by Carole Brown
It’s a privilege to welcome wonderful author Susan Page today to Word Sharpeners. I’m delighted to introduce all of you to her and her books. Susan . . .
My inspiration for River Rest came easily—from a journal left by my great-aunt Belle, my grandmother’s sister. She described life in rural Central Maine in the 1920s and 1930s so well that as I perused her diary I felt lifted back in time.
For my novel, I created new characters, Judith and Ben, and I let them live out a romance while experiencing some of the same things Aunt Belle and her family did.
Let me say right here that Judith is not Aunt Belle, and Ben is not Uncle Harry. I also moved the timeframe of my story back to 1918. Some of the things in my novel really happened, like the fire I describe, but not in that year. The flavor is what the journal gave me—the ice cutting, the quilting, the neighborliness, the apple picking, the bird feeder.
A few real, historical people are mentioned, but not many. Grover Cleveland Bergdoll is one. He was perhaps the most famous “slacker,” or draft dodger, as we would say, of all time. Judith’s sister is eager to write a news article about him, but Ben discourages her from doing this. It’s only a mention, but one of the interesting tidbits I gleaned while researching the time period I had chosen.
I also wrote as accurately I could about the army training camp set up in Lewiston, Maine, on the grounds of a girls’ school. My own grandfather went there for training in 1918, as did Judith’s brother in my book.
When writing historicals, I have the privilege of incorporating real events into them, blending them with the imaginary plot of the story. I am able to pick and choose what happenings I want to emphasize, and which ones hum quietly in the background.
Every American has an impression of the time at the end of World War I. I let the reader fill in most of that background with her own knowledge. I chose to make the flu epidemic important in the story, since that hit my own family that year. My grandfather caught it at the training camp, and his family suffered back home. But I don’t go into details about the peace treaty of the final battles. Instead, I focus on the daily lives of those on the home front.
River Rest is available in paperback and e-book. We’re giving away a copy this week, and the winner can choose the format. Just leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Be sure to include a way we can contact you, such as your e-mail address.
ABOUT Susan’s book:
Judith Chadbourne gave up her teaching job after her mother’s death to help her father with her five siblings. But when her father sinks into deep depression and her brother Joel is drafted, the household chores and farm work may overwhelm her. Neighbor Ben Thayer offers to buy their farm, shocking Judith and angering her father. An outsider from New York, Ben seems rich and mysterious, but his heart aches from his own loss. Judith accidentally breaks the antique crystal Christmas ornament her mother loved. The splintering star echoes her family’s shattering. Ben’s efforts to help make Judith suspicious, but when Joel falls critically ill at the army camp, Ben’s concern may bring the beginnings of trust. Can love take Judith beyond the frozen Maine winter?
Find River Rest at:
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas in the historical romance, mystery, and suspense genres. She is the mother of six and grandmother of ten. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com
Find me at:
History blog on the 23rd of each month: www.hhhistory.com
Thank you so much for joining me today, Susan!
We’re giving away a copy of RIVER’S REST this week, and the winner can choose the format. Just leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Be sure to include a way we can contact you, such as your e-mail address.
Readers, be sure to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win Susan’s book!