I began to write a memoir, beginning with my parents and their lives, even before I was born. I began to write scenes from images and memories of stories told by my parents. As the writing progressed, I realized I was telling stories about people still alive and they might not appreciate my take on their personalities or events. So, I decided to turn my writing into fiction. Changing the names and adding drama and events that didn’t actually happen made my writing more fun, more creative and more work!
The setting was before, during and after WW2 in England. So, the work part involved being authentic about dates that were landmarks of that period. I needed to get the correct date for the beginning of the war, major battles and events that impacted my characters.
My novel, ‘Ripple Effect: Because Of The War’ told the story of how the war impacted non-combatants, the individuals and families as well as the impact on returning soldiers. I told stories of courage, resilience, independence of those at home. I told about stress, loneliness and pain of addiction and post traumatic stress. I dealt with psychological truths, known from my professional work with people in a counselling setting.
My novel also needed to have the places described correctly as well as the everyday customs and clothing. To keep track of dates and events and ages of my characters at certain times, I used a spreadsheet where I collected my data. The research took up almost as much time as writing. I had to get the historical background correct then let the characters’ lives develop within that authentic setting.
Historical fiction is fun and work! There might be a sequel!