WordPerfect files. And that doesn’t count the year or two I spent mulling the idea in my brain before I acted upon it.
I began a journey to write a book about which I felt so passionate, it demanded to be written. Because I strive for accuracy and wanted to know my subject inside and out, I bought about twenty books which I read cover to cover. I learned a lot. For example, I never knew much about World War I. There weren’t nearly as many movies made about it as World War II. I must have studied it in school but probably zoned out because the subject was presented like three-day-old unbuttered toast. I discovered that after almost a hundred years, farmers and military personnel regularly find unexploded bombs stockpiled beneath the earth in France. A couple of years ago, someone found several cases of extremely valuable Napoleon brandy within the trench works. (While wine will go sour, time apparently is a friend to brandy.) Some of the land is still unable to grow anything because of the chemicals that leached out of the various products intended to part a man’s body from his soul.
I knew only a scintilla more about what I’d heard called the Spanish Flu around my house. My grandmother had survived it as a young woman living in Constantinople. They didn’t teach this in school at all. In fact, it’s surprising how little was known about it until the rumble about H1N1 began to look like it might turn into a real problem. People just didn’t talk about it. But I didn’t grasp the magnitude of either of these events until I undertook the research myself.
So I began writing Home By Morning, the story of Jessica Layton, a female physician who goes back to her hometown for a visit and gets stuck there when the epidemic hits. There is no other doctor in town except for cranky Granny Mae Rumsteadt, a colorful café owner who also offers folk medicine to the locals, thinks aspirin is poisonous, and doesn't mind helping a farmer pull a calf or two if the need arises.
The book has a bit of everything: jealousy, treachery, broken hearts healed by the love that broke them, battle scenes, love scenes, vigilantism, character assassination, scandal, hopelessness, hope restored, and scores settled.
I hope that this book strikes a chord with readers and makes them curious enough to find out what happens in the sequel, Home By Nightfall.