ewein2412: (verity text)
I wrote this 15 years ago today - before I'd learned to fly, before I'd written anything other than The Winter Prince, ten years before I wrote Code Name Verity. We hadn't been in Scotland for a full year. It seems appropriate to share it this week, 75 years on from the Battle of Britain.

We went to the Leuchars Airshow yesterday. It was fun - Sara went on a bunch of fairground rides, we watched lots of noisy flying displays and incredible team aerobatics, Mark and Sara took turns in the backpack. But the best part was after we left - old Lancaster bomber, a Hurricane & a Spitfire swooping in and out of the air show. They kept making these long circles, parting and coming together again, over the golden stubble of the mown corn fields, in the long northern afternoon September light. No sound but twittering birds and the low whirr and chug of the aeroplanes, swooping low over the yellow fields, the old warriors, the survivors, remembering sixty years ago.

"...and the old men still answer the call
But year after year
the numbers get fewer...
Someday no one will march there at all."

But this, I think, we should not forget. It scares me that we may forget.

-E Wein, 17 Sept. 2000

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Leuchars Air Show, 2010

ewein2412: (e Wein)

It’s been a couple of weeks since our trip to Dorset, and I am a lame blogger. So here’s kind of a photo essay to give you a taste of the highlights.

The trip was Sara’s idea. Apparently she is a dinosaur fanatic and has always wanted to see the Jurassic Coast. The Jurassic Coast, FYI, is a World Heritage Site of 95 miles’ worth of coastline in southern England boasting an amazing amount of geological cross sections and fossil remains. It’s been noted by geologists and palaeontologists for about 200 years. This was not a very organized holiday for us (like we are ever organized, um), and we planned it very quickly, and it was great.

Cut for many pics )
ewein2412: (queenie as WAAF)
On women's roles in wartime and the writing of CNV, over at the Daily Fig on figment.com. It was an inspired idea to write this from V's point of view, but OH. MY. GOD. How I wept over that final paragraph while writing it. Thank god for ball point pens.

ewein2412: (mini carte d'identite)
Thank you to all those who have sent me links to obituaries for Raymond Aubrac, the French Resistance leader who died on Tuesday at the age of 97. Aubrac was much in the news yesterday here in the UK, but it was only while watching the BBC News at 10 last night that I made my own connection with him, which I thought I’d share. It was someone casually mentioning that he’d been rescued from the Gestapo by his “pregnant wife” that made me recognize him.

Here’s the story I know—Aubrac’s escape from France in early 1944, as told by Hugh Verity in We Landed by Moonlight (Ian Allan Ltd., 1978):

On the same night of 8/9 Feburary, [John] Affleck completed [Operation] ‘Bludgeon’ at his second attempt. They landed at their target at [11:30 p.m.]. The field was waterlogged and the Hudson [aircraft] was bogged while taxying back to the take-off point. Affleck had to stop the engines and call for assistance from the team on the ground and the passengers. They all manhandled the heavy aeroplane back to the take-off point and turned it into wind. It was trying to snow.

Once the loads were turned round Affleck started the engines but the Hudson would not move as the tail wheel had sunk in. They manhandled it again to clear the tail wheel. When this was done they found that the main wheels had sunk in up to the hubs so the engines had to be switched off again. A crowd of villagers arrived to help with the digging and pushing. The only French words the crew could muster was the navigator’s ‘Allez-hop!’

Some oxen and horses were then brought to the scene and hitched to the Hudson to drag it forward out of the mud, but they could not move it. At one point all work ceased as a German aircraft flew overhead. Affleck worked out that the latest safe time to take off would be [3:00 a.m.]. If not airborne by then the aircraft would have to be destroyed. He said to Paul Rivière, who was in charge on the ground: ‘If we have to burn the aircraft we’ll stick to you and run like hell for the Spanish frontier.’

