History has been a passion of mine since I was a small child. I enjoy stories of the past. Whether the historical account comes from within my own family or between the pages of history books, all history is fascinating to me. As a fiction writer, my inspiration for story settings and thus story creation, often come from the backdrop of history. I am often asked why I focus on the era surrounding World War II.
To be honest, the time between 1930 and 1960 in North America has always been of interest to me. In this, I am not alone, as there is much fascination surrounding the history of World War II. Everything from military tactics to the devastating tales of human injustice. It was a time filled with varied experiences and I personally believe, we could spend several more centuries trying to comprehend it all.
Though I do love the fashion, the hairstyles, the hats, it is the human experiences of history that make me want to know more. It is often commented that my historical fiction title, Becoming Mrs. Smith, is from a fresh perspective of the era. The story follows the life of a girl as she comes of age in a small town in South Dakota. As war rages in Europe, America enters the battle with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Life continues in her little town, but it also ends. This competing sense of time and circumstance is what pushes me forward in research.
Life most certainly was catastrophic and tenuous through many regions during the war. For me the history of daily living among the chaos is where the stories lie. Humans are resilient and inspiring within the chaos of war and thus bring about insights into the spirit of human nature.
History calls to me from every day situations. I often wonder what it would be like to be a woman during the second world war. Many of them were urgently needed as workers in factories. War changed the face of generations as women headed into the work force, as they were called to do jobs that previously were only offered to men. I also wonder where the children of those now working women spend their days when their mothers were immersed in supplying the war effort with the necessary equipment and supplies?
How were local shops and services able to stay afloat? With fewer customers, many of them less money at their disposal, I wonder if businesses suffered as well. Automobile manufacturing all but ceased to exist as parts required for the war effort took precedent. Since I did not witness the war first hand, I am unable to truly understand the discomforts and tragedies that accompanied it. Perhaps, that alone is part of my fascination with that particular period in time. As I delve into the archives, I feel immersed in an enormously long, harsh winter. One that prevents ease of movement. Renders everyone incapacitated at some level and does not discriminate with regard to heartache and loss.
Yes, the allure of history continues to pull me in. I don’t anticipate that I will ever fully understand it and all of it’s many faces. But I certainly hope to learn something along the way. If we can appreciate history in all it’s glory as well as it’s ugliness, perhaps we stand a chance of not having to repeat it.
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