peaceful place.

    The research led me to read further into the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943 and the progress of the Italian campaign, made more complex when Italy surrendered to the Allies and then declared war on Germany. I was particularly interested in the role of the partisans, especially the women who fought alongside the men, to not only drive out the Germans but to bring about the downfall of Mussolini’s fascism. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) as well as the American Special Forces, OSS, played an important part in supporting the partisans behind the German lines. Following the invasion of the mainland by the Americans and British, the plan was to take Rome in a matter of weeks but Churchill’s soft underbelly, as he referred to Italy, was to prove tougher than he thought and the campaign proved a long and bloody struggle. The terrible loss at Monte Casino and the disaster of Anzio are but two aspects of the campaign that are well documented in history.

    The story is a simple one really–lives torn apart by conflict; the courage and determination of ordinary people fighting for freedom; the tragedy of a country ravaged by the horror of war. In the hills above the small hamlets that line the coast are many tributes to the partisan fighters, and to the civilians who lost their lives in the struggle. It is a story I loved writing—and one I hope you will enjoy reading.

    Merril is a member of Hatchery Writers. To find out more about her book, go to her wordpress website:



    ALL UPCOMING HATCHERY WRITERS EVENTS SUSPENDED until further notice. This should come as no surprise after we cancelled last Saturday’s seminar because of coronavirus risks. We will keep you updated on any developments and reschedule as soon as feasible. Meanwhile, stay healthy and keep writing!

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