Inspiration from War and Resistance

Novelists are often told, “write what you know.” That’s not quite right. They should learn what they don’t know. Then when they write, they write from a place of knowing. I wanted to write about everyday people who decide to fight for their freedom. So I turned to history again. I needed inspiration for my then in-progress novel, My Soul to Keep. I looked for character inspiration from war and resistance. I found a lot more. Google is my friend. I searched for resistance and freedom fighters. Scanning hundreds of articles about resistance groups or rebels or freedom fighters I looked for firsthand accounts. I read a lot of articles. Articles about the American Revolution, the Syrian Civil War, and the Polish, the Yugoslavian, the Dutch, and the French resistance fighters in WWII. Syrian Civil War and Reality There were two resources I returned to over and over again. I found a number of YouTube videos about the Syrian Civil War. These were videos not for the faint of heart. They showed the real brutality of war, the spirit of resistance, and the destruction of homes and lives. It also showed the resilience of the human spirit. People lived in the […]

How I Found My Cover Artist

Finding my cover artist was relatively a straightforward process that took a lot of time. I’m married to an artist who had an award-winning career as an art director. You’d think I would have found the process easy. Not so much. Not that my artist of choice, Elizabeth Leggett, made it difficult. She made it easy for me. I’ve never been a visual person. I love the sight of a dewy rose, the smile on a toddler’s face, the sleek lines of a sexy sports car. But, sounds make a bigger impact on me—babbling brooks, wind shushing through pine trees, and voices—from emotion to word choice to timber and volume and pace. I’m an emotion magnet—the ‘feel’ of a place, an event, or a person speaks to me. Heck, I write. Words are important. But discussing a book cover—words failed me. WHAT TO LOOK FOR When you choose a cover artist you should think about two or three skills that you’d want to see in their work. Perhaps you want great images of stars in space, or a cartoon-style character, or realistic animals. Do you want photo-realism or something more impressionistic? It’s all up to you. The artist should have […]

Inspiration from Real-life, Heart-wrenching History

We Americans, like many other people, don’t like to acknowledge our less honorable moments. I found inspiration from real-live, heart-wrenching history while writing my novel, My Soul to Keep. I’m talking about Eugenics. Specifically, Negative Eugenics. Negative eugenics is the type we associate with the Nazis. Unfortunately, America has a long, dark history of negative eugenics that pre-dates the Nazis’ use. AN ACT TO REGULATE IMMIGRATION It began in 1882 with the passage of “An Act to Regulate Immigration.” That act established criteria for allowing immigrants into the United States. The act included the right to deny any passengers entry into the country if they appeared to be lunatics, unable to care for themselves, or convicts. THE FATHER OF EUGENICS Sir Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin, coined the term eugenics in 1883. In it’s simplest form, eugenics means “well-born.” More to Galton’s concept, it meant “the science which deals with all influences that improve inborn qualities.” Galton studied the upper classes of Britain. He concluded that their social positions were due to their superior genes. Selective marriage was his recommendation. He hoped to end poor genetics by having more healthy and above average intelligence producing more children. This type of genetic […]