Read about Natalie Dye and her new novel on the Arandora Star, based on her family history: Natalie Dye has worked as a journalist for more than 28 years, writing for national newspapers and major TV and women’s magazines in the UK, Dubai and Australia. Her work has been syndicated worldwide, and she spent seven years as a Contributing Editor for Cosmopolitan magazine in London. She is currently a staff features writer on TV Choice, Britain’s top-selling magazine, and its sister publication Total TV Guide, and a media consultant at Kingston University.
Natalie lives in Surrey with her husband Gino, an art director; their two sons Jasper, 20 and Justin, 17; and two adorable cats. It was through Gino that she first heard about the tragedy of the Arandora Star. His Italian grandfather, Giovanni had come to Britain in the 1920s and built a thriving cafe business after starting out selling ice-cream from a hand-cart.
During the war Giovanni was taken abruptly from the cafe he owned in Wales, placed in horrific conditions in an internment camp and deported on the Arandora Star, having committed no crime. When the ship was torpedoed, most of the Italians on board were lost at sea, and Giovanni's wife Luisa was left with four young children to care for, the cafe to run, and no idea of his fate.
Stunned by the despicable treatment of internees and their families by the British government, Natalie began researching the events of 1940. She became determined to write about it, and chose to set the fictional hero and heroine in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, her parents' home. Natalie’s father John, later a senior University academic, began his career changing the fairy lights on the seafront.
Research for the book was frequently put on hold, as over the years Natalie’s son Jasper underwent more than 25 life-threatening operations at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital, and in the USA, for complications following a brain tumour. But Jasper pulled through, went to university, and finally she had the time to write it.
Thanks to the passion and determination of her agent Sonia Land at Sheil Land, and the incredible support of Natalie's adored sons, husband, family and friends, the novel will be published this autumn. Her hope is that, at last, the human story of the suffering of so many Italian families - and others who experienced the horrors of internment - will finally be heard.