He also decided that channels should be dug out in front of the main wheels so that he could taxi forward on the engines. This was eventually achieved. Meanwhile he had to stop the men from the Maquis [French Resistance guerrillas] removing all the guns and ammunition from the Hudson. Affleck attempted a take-off but could not build up enough speed and had to throttle back. While taxying back to line up for another attempt they were bogged once more, but this time managed to extricate the aeroplane quite quickly. He decided to take the minimum load and confined his passenger list to an RAF evader, one Frenchman [Aubrac], his wife and their young son. The man was a resistance worker who, under the sentence of death, had been rescued from a police van by his wife and friends. His wife had attacked the Gestapo in the van, tommy-gun in hand, when eight months pregnant. He seemed to be a nervous wreck. His wife was now within hours of giving birth. She just sat there in the mud.

At [2:05 a.m.], after they had been on the ground two and a half hours longer than intended, a final attempt at taking off succeeded—but only just. When very near the boundary of the field the Hudson hit a bump and bounced into the air at about 50 knots [quite slow for take-off]. Affleck just managed to keep it airborne, build up a safe speed and climb away. He had taken off with rather more than 15° of flap [helps in a short-field take-off but slows flight]. He was cold, wet and covered with mud from head to foot. After half an hour he realised that the Hudson was going very slowly, wondered why and realised that he had forgotten to put his flaps up.

He had no aerials left—they had all been broken off in the struggle on the ground. They found their way home without being able to identify themselves to the air defences of Great Britain. Eventually they landed at base at [6.40 a.m.]. The Hudson, covered with mud and ‘looking like a tank’, was greeted by the Station Commander, Group Captain ‘Mouse’ Fielden. A few days later Flying Officer J.R. Affleck was promoted to acting flight lieutenant and awarded an immediate DSO [Distinguished Service Order].

When he was describing this incident to me in 1975, John Affleck had two thoughts to add. Firstly, that, had he thought about it, he should really have flown all the way home with his wheels down. In the wisdom of hindsight, towards the end of his career as a professional airline pilot, he realised that there was a great danger of that mud-covered undercarriage becoming stuck or frozen up so that he would not be able to lower it for the landing at Tempsford. The other afterthought, looking back, was that he could have almost died of laughing at the struggles of the crew to communicate with the crowd of French helpers without any common language and that his main pre-occupation during this time was to stop these helpers damaging the Hudson.

The evader whom he brought back was Flight Lieutenant J.F.Q. Brough, of Carlisle, who had been with the Resistance since he crashed in France, in a 138 Squadron Halifax on 3/4 November 1943. In his letter to the author, Brough wrote:

‘As well as myself, we also carried Mr and Mrs Aubrac, two top members of the Resistance, and their young son. Mr Aubrac had been elected to the French Consultative Assembly in Algiers; Mrs Aubrac was nine months pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London the day we landed at Tempsford.’

This baby girl was named
Mitraillette (sub-machine gun).


Some of you may recognize the name Mitraillette. (I made an LJ post quoting some of this passage in March 2010, when I was deep in the throes of writing Code Name Verity: http://eegatland.livejournal.com/72287.html)

CNV linky

Feb. 12th, 2012 02:29 pm
ewein2412: (verity text)
collected all in one place, wow!


Last Monday's live interview on BBC Radio Scotland (no longer live):

Bookcafe page

Programme page for Mon. 6 Feb. (last day available!)

Podcast for Mon. 6 Feb. (available for 25 more days)


Blog tour posts:

Booktrust: On the theme of friendship in CNV

I Want to Read That: my personal encounters with wartime aircraft

Bookbabblers: Apparently I am their "author in residence" this month (news to me), so my footprint is all over this site:

My favorite books (oh brother):

Author interview (the osprey gets a mention):

On the inspiration for CNV:

Over at Finding Wonderland, Tanita Davis has essentially put up a CNV review every day for 3 days running:

On War Stories

I Don't Do History: the Case for Historical Fiction

Turning pages: review of CNV

Daisy Chain Books - on the real people who inspired CNV:

Booksmugglers - Literary inspiration behind CNV (I really like this post):

Booksmugglers review (they gush. I have refrained from commenting because it is rather overwhelming).

