SHE was thrown out of the Army when she fell pregnant but Catherine Jones is still using her curtailed career as material for her new book.
The author today publishes her 17th book Soldiers’ Wives, her seventh about life in the forces, with publisher Head of Zeus.
Published under the name Fiona Field, it follows three women in the Army through their marital and career problems.
She joined the Army as a second lieutenant in Bicester aged 18 in 1976.
She worked her way up to the rank of captain and travelled to Germany and Cyprus but said she was thrown out when she fell pregnant with Penny, born in 1985.
The mum-of-three grown-up children said: “I met my husband, Ian, in Bicester. He was a bomb disposal expert and I thought that sounded like fun.
“But I took my eye off the ball. For the first time ever I was suffering from terrible airsickness during training, and I thought something was wrong. I went to the doctor and he told me I was pregnant.”
Mrs Jones, now 58, said: “I was thrown out, it wasn’t my choice.
“Women were only just allowed to carry on serving once they were married. It was a very draconian way of thinking.”
But she said: “With everything that happened after that – we did six moves in five years and had two more kids, Victoria and Tim – I don’t think I could have juggled the Army as well.”
Her big break as a novelist began when working for The Grapevine, a magazine for Army wives.
Mrs Jones, who has sold tens of thousands of her books, said: “It’s all a bit of an accident, really. One day the editor was short of a 200- word column and I filled in.
“It became a regular feature and then was put into a book, Gumboots and Pearls, which was released in 1990. From there I thought I’d write some novels.”
The main character in Soldiers’ Wives, an Oxford graduate with a baby and an officer husband, is based on her own life, she said.
She said: “Everybody has chunks of the autobiographical in their novels. There’s stuff in there that was really written from the heart.”
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