Hello friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and thanks to fellow WWII fiction author, Rachel Lowrey Muller, I’ve been asked to participate in a blog tour about my writing process and really, what do I do all day? So here goes:
WHAT AM I WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
With the recent release of my debut novel, For Such A Time, I’m already writing the next adventure for Bethany House. I’m going back in time to WWI, and instead of Czechoslovakia, my story is set in Britain, both the busy city of London and the beautiful pastoral landscape of Kent. It’s 1917, and with British soldiers and sailors fighting overseas, my cast of lovely characters stays busy aiding in the war effort back home. While I can’t reveal too much of the story before I finish and turn it in, I will tell you it involves a beautiful Suffragette and a mysterious aristocrat, with romance, intrigue, and bit of adventure thrown in!
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
Unlike other WWI novels I’ve read, my story doesn’t involve actual battle scenes. The war works more as a backdrop for my characters’ journey and while they’re aware of its presence, they are distanced from the fighting in France. I got my story idea perusing the many fascinating events that occurred during the first two decades of the 20th century. It was the age of modernization, as the end of the Edwardian era ushered in Women’s Suffrage and the industrial boom. Cruise liner shipbuilding, ready-made clothing, department stores, restaurants and assembly-line automobile manufacturing were on the scene. Many British were cinemagoers, as the American film industry blossomed with stars like Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Rudolf Valentino headlining “silent movie” screens.
British women found more opportunities outside the home for work and socializing; in certain tea shops and coffee houses, respectable ladies could gather and enjoy tea time without having to be chaperoned. A shift in thinking about a “woman’s place” began with the onset of WWI. Men took off in droves to do their duty and fight, leaving the ladies to stay behind and take up the slack. Many worked in factories making munitions and shrapnel for the soldiers overseas, driving ambulances at the Front, working as nurses, policewomen, and providing manual labor in the fields. (By 1918, Britain suffered extreme food shortages as German U-boats attacked merchant ships carrying foodstuffs from America.) With women taking over many previously exclusive “male” occupations during the war, it helped afterward to speed up their winning the right to vote. Hmm, maybe the men figured out that women were just as if not more competent in “taking care of business” while they were away?
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
I write inspirational historical romance because I enjoy uplifting love stories–and I’m fascinated with exploring the past, especially European history. It’s my way of traveling to new places, seeing wondrous sights, and going back in time without leaving my desk! The research is fun, as I always learn something new. Though I do put myself on a timer, otherwise I get engrossed in one interesting tidbit after another and before you know it, I’ve gobbled up hours of writing time!
HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Once the bulk of my research is finished and my outline complete, I start writing the first draft of my story. Mornings are best for my creativity, so I get up early, before phones, email, and other distractions commence and write for several hours. More of a “map reader” than “seat of the pantster,” I like having a detailed synopsis at the onset of my project. I know my story will vary a bit, but it does keep me on track. Every writer is different and the secret is to find what works and stick with it.
I enjoy listening to music while I work, especially if the melody resonates with the mood or theme of my story. I have a lovely office facing the bay and perfect for my inspiration! Books cram every inch of space in my library, and I’m surrounded by all things historical: Ancient Scottish weaponry, old maps, even a framed Celtic Cross. My cat, Coco, (see my About page) oftentimes lends a hand. When she thinks I need a break, she stands in front of my computer screen until I gradually surface from my fictional fog.
So there you have it–this is my writing life! And I hope you’ll stay on the tour as fellow historical author, Christina Rich, posts her process from her site, ThreefoldStrand.com next Monday, May 12th!
Happy reading and writing,