Scottish Book Trust - inspiration, work in progress, and Why I Live in Scotland:

if you hunt for it, you CAN find Verity's real name revealed on line (not in this review, despite outward appearances). Her real name isn't really a spoiler. But most people are treating it as one. I LOVE THIS.


Not part of the tour but fun:

Chachic's Book Nook: Nice review with a boatload of interesting yet spoiler free discussion in the comments:

Lovely and emotional review here at By Singing Light:

[livejournal.com profile] estara is auctioning a copy of CNV (with author-signed bookplate) in support of Con or Bust: Fans of Color Assistance Project here:


And Books for Scotland has chosen CNV as their Children's Choice of the Month. They're the ones who called me an "American born Scottish author"!


If you want to order it yourself and don't have an independent bookstore where you can go demand it in person, the Book Depository ships free anywhere in the world.



Set Europe the world ablaze!
ewein2412: (verity text)
My personal encounters with wartime aircraft on I Want to Read That:


(I am such a nerd)

Also do check out Tanita's rants/riffs on "war stories" and the term "historical fiction" over on Finding Wonderland, using CNV as a case in point:



last week

Nov. 28th, 2011 03:59 pm
ewein2412: (harriet writing (text))
I give you guys so little of how I actually work, and I would really like to do a better job. But I am just so darn disorganized. Here is an actual page (two pages, really) of text that I wrote last week. It is from the middle of what is kind of an unrelated sequel to Code Name Verity, with a fresh main character who doesn’t appear in CNV.

ETA: It has been pointed out to me that this picture ought to come with a spoiler warning. So: SPOILERS EXIST in this picture. If you zoom in and get out your magnifying glass and your decoding pen, a determined reader may find it possible to read this. And then you will wish you hadn't. (Now you will all be tantalized. I can't win. RANDOM ANNOYING SPOILERS! just admire it from a distance! I'm sorry.)

The bit in the middle of the right-hand page says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I was capable of writing in the CONVENTIONAL WAY - from left to right and top to bottom down ONE SHEET OF PAPER??

This page is making me laugh.

I bet that’s the last time this particular part of the story makes anyone laugh!

I went flying last Tuesday. I had a real flying lesson for the first time in FOUR YEARS, which is really too long. Time and money have been scarce and the local flying club has become more expensive and less convenient, and although I have renewed my license and kept my medical up to date, I just haven’t logged any hours.

Part of the “sell” for CNV is connected to my own authenticity, if you will, as a pilot, and with the publication date looming (6 Feb 2012!) I am starting to feel a bit fraudulent. So I decided I was determined to start fitting in at least one flight a month. Three weeks after I’d made this decision I still hadn’t done anything about it and November was beginning to creep away… Got to get some kind of motivation going. If you were an Air Transport Auxiliary Pilot, you were given a 2 oz bar of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate for every successful aircraft delivery you made. So I am rewarding myself with a Dairy Milk every time I go flying.

I am doing 2 things - going over all the handling and emergency drills with an eye to taking a test to get my "certificate of experience" up to date (my license is valid but not my certificate of experience), and I am doing it in a different plane (slightly bigger and more powerful, a 4-seater PA-28 rather than a 2-seater Cessna 152) to get a new "type rating." Unlike Perth, where I trained, Dundee has got actual commercial flights operating out of it from time to time, so it is a bit busier and more professional and I hope will help me build my ridiculously low radio confidence.

It should take me about 5 hours' flying to get the type rating and pass the test, and then I can rent a plane and go where I like and take passengers (ahahahaha).


Also last week was Thanksgiving, of course, and many whoopie pies were consumed:

These are vanilla. They are a lot like homemade Nilla wafers, so we don't bother with filling. Pumpkin whoopie pies were also available.

