Tag Archives: mystery

Giving Birth to “Lydia’s Story”

25 Sep

My newest novel, Lydia’s Story, is now available all the major book sellers.

If you are a writer, you know what a wonderful rush comes along with writing those words. If you are not a writer, just think of any major project you have embarked on in your life — giving birth to a child, completing a college degree, running a marathon. And as with any major project, the work isn’t done yet. I want people to read my book!

I describe Lydia’s Story as a sequel/prequel to my first novel, The Gate House. I took the main character, Nara Blake, and moved her forward in time by about a year, but then I gave her a challenge. I placed a stack of her great-grandmother’s diaries in her hands, and posed a dilemma. The family has always held that Lydia and Allan Roberts died in the London Blitz in 1940 or 1941, but the diaries go up to 1942. As Nara reads and learns more about her ancestors, she finds that she is on a collision course with a brother and sister from France who are also looking for their lost heritage, but theirs are valuable works of art that were lost during World War II.

I loved the research into how the British worked to preserve their precious art works and cultural heritage as well as protect their island from invasion by the Germans. I loved putting the pieces of the novel together, melding past with present, and tying the sections together with Lydia’s diary entries.

My “baby” is out in the world now. I wish her the best. I will support her as best I can, and at the same time, I am ready to start something new.

 

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One Out and One on the Way

5 Jun

Now that “The Gate House” is available again, as both as e-book and in print, I am turning my attention the my next book, tentatively titled “Lydia’s Story.” The manuscript is finished, and I am hoping to have news about a publisher soon.
I describe “Lydia’s Story” as a sequel/prequel to “The Gate House.” It features Nara Blake and her family again, including Alex, her love from the first novel, and her newly found half-sister, Lily. But Lydia is Nara’s great-grandmother, and her story is discovered in her diaries from World War II.
Although I love reading historical fiction, it was a challenge to write about the World War II era. I have visited London several times and visited the Imperial War Museum and Churchill’s War Cabinet Rooms, as well as Dover Castle where the Dunkirk rescue of British troops was planned. But it was still a writer’s stretch to tell Lydia’s story from the setting of wartime London.
People occasionally ask why I set my novels in England, and the answer is — because that is where the stories are! And that is also true of “Lydia’s Story,” set in 1940s London. And imagining her life, her loves, her fears means as much to me as her great-granddaughter Nara, who found her diaries.
I will post more news on both books as events happen.

Where do characters come from?

22 Feb

My characters are frequently based on real people, but as the story develops, they take on a life of their own and bear little more than a superficial resemblance to the person on whom it is based.

In the case of Nara, the main character in The Gate House, she is based on the daughter-in-law of a friend from my days in Costa Rica. Her name is Nara, a unique name, and she is petite with dark hair and grew up in a Caribbean island nation. But that is where the similarity ends.

From that basic description, I created Nara Blake, who lives in the Gate House with her father and aunt, and whose interest in art along with her innate curiosity leads her into trouble.

Elaine, the cathedral tour guide who becomes involved with Nara and her adventures, is based on a real guide I met at Lincoln Cathedral. But of course I know nothing about the real woman’s personal life. I created one for the character in my novel.

Next time you are in a public place, look around and imagine a character from someone you see. From that person, you can create a story, or invite him or her into a story you are writing.

Here are a couple of websites I like for help in creating characters:

How to Create Characters http://kathrineroid.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/how-to-create-characters-for-a-novel/

Fiction Factor http://www.fictionfactor.com/characters.html

Isla Tortuga, Costa Rica