Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out Of the Shoebox and Into a Book

By Nancy Fraser

Where does inspiration come from? How can you cultivate an idea without inspiration? Just exactly how much research must one do to write a steamy love scene? And, more importantly, where do you find the best research partner?
As an author, I often find my inspiration in my family’s history. Not so much the current generations but, rather, those who have come and gone before me. Such was the case with my latest release, The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker.
While going through some of my mother’s treasure trove of old family photos, I came across a shoebox tied shut with some old-fashioned twine. The writer in me was eager to tuck into the contents.
Among the many things I found were WWI ration stamps, a card of pearl buttons with a 2¢ price tag, a bill of sale for a 1927 Chevy for $625, and various newspaper clippings for miracle remedies for everything from warts to a sore back. Most of these items belonged to my grandfather, a man I barely remembered.
One item that stuck out was a decree of military service from WWI, but not for my grandfather. Rather, it was my French-born, paternal grandmother who had served as a translator and telephone operator for the U.S. troops stationed in France. Part of General Pershing’s Expeditionary Forces, the hundreds of women recruited to service were known as “Hello Girls”, a colloquial term given back in the states to telephone operators.
I spent the entire weekend glued to my computer researching everything I could find on this unknown branch of the military. Unfortunately for the many who served, full recognition as veterans was withheld and the women were discharged as civilians, without military benefit. And all this despite the fact they had to complete basic training and wear a uniform. It wasn’t until the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the war that the “Hello Girls” were finally given veteran status.
One of the most interesting facts I found was that some of these women also did double duty as spies, often using their feminine wiles to extract vital military secrets from the enemy. Needless to say, I was ecstatic with such an ‘intriguing’ find.
From that weekend of research...and my off-kilter imagination...Mrs. Ariel Pennybaker was born.
Please enjoy.


In the Roaring Twenties…

A former Hello Girl during WWI, widowed Ariel Pennybaker served her country proudly. She now carries on her late husband’s legacy…a home for the many returning, injured soldiers.

With her year of mourning nearly at an end, she’s had enough of her self-imposed celibacy. It’s time to get back in the game.
A chance meeting with a handsome WWI aviator has her imagining thoroughly naughty thoughts. When a second man walks into her life, her naughty thoughts turn downright decadent. What better way to fulfil her fantasies than by sharing both men’s beds.
As tempting as the idea is, Ariel has a huge secret, one she must protect at all costs. And, it’s possible one or both of her lovers is not what he seems. 

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1 comment:

M.J. Schiller, Romance Author said...

Way cool that your grandma was a "Hello Girl," and that you were able to craft a story from the contents of a shoe box. I just loved hearing that story. I also love the woman chosen for your cover. She has a very devilish look in her eye that seems appropriate considering what she is up to! Thank you for writing a story to take us away from our everyday routine for a while!