I thought people might also be entertained by these Evacuee Day photos... one of me and my boy, and one with fellow mad mums:

And finally, Mark’s Junior Brass Band won the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championship on Sunday. He plays trumpet. I am very proud of them!
ewein2412: (verity text)
[closed to comments due to Spam attacks!)

Mark's class is more deeply embroiled in World War II than I am. When their teacher played them a sample air raid siren they all spontaneously dived under their desks (because Mark's class is LIKE THAT). Today he brought home from school this note:

On Thursday 10th November we are having an Evacuee Day where the children will have the chance to step into the role of an evacuee for the day and experience some of the thoughts and feelings they may have had... your child [may dress] up in the part and bring a small case. Your child could also bring a more traditional lunch (jam or ham sandwich, carton of milk, biscuit and piece of fruit). If any of you are available to give an emotional farewell at approx 9am on Thursday that would be great. We are also in need of a few adults to pop in and act as a host family to "select" children.

Sara: You have to be the one that takes all the left over kids with nits that no one else wants, you know.
ewein2412: (Harriet LOL)
This is my birthday present from Amanda.

Basically, in the war of The Diddy Things, she wins. Although Sara’s comment was, “You are both as bad as each other.”

It made not be as blindingly obvious to everybody as it is to me that these are the heroines of Code Name Verity. It all arrived in the mail yesterday and it was like the scene in A Little Princess where they open The Last Doll. The room was in CHAOS as we unpacked everything. “Oh!” cried Ermengarde, darting forward, “she has got an opera glass in her hand - a blue and gold one!” … only in this case it was a gas mask, or a pair of aviator goggles, or a row of hairpins on someone’s tiny pajama pocket, or seamed stockings…

I can’t possibly do any of it justice in a couple of photographs but I do need to point out that the coats and flying jacket are FULLY LINED, and the gas mask bags are exact replicas of the 1940 ones I bought for us off eBay, and there are pockets in the coats, and their duffle bags are printed with their surnames. Beneath their clothes they are wearing tiny undergarments which I won’t show you. (Bear in mind that Amanda is the woman who once made me a John Constantine doll complete with earring, packet of Silk Cut cigarettes, and a tattoo of a tree on his bum).

Amanda says she found the patterns on eBay and etsy… then she had to go and do all the same research that I did about the ATA and the WAAF and the Special Operations Executive. As a result of this project her 5 year old daughter now has Barbies, because as Amanda’s partner pointed out to her, “You can't play with them and not let her…” And she adds that there are some scary people out there if the websites for 1/6 scale war time items are any indiciation. "There are all these WAR men dolls and websites for grownups... that is where I found the goggles and the map bag.”

ewein2412: (verity text)
I have a new website. It is really just a cheap-and-cheerful google website. But I needed something a little slicker looking, I think, than the old one, which was put together in WORD for pete’s sake. And also something I can update more easily. So. It is not the shiniest site on the planet, but for now, it will do the job.

It is here.

“Make do and mend,” ahahahahahaha!

This is the House of World War II at the moment. I am struggling to write a book about V1 bombs and the Ravensbrück concentration camp (*cough cough cough*) (why do I choose such light, easy topics?), and Mark is deeply immersed in his World War II unit in school. They have all made gas masks. Apparently, the first time their teacher played them a recording of an air raid siren, they all spontaneously dived under their desks (because Mark’s class is LIKE THAT).

Here’s me, sitting at the dinner table reading a document entitled “V-1 (Flying Bomb).” Here’s Mark: “That looks like a doodlebug.” OMG HOW IS MY 11 YEAR OLD ABLE TO RECOGNIZE A FIESELER FI-103???

And of course the Gatland household has for the past two years lived under the wing, as it were, of Code Name Verity.

Is it TWO YEARS already? I started writing it in October 2009. The UK edition comes out on 6 February 2012. I have permission to post the UK cover on my website, so I’ll post it here, too:

The US and Canadian editions come out in May 2012. There are separate publishers in each country.

