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 […]

Let Your Dreams Be Bigger Than Your Fears

Fear makes my heart stutter and my brain screams stop. Hope makes me smile and dream. I flip-flop between these two minute to minute. Determination keeps my fingers moving. That’s what happens when you let your dreams be bigger than your fears. My Soul to Keep launches in six days. At times I can hardly believe it. This novel has been years in the making. Why did it take so long? Fear. Many different fears. Danger The danger warnings I have gotten have varied. One danger was that I had exposed too much of my personal life. Another was that I would be ridiculed. Or I would be put on the spot about beliefs espoused in my book. Sometimes the fear was about real situations in my life that had nothing to do with my writing but scared me nonetheless. Sometimes the fear drove me away from the work. There were days I didn’t even turn on the computer. More than once I discovered I had walked away from my desk, without conscious thought. I’d return and find my computer on, a sentence half-written. Fear had stopped me again. When the fear was bigger than my dream, the fear turned […]

Inspiration from Real-life, Heart-wrenching History: Part II

As inspiration for my novel, My Soul to Keep, the idea of Eugenics in America fascinated me. Unfortunately, my inspiration came from real-life, heart-wrenching history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the idea of eugenics spread like autumn leaves in the wind. It wasn’t just in America. Nor was it just in Nazi Germany. Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities. They classified social behaviors as inheritable diseases. Shiftlessness, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, color blindness, were among disorders they hoped to eliminate from the human population. WHO PARTICIPATED While Indiana was the first place to pass a compulsory sterilization law, they weren’t the last. More and more states created laws to sterilize degenerate or unfit men and women and children. They believed that by limiting the reproduction of those “types” of people, society would stronger, purer. By the 1930s, only eleven states had no sterilization laws. London hosted the first of three International Eugenics Conferences in 1912. And then New York hosted the second and third conferences in 1921 and 1932. In the 1920s and 30s, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, and Sweden developed laws to sterilize certain mental patients. A Who’s Who Professionals (charity leaders, sociologists, […]