Monday, March 12, 2012

Love at War and Family Shadows by Viola Russell

I wrote LOVE AT WAR a year after my mother's death.  We'd been very close, and while my grief was fresh, I did very little.  It was months before I went through her things, and when I did, I found letters her brother Russell had written to my grandparents.  I also read those letters her brother Russell and his wife wrote to each other.  The more I read, the more I sensed an obligation to write their story.  Not that the events in LOVE AT WAR directly mirror those faced by my family members in the novel, but the events recounted in the book marked the lives of  a whole generation.  No one lived through that time and emerged untouched.  My uncle Russell never returned to his wife and child.  He is buried overseas with other felled warriors.  My other uncles returned to those they loved, but they all carried the scars of war.  Very seldom did they talk about what they'd seen.  My Uncle Willie lived and soldiered on, but he lost some of his soul in the Pacific.  Charlie lived the fullest life.  His eight children are a testament to his and his wife's hard work and love.  

Nuala, the heroine of LOVE AT WAR, is in some ways very like my mother.  She is loving and loyal to family, but she also is fierce when those she loves are hurt.  My mother didn't serve in the military, but she lived through that era, a time of untold heartache.  She also grew up in grinding poverty but supported herself with pride. When she went out, she always was immaculately turned out even if her clothing wasn't expensive.  When my father died and left us little money, my mother still made sure we didn't want for anything.  Nuala's story isn't my mother's, but her character was born of that same iron will and determination that formed my mother.  My mother felt the losses of those she loved, but she never let life cripple her.  Neither did Nuala.

I also researched the war and time period extensively.  The novel is almost a Valentine to my mother's generation and our family.  I wanted to tell the story of an era accurately and to give an authentic voice to those people who fought the good fight.  Many of them were separated from those they loved by war, as were Nuala and Keith.  Some died in war. Their bones lie in cemeteries at home and abroad.  All were irrevocably changed.

Viola Russell
Twitter: https://twitter/#!/violrussell


Cheryl said...

Interesting story behind your book!

Viola Russell said...

I sometimes felt as if I were guided by some spirit as I wrote. Every line felt inspired.

CK Web said...

I love to hear writers speak of being guided & just taken over by the story, characters & words... I am so excited to read this one! Best of luck, Viola!!!!

Sandy said...

Viola, I was born during this time period, and grew up in this era, so I know exactly what you are talking about.

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