The book I am writing now is hard work. CNV was easy. I feel kind of like I am writing a “second novel” all over again, ten years after I wrote my second novel.
ewein2412: (verity text)
WHEN Code Name Verity is made into a movie, I really want The Manuscript to play Itself. OH such an ongoing tale of battles won and lost! But the Official Secrets Act (if not actual professional integrity) prevents me from publicly giving out any details. The war's not over yet.

meanwhile I continue to vent my frustration in creating equipment for Very Small Spies.

Escape maps were made of silk because it was more durable than paper, you could fold it in your pocket, and it didn't make a noise when you unfolded it. These are printed on cotton, though. The one on the left is southern France c. 1940, and the one on the right is France/Belgium/Holland upright and the Pyrenees upside down, c. 1943.

ewein2412: (verity text)
the last lot were english. these are french.

I failed to include anything to give a sense of scale here, but the box of cigarettes is 2x3 cm.

I feel sure I'm in the wrong line of work, but I don't know if my true calling is with Mattel's accessory dept. or as a counterfeiter.
ewein2412: (verity no text)
I feel fairly confident that I would get A LOT MORE WORK DONE if I were shut in a room for nine hours with paper and ink and my ankles tied to my chair.

But since I am a free woman, I have spent the past hour making extremely diddy WAAF accessories. AMANDA I BLAME YOU.

(the cigarettes were fun, but the lipstick was INSPIRED)
ewein2412: (verity text)
We have victory in Europe! (I did put "Fix Vichy France" on my to-do list earlier this year, didn't I?) Code Name Verity has got a British publisher.


On a related note, the New York Times obituary for the incredible Eileen Nearne is considerably more level-headed than most of what I've seen in the British press. Amazing no one knew who she was. I recognized her face and name immediately when they turned up on the front page of the [London] Times last week, but then, I had just finished reading A Life in Secrets and The Women Who Lived for Danger.

The Gestapo is so much scarier than the Undead. I'm just sayin'.
ewein2412: (E Wein age 7)
I put this project on hold 9 months ago because I couldn't find any 3x3 inch frames that cost less than £40 each. Today, in my neverending quest for ancient ballpoint pens, I came across a couple of vintage frames EXACTLY the right size, in the Dog Shelter Charity Shop, and they cost 30 p each (about 45 cents). So now I am inspired to post the pictures here, too. This is Gramma and Grampa in, I believe, the summer of 1959, which makes them 43 years old. My age (actually, a little bit younger).

I have 2 comments:

1) I have not been able to hula hoop since I was about 25. Gramma is amazing.

2) My grandfather was the HANDSOMEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

I am sure he is drinking a gin & tonic and reading the New York Times Magazine.

At the same time I scanned these photos I also did this one:

This was taken in 1943. It is four generations of Saylor/Berger women. The baby is my mother, Carol. Gramma is on the left, at 27. Next to her is Rosie, her grandmother. Gramma's mother, Mae, is on the right.

I love love love this picture.


when I showed it to my brother-in-law, the first question he asked was, "Where are the men? Are they all at war?" In fact none of them are at war. I come from a family of draft-dodgers on both sides, although to be fair to my grandfather and great-grandfather, etc., most of them were way too old to be going to war, and my grandfather was a minister. He applied for his army chaplaincy a bit too late to actually have to go. My brother-in-law's comment: "Well, he should have done it 5 years earlier when the war started, shouldn't he?"

I smiled sweetly. We are AMERICAN, after all.

God's truth, I HADN'T MENTIONED THE WAR. I don't go LOOKING for these fights.
ewein2412: (e vane)
finished Code Name Verity this weekend. Am a bit of an emotional wreck. As the paternal interrogator says to the girl pilot at the end, "Not quite out of the trenches yet, are we?"

I love this poster--I remember being fascinated with it hanging in a pub in Marlow (I think it was an original there) back in the mid-90s. I have had a postcard of it stuck on my fridge for the last three months or so. I know that the implication is that the girl could be working for the enemy, but the men talking over her head are just so much bigger and more powerful-looking than she is that all my sympathies are with the girl, always.

