I’ve never been in a war, never been bombed, and never been a refugee, but war has been a part of my life since my birth. Born in Scotland, I grew up with parents and relatives who’d come through World War II and had stories to tell. They were never the stories of hell. Not because I was a child, but because no one wanted to talk about hell. They were humorous or matter-of-fact or quirky. These stories were my “norm.”
I wrote a World War II novel based on one of those stories. I began when I worked full-time, but as an academic research librarian in higher education, work was ruled by the term and I couldn’t write consistently. I’d start a new term swearing not to get so caught up in work that I’d have to set my novel aside. In a couple of weeks, the term subsumed me. My feet hit the floor at 5:30 a.m. and I’d work all day and into the night, often falling into bed at 11:00 p.m. or later. At the end of term, I’d collapse. Towards the end of break week, I’d “come to” and wonder what happened to my story.
Unable to write a novel that way, I left work in August of 2018 to begin again, this time putting my novel first — every day. The story is based on a woman my mother met during the London Blitz. No one famous. An ordinary woman coping with what the world threw at her. I interlaced some stories and events I’d heard as a child, and discoveries from my research. I finished my novel in the fall of 2021 and began my agent search, which will no doubt be ongoing for a while.
My goal is to share some stories that didn’t make it into the book. Background stories or stories I cut from my novel because they didn’t serve this particular story. As I continue my agent search, I’ll share some of these tales in blog posts over the coming months. I hope you’ll find them interesting.
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