Tag Archives: British history

Why Set My Story in World War II?

16 Sep

My newest novel, Lydia’s Story, is a sequel/prequel to my first novel, The Gate House. It is a sequel because the same main characters, Nara Blake and her family, continue their story of life in a small English town, where too much seems to happen. It is a prequel because the book also tells the story of Nara’s great-grandparents, who died in World War II under mysterious circumstances.

I decided to tell this partially historical narrative because I wanted to bridge the family history in Nara’s family, as I try to bridge that history in my own family.

My dad was an American soldier in World War II. He and my mom married in 1942, and after three weeks of marriage, he went overseas to North Africa and Europe and did not return for three years. I have always considered this one of the greatest love stories I have every heard. At the same time, I am fascinated with British history, and the heroism of the British during World War II is beyond remarkable. We in the United States do not know what it is like to have our country bombed consistently for months on end. We have never had to send our children away to the country to be safe from the bombing, as Londoners did during World War II.

I put together my thoughts and feelings about that remarkable period of history, and the result is Lydia’s Story.

Coincidentally, my own great-grandmother’s name was Lydia, and she was half Welsh. But that’s another story.

 

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What Makes a Good Book?

26 Jun

Besides writing and editing, I spend a lot of time reading.

I review novels for Suspense Magazine, and just finished judging books for a contest put on by Oklahoma Romance Writers. I also try to read books that I choose myself, just for enjoyment.

What makes a good book? For me, a good book is one with heart. Many of the books I review are not ones that I would pick up on my own. I recently reviewed Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder. A theme in this book is auto racing, not anything I know or care about. But the book has heart. It is well-written with enough complexity to keep a reader totally involved. 

Another one I read was The Comet by Miriam Newman. Set in England at the time of the Norman Conquest, this is one I would have grabbed off the shelf, since I love British history. I was not disappointed. Newman tells a romantic story filled with enough historical details to keep the most dedicated history buff happy. And the story has heart. It is not just the romance between the Norman knight and the Saxon woman, but the story pulls you into the heart of a suffering land, and the suffering of a people who have been conquered by invaders.

What do you think makes a good book? What are some authors or titles that have drawn you in?