Thank you, o flist, for being so encouraging during the writing of this book, despite the fact that I never tell you ANYTHING about what's actually going on. There is a kind of unofficial Official Secrets Act attached to unpublished books, you know? But also, I don't like to get people all excited about stuff that's still years away from publication.

I will keep you posted, as I think it's the BEST DAMN BOOK I'VE EVER WRITTEN. though I may be a little biased.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (text))
OMG I could not write this book without Wikipedia. srsly

One of the simplest plastic explosives was Nobel’s Explosive No. 808, also known as Nobel 808 (often just called Explosive 808 in the British Armed Forces during the Second World War), developed by the British company Nobel Chemicals Ltd well before World War II. It had the appearance of green plasticine with a distinctive smell of almonds. During World War II it was extensively used by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) for sabotage missions.

I *do* remember what it was like to do research in a library because that is how I researched A Coalition of Lions. And one of my worries in moving to Scotland (ten years ago) was that I would be leaving the Bodleian and British Libraries behind. But, but... the tortuous process of making a list of things you need to find out: Weight limit on a Westland Lysander, type of plastic explosive used by SOE, when was the fountain pen invented and what did you call it back then, what is the literal translation of "funkspiel"... Those are some of the things I've googled in the past 2 days. Hours and hours of library work, those would have taken, and chances are there wouldn't have been any books about Lysanders there anyway and I'd have had to order them through interlibrary loan.

Which is not to say I don't still use the library, because I have been using the local library more than ever for more general things like the wonderful Hugh Verity (his name is a coincidence) book We Landed By Moonlight about RAF Special Duties ferrying British agents into and evaders and refugees out of Occupied France, and the World War II Day by Day book. Perth and Kinross Libraries also publish their *own* books, an excellent thing for a local library to do, such as The Easy Trip, a local boy's account of parachuting out of his shot-down Lancaster bomber and having to be hidden by the French Resistance for 2 months.

We Landed By Moonlight is an AWESOME book, by the way. An excerpt:

Having dragged the airplane out of the mud with a team of oxen and horses, the pilot...

decided to take the minimum load and confined his passenger list to an RAF evader, one Frenchman, his wife and their young son. The man was a resistance worker who, under the sentence of death, had been rescued from a police van by his wife and friends. His wife had attacked the Gestapo in the van, tommy-gun in hand, when eight months pregnant. He seemed to be a nervous wreck. His wife was now within hours of giving birth. She just sat there in the mud.

At 0205, after they had been on the ground two and a half hours longer than intended, a final attempt at taking off succeeded...

Mrs. Aubrac [the wife of the resistance worker] was nine months pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London [that day after landing]. This baby girl was named
Mitraillette (sub-machine gun).

ewein2412: (i disconcert myself)
Mostly for [livejournal.com profile] tiboribi, but as I was typing it up I thought that other people might appreciate some of this too!

I made up, but did not write, an epic World War II story when I was twelve. My diseased pre-teen brain devoured SO MUCH Holocaust literature that I was very surprised at myself when I produced "Something Worth Doing," a World War II story set not in the concentration camps or among the French Resistance, but in an operational squadron of fighter pilots.

(incidentally, my high school French teacher was a former Résistante--my French class was ALL OVER the French Resistance. Here she is:



BTW: I am VERY DISTURBED that when I google "Annette Berman resistance" the Number 1 hit is on a website called "white rule"--or something like that--and is a snide comment deriding her hiding and Resistance activities during the war--when she was a teenager, for goodness sake. What is up with THAT. I scorn to link to it but you can try it yourself if you're interested.)

Anyway, what I really wanted to share here were these notes about my GREAT WAR EPIC from when I was twelve - The Danes, starring lovely blonde identical twins Dani and Dana Norn, both involved in the Danish Resistance. Dani, the younger twin and my favourite, is the one who is captured by the Gestapo and tortured and ends up in a concentration camp. Dana, the older twin, escapes to neutral Sweden with her boyfriend.

