Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Research! Because someone must...go to France!

From collection at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX
I am planning a new book. And the research delights me.
I've done all the "book learning" about it and sat in far too many dusty libraries. At Walter Reed Army Medical Center. At the National Archives in Washington. At Carlysle Barracks in Carlysle, PA. I've also   gone to The Imperial War Museum in London and gathered invaluable experience.
In all these wonderful places, I've read letters and reports. I've looked at old old photos. Catalogued them.
Learned about medical practices during wartime.
And now I am prepping for my last bit of research.
To France!
So excited I cannot stand myself.
But yes, I am going to France for 3 weeks to take pictures, visit battlefields and learn the terrain. Literally.
I have lists, cross referenced with facts, ready to be woven into an accurately portrayed novel.
In the 1980s, I wrote this book and allllllllmost published it. Made a lot of people happy, astonished and interested.  So much so that these people remember this book VIVIDLY.
Now, after more than sixty published novels and novellas, I am a much better writer and this time, when I finish this book, I know there will be an audience for it.
"War Horse" tells me so. "Downton Abbey" does, too. I am certain there will be more pointing to the fact that the public will now see the first World War as a subject that bears honest scrutiny and that it should be studied for what it tells us about ourselves, good and bad.
And what of my novel?
The time period? 1917-1918.
The place? America and in France with the AEF, American Expeditionary Forces.
The subject my friends cannot forget? A woman's view of World War I.

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