Spain, 80 years ago…and the truth about blogging!

Keep reading to the end. You might see me opening up in this, my dreaded blog date.

spanish_civil_warI’ve been watching the news, specifically the segments about the failed coup attempt in Turkey. Over the space of 48 hours, almost 200 people have been killed and more than 3,000 people arrested. Whilst I watched and listened, it struck me that the uprising’s leaders bore a lot of similarities to the leaders of the Spanish uprising of 1936. In fact, the way the Turkish military began their attempted coup, might have been taken out of the Spanish generals’ playbook. The big difference between the two, however, is that the Spanish coup succeeded and spiralled the country into a horrific civil war.

Spain is a magnificent country with beautiful coastlines, which play host to millions of tourists  every year. It is home to Ex Patriots attracted to the slow, relaxed way of life. Its people are tolerant, secular, and welcoming. It boasts a comprehensive universal healthcare system that could put many other countries to shame, and it has become a fully integrated member of the  European community. Spain has its problems, both economical and political, however the very thought of this modern country spiralling into another civil war is inconceivable.

I’m not going to give a lecture, but for those of you who have been to Spain, enjoyed its food and wine, sun bathed on its beaches, and explored its treasures, imagine yourselves being in that country 80 years ago.

civil-2On the 18th of July, 1936, a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, rose up against the democratically elected leftist government of the Second Spanish Republic, and started a three-year bloody war of hatred and attrition. Today, their actions are still applauded by some, and reviled by others, but the bottom line is that more than 500,000 people died, and 400,000 people were exiled or escaped Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco. Civil war really is a pit of deprivation

Now, for my loyal readers, and to all those who are fed up with blogs, here’s some home truths. I am not a gifted blogger. I am told that it is the “done thing” to have a website and to blog, blog, blog, in order to stay visible and to get people to sign up for mailing lists. Well, that’s all brilliant, and I pray those things happen, but the truth is, I hate blogging. I like reading other people’s offerings, in fact some are brilliant, and I don’t like to miss them, but I dear friends, suck at this, big time. That’s right, I, Jana Petken, am no bloody good at this blogging lark. (It feels great to come out).

You know, while I’m being honest, people often ask me why I write about war. I receive reviews and comments from readers stating that, in their view, it is not necessary to be so graphic when describing war scenes, and that perhaps I should write more about love and romance, instead of conflicts.

I suppose I could write a couple of thousand words in reply to the criticisms I receive for my gritty style of writing, but I never will. Instead, I’ll say here what I always say to myself, in private.

I am a happy, relaxed person who loves science fiction movies, and anything to do with Zombies. I like to sing in public, all the time, and I very often talk to strangers when sitting in cafés. BUT when it comes to my chosen genre of historical fiction, I claim the right to continue to write from the gut and from the heart. There will be no sugar-coating in my storylines or in the subject matter. I will not tame my dark side or be cowed by political correctness. The Spanish Civil War, the American Civil War, and the First World War were horrific, gruesome, and cruel. In fact, much like events that are taking place in our present world – Oh, how I wish we could censure them.

Finally, authors sit for hours, days, weeks, months, writing a story, and hoping that it touches lives or is memorable, in some way, to someone. Yet I’m seeing too many articles recently, which talk about what not to do, say, or write about in a book because certain things can upset sensitive people.

Imagine a world without the great, no, brilliant authors of the past who took risks and were completely honest with every word they wrote. Some of those great human beings, scholars, and authors were killed for their work. In many parts of the world, today, bloggers, authors and film makers are assassinated, hacked to death, or imprisoned. Those authors, from Bangladesh to China inspire me and millions of other authors around the world to stay true to our convictions and our visions and I for one, will not adhere to publishing policies, which abandon an author’s right to stay true to oneself, to their characters, and to the authenticity of their stories.

Indie Authors Rock!

Ps, if you want to subscribe to my mailing list for updates on all my books, competitions and updates, please do. You know you’ll only hear from me when something important happens!

The Guardian of Secrets, A family saga about love, war, and revenge, set during the Spanish Civil War


The Guardian of Secrets, A family saga about love, war, and revenge, set during the Spanish Civil War



5 Comments on “Spain, 80 years ago…and the truth about blogging!

  1. Thanks Jana for your honest writing and for continuing to spotlight a set of enormously important events for which I believe that World War 2 might not have happened if the western world powers had aggressively defended the elected socialist government. Hitler and Mussolini, as you know, witnessed the tepid response of the western democracies to the fascist conspiracy to abort that socialist experiment and rightfully had contempt for the west’s duplicitous policies (why didn’t the ‘democratic’ western governments support the democratically-elected Spanish government of 1936?) Hitler’s and Mussolini’s military support of the Franco coup ensured the victory of the Spanish right and paved the way for both dictators to act with relative impunity at least at the outset of World War 2. Both had guessed correctly that a similar lackluster weak response would come later when they plotted the opening aggression that brought a second calamitous world war within 20 years. The Stalinist response to aggressively support the Spanish socialists in the civil war was not all that helpful either as it was primarily and cynically about spreading international communism and Stalinism to the west. Yet, ultimately, Spain had to bear the most responsibility for what happened in its own country at that time.


    • Hi Gary. Thanks for your comments. My readers will enjoy your input here. I agree with you. It was a difficult war to research. I also think that Britain and France’s Non Intervention pact was a grave error, and a shameful act on the part of the British government, especially. Thanks again Gary x


  2. Jana………you can write a blog and I’ll read it anytime. As an “Indie” Author, I have my writing heroes; indie authors I aspire to be as good as – you are one of those. More power to you. Have an awesome day in sunny, old Spain


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