Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome to the Lilac Wine blog

This is the blog for my novel, Lilac Wine. The novel is a work in progress. Here you will find excerpts, ruminations and various thoughts about the process of writing a story that takes place in 1917. When I first thought of this story back in the mid-90s, I had no idea where it would take me. I just planted a seed and had no details for the arc of the story. I had ideas but the details were lacking. I wrote a couple of chapters and then put it away. But it was never far from my mind. Last Fall, while driving in the car home from work, something clicked. Lily Springs once again entered my mind and suddenly those missing details came to me. It took some 15 years, but there it was. A story. Suddenly, a door had been opened. Characters were calling. A different world and a different time became very real. I began writing again and, in the process, Lily Springs has come to life and Abelia Brody and Robert Bishop have become kin.

Since the story takes place in 1917, I set out reconstructing that time period. Hours upon hours of research have gone into the smallest of details. I have had to learn to drive again, this time with a 1913 Ford pickup. I have had to learn how to make wine, all sorts of wine from blackberry wine to lilac wine while navigating the often confusing pre-18th Amendment prohibitionist laws that caused consternation among the Midwestern states of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. I have become even more of a fan of Charlie Chaplin, who was just becoming a national sensation in 1917. I have learned to garden and to take excursions on Mississippi steamboats. I have sat on cool summer nights with Abelia listening to “Ave Maria” by Alessandro Moreschi playing on her 1906 Harvard model talking machine she purchased for $15.90.

I have learned of war and a place known as Cantigny.

So far it has been a fun and illuminating process, frustrating at times but often filled with those moments that make me so relieved to be writing. I hope you join me for the ride.

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