You can see the little gears going in my head already. (Sometimes I think I really should be writing manga.)

Earlier this year I dug out my folder of The Danes memorabilia and it is…amazing. And frustrating. The written storyline amounts to not more than 200 words total, but includes a moment where Jason Frank (the Nazi inquisitor!) and Dani Norn stare into each other's eyes and see mutual understanding reflected there--also a vignette from Frank's p.o.v. where he realizes that Dani is more than his match. And I'm like… Dude, I was TWELVE, where does this come from? Because essentially I have just been writing the same story over and over all my life.

The lack of notation is hugely frustrating--it's like finding the outline for a novel by some dead writer whose writing you adore, and knowing she will never finish it. There is a supporting character with a made-up Frenchy-sounding name (Mirielle? something like that) who appears to be an Olympic-level swimmer and who swims around rescuing people--she turns up in a concentration camp shower room in her bathing suit (this is all in pictures that I did when I was 12/13, and no, I am NOT going to scan them!), hushing people to avoid notice. She also turns up, twice, leaping off a cliff (in her bathing suit) with a swarm of Gestapo in pursuit--then later is found senseless, drowned or not I don't know, on a beach somewhere. It occurs to me now that she is meant to SWIM TO SWEDEN to escape Occupied Denmark. Occasionally a boy, also in a bathing suit, accompanies her.

There is another female creature, I believe this one is called Terry, who appears to be 1) involved in Dani's betrayal to the Gestapo, 2) SCOTTISH. There is a hugely intriguing sketch of her, doing something with daggers, dressed in FULL HIGHLAND REGALIA INCLUDING SPORRAN. I am pretty sure she is committing suicide in the sketch, although in a fit of self-consciousness over the melodrama (and quite right too) I have gone through and labelled all the pictures with spurious mockery, confusing the issue and misnaming everybody. So this picture is labelled "Maggie knitting." But I'm pretty sure it is meant to be Terry, or someone, stricken with remorse over we-no-longer-know-what, stabbing herself in the heart. She appears to be standing on the porch of my grandmother's house! I feel sure that the tartan regalia is meant to be her final statement of stubborn Wallace pride. She always seems to wear a Touch of Tartan (at wrist and collar, for example) in the other pictures where she turns up.

I have forgotten who all the supporting characters are and kind of have to match a list of random names with random pictures. The best pictures are actually all of Dana and Kip (the elder twin and her boyfriend). I had forgotten that after they escape to Sweden Kip becomes a glassblower! See, even then all my characters had to have a Useful Skill.

I showed all these pictures to Sara. I was about her age when I made the story up. She was impressed at my so-called "research" (there was a map. I drew a map of Denmark and Sweden and the Baltic Sea or whatever it is, and discussed the pros and cons of setting the story in Elsinore or Copenhagen. I didn't know it was Elsinore then, but that's where I put it.)
Sara and I just about killed ourselves laughing over the picture where Dana realizes the war is over. She is surrounded by idiot smiley faces. Sara nearly died. We were both just rolling on the floor and kicking our legs in the air as we howled over this picture.

I remembered, looking at this stuff with Sara, that Kip is supposed to be Jewish! In the picture where Dana comes in from work to see a Christmas tree (she wears a peppermint candy-striped nurse's outfit, evidence of some of my other reading at the time. Also--note that she has a job too), behind the tree (I hadn't noticed this when I looked at it the first time) there are two menorahs. I do remember now how ridiculous it is that Kip--Christopher--has a Christian name. It took Sara to point out that his Jewishness is the reason it matters when his papers expire (they are terribly upset over this event in an earlier picture)--which precipitates their flight to Sweden. I'd forgotten that.

Sara has a little diseased brain too sometimes... occasionally makes rather brilliant suggestions for me to include in things I'm working on. She has asked to retain copyright to some of these ideas but allows me full use of the gorier ones.

(My children are both somewhat obsessed with copyright.)


ewein2412: (Default)

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