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Monday, April 20, 2015

IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD by Deborah C. Wilding



MUSE MONDAY
Brenda, thank you for inviting me to Muse Monday. As a long-time reader of historical fiction, I enjoy watching history unfold through characters that become as real to me as though I knew them personally. I've found that almost any period provides a rich colorful background  for characters that live and walk through the pages of times past.  And sometimes the inspiration for a story can come from very close to home, when you least expect it.

That was the case with the setting for my new release--"Then I Met You." The glimmer of an idea was first sparked when I found an old map that identified a wooden building near my neighborhood in Hawaii as a former internment center for Japanese during WWII. I've passed the building a dozens of times without having a clue. In that moment it struck me that the makings of an historical romance can begin right in your own backyard. And I wondered, what would it have been like, in the days surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor, if two people were falling in love--and one of them was Japanese.

I began to do some research. What was Honolulu like in 1941? What happened to ordinary people on December 7th? My characters and their lives began to take shape. Though the main characters are fictional, the period in Hawaii's history is very real and affects their lives in meaningful ways. Conflicts, dilemmas, mystery, heroism and romance are woven together with actual events and historical figures--the theft of crown jewels really happened, and only a few diamonds have been recovered to the present day. But in the end, the book is an impossibly courageous love story.

To keep the threads of my story from getting tangled, I taped a gigantic home-made calendar on my wall with the dates running from early November to mid-December 1941. In ink I penned actual events that happened on each day; on post-its I wrote each character's activities and emotional reactions. At first, the post-its had to be shuffled around like crazy between the dates before I got them settled into a comfortable pattern. I was concerned that too much organization would stifle my characters, but they often managed to surprise the heck out of me!  And instead of worrying about where the plot was going, I could focus on my real loves: dialog and setting.

So, inspiration, research, organization.  Those were the first steps. In my story, prejudice, deception, and the devastation of war must be overcome. To find out how it all worked out you'll have to read "Then I Met You."    

Buy Links:
Amazon 
The Wild Rose Press 

Connect with Deborah here:
http://www.deborahwildingauthor.com/ 

10 comments:

  1. That's a fascinating look at how we can be in the midst of history and not realize it. Thanks, Deborah! Looking forward to reading Then I Met You.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie! I had a lot of fun writing the book and learning about 1941. Clothes, phones, you name it!

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  2. What an interesting way to have researched all of this, Deborah. I love stories that mix real world events with fiction, because I generally pick up something I was probably sleeping through in history class!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. I've always loved stories that were based on historical characters--remember those Jean Plaidy books? Now I'm thinking about my next book, but it's going to be hard to top the events of December 7th!

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  3. How intriguing to find the setting and glimmer of a story in your very own backyard!

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    1. Hi Shelly, I'm glad that you found my little discovery interesting. Have you ever read the book, "The Magic of Ordinary Days?" Well, it's about a single gal in the 1940s who gets pregnant and has to abandon her dreams of becoming an archaeologist. But amazingly, instead, she learns to discover arrow-heads and other artifacts of the Old West in her own neighborhood. It's sort of a gentle and inspirational story.

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  4. Love the post and enjoyed reading about your research/writing process. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, McCall! That big calendar I made up for myself to manage the plot was seriously low-tech, but it worked out fine.

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  5. Amazing! The book sounds fabulous, can't wait to read!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I learned a lot about the history of Hawaii while I wrote the book--at first I was asking myself some really basic questions, like...so, what were people in Honolulu actually DOING while Pearl Harbor was being attacked? I had some pretty interesting interviews with old-timers who remembered that day!

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