Welcome to Polly Heron's website.


I am a saga writer living on the North Wales coast, but I am originally from Manchester, which is where my books are set.


I am represented by Camilla Shestopal of Shesto Literary.


I also write as Susanna Bavin and as Maisie Thomas. I am on Facebook as Maisie.

Good News for The Surplus Girls


Such a delight to see that book 1 in the series, The Surplus Girls, has topped 1000 reviews and ratings on Amazon.




The Surplus Girls is available on both Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and also as a paperback.

The Surplus Girls series


The Surplus Girls series explores the predicament faced by many young women in the aftermath of the Great War. They had grown up expected by society to marry and become housewives and mothers. Then came the war – and a generation of young men perished. Many women lost their sweethearts or fiancés while others, without knowing it, lost the men they would have married had they ever had the chance to meet. This meant that many girls now faced a future in which they would have to provide for themselves, while being regarded as ‘on the shelf’ or ‘old maids’.


The world of work offered women far fewer opportunities than came the way of men. Moreover, a woman doing the same job as a man would typically earn one third less. It was legal to refuse to employ a woman simply because she was a woman and it was considered patriotic to employ a former soldier even if a female candidate would have been more suited to the job. During an interview, an unmarried woman could expect to be grilled about her marriage prospects, because should she marry, the expectation would be that she would leave in order to be a housewife. In plenty of jobs, marriage automatically meant dismissal.



In The Surplus Girls series, I have explored various jobs that would have been open to girls and women in the early 1920s. Each book has a different heroine whom the story centres around, but one of the things that links the books together is that each heroine attends a business school to learn secretarial skills.


I loved delving into the social history of the time and seeking out suitable roles for my characters – ‘suitable’ meaning appropriate to the time, not necessarily the right job for the character personally – as Nancy finds out to her cost in Christmas with the Surplus Girls. In the newly published fourth book, New Beginnings for the Surplus Girls, Jess makes a particularly interesting heroine, as she sees herself as a career woman, not an unfortunate surplus girl. She dreams of creating a successful working life for herself but has to cope with all the disadvantages that women faced at the time.

The Question Every Author Gets Asked: Where Do Your Ideas Come From?


A question writers are often asked is ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ The answer is that they come from all over the place – a snippet of overheard conversation, something on the news, a picture, a song…


I once got a terrific plot idea from listening to a talk given on a training day at work!


That idea subsequently added an extra layer to the scene in The Poor Relation when Mary, Nathaniel, Alistair and the men of the local community work through the night to get the clinic ready for business.


When I was writing The Surplus Girls' Orphans, there had to be a series of crimes going on, and these crimes had to fit in fully with the story and in particular with the children in the orphanage.


I gave it a lot of thought. Then, one morning, when I was listening to Today on Radio 4, a certain news report gave me exactly what I needed. It had to be adapted, obviously, for my book, but the idea was there.


That's the way it is with ideas - they don't get transferred onto the page unchanged. When a writer gets an idea, it doesn’t just mean using that exact snatch of conversation or that particular detail from a photo. What happens is that the original thing, whatever it was, blossoms and expands into something bigger and completely different inside the writer’s mind.


Before I had even thought of The Sewing Room Girl, I was told about something frightening that had happened to someone... and that's where the book originated - though nothing in the story bears any resemblance at all to the original event.


The wedding day details in The Railway Girls in Love were inspired when I saw two wartime wedding photographs in Bombers and Mash by Raynes Minns.


One photo was a close-up of three women – the bride and two bridesmaids. The bride was wearing a suit and hat, as many wartime brides did. As the war wore on, it became increasingly difficult to find new wedding dresses and many dresses were passed from bride to bride. So what was it about this photo that made it special for me? Well, it was the hats worn by the bride and one of her friends. Each hat had a frothy decoration attached to it, a cross between a flower and a pompom, to make the hats more suitable for a special occasion. The moment I saw these, I knew that knitting-mad Mrs Grayson would love to add the coordinating touch of knitted flowers to the wedding hats in my story.


The second picture was a group photo showing the bride and groom, an adult bridesmaid, two men and three child bridesmaids. It was the way the three little girls were dressed that gave me my second idea. I’m not going to say here what it was in case you haven’t read the book yet, but you may well work it out when you get to that part in the story.


Looking at the two wartime wedding pictures (which you can see for yourself in Bombers and Mash – they appear on page 177 in my paperback copy) didn’t just provide me with ideas for wedding clothes. Suddenly I was able to see the whole of the wedding day happening in detail from start to finish inside my imagination, complete with everything that would make it into the very special occasion that I loved putting on paper, including the flood at the church hall that meant the reception had to be moved at short notice into the station buffet.


The basic idea that started me off writing The Deserter's Daughter, my first published novel, came from seeing boxes of bits and bobs at an auction. If you fancied something, you had to buy the whole box.


That idea never got used in The Deserter's Daughter....


.... but it did get used some ten years later in The Surplus Girls.


It might take longer than you expect, but ideas always get used in the end!


The Home Front Girls


The Home Front Girls is the name of my new WW2 trilogy written as Susanna Bavin. It's also the title of book 1.


The two girls on the cover are Sally (in the green top) and Betty. The story starts in the summer of 1940 when the Battle of Britain is raging in the skies. Steadfast, hardworking Sally and gentle, well-meaning Betty are sent to work in a salvage depot (what we would call a recycling plant), but they have met before - when Sally caused Betty to lose her job.


The book is available in paperback and also on Kindle.

Heritage Railway Pictures


If you'd like to see some photos of the types of railway things you read about in the Railway Girls books, then click here to be taken to my blog.




Meeting Dot


If you enjoyed the feature at the top of the page about Belinda as a character, you may like to look at this blog about Dot Green, a Railway Girls character who captured readers' hearts right from the start of the series.


Click here to see the blog.

A Special Picture:



I love this picture. It's wonderful to see all four Surplus Girls books together.

Book News:


The Surplus Girls is on Kindle Unlimited....


 .... and so is The Surplus Girls' Orphans.




If you are on Twitter, you may like to know that I have set up a new account for myself as Polly. Here it is - I hope you'll pop across and follow me. If you do, please say hello! (Just to avoid any confusion, yes I do still have the Susanna Bavin account on Twitter.)


* * * *

  Wonderful neh y special to sha* *

Here is a quick link for you to my Author Page on Amazon UK.