The pictures brought the people I've loved and lost back in the bittersweet way only memory can. I love the pictures I chose of my parents. My father's signing a boxing contract. He was a trainer and manager at one time. Later, he was a horse trainer/bookie and a restaurant/bar owner who began life driving an ice wagon. My father was a survivor of the Depression. He would straighten nails to erect a new fence, and he never glorified the past. When someone would say he/she remembered when apples were a nickel, my father would quickly retort, "Who in hell had the nickel?" He learned early how to hustle and survive. Not much was left after his death, but when he was alive, we instinctively knew all would be well. My mother's in the slideshow, too, standing on Canal Street with her best friend Terry. They were so gorgeous and classy. I miss my parents so very much that it's sometimes like bile in my throat.
My most recent book is LOVE AT WAR, and the experiences of family members during WWII inspired me to write that book. The picture of my Uncle Willie in his Navy uniform brings back bittersweet memories. He began life as a merry prankster, loving women and life. He returned from the Pacific theatre a changed man, good-hearted but hardened by war. When I wrote the character of Nuala's brother George in LOVE AT WAR (www.redrosepublishing.com and Amazon), I initially didn't think that he would play such a huge part in the novel, and after I'd written a substantial amount of it, I realized I'd recreated my uncle in George. Not that Willie's experience mirrored George's, but he was a man like George--wild, daring, and brave. In the novel, George becomes as much a hero as Nuala and Keith. The picture of my Uncle Russell standing with his wife and baby rends my heart whenever I see it. I never met Russell. In fact, his only daughter doesn't remember him because he never returned from Germany. His wife was a widow at twenty-three, and their passionate letters to each other are more moving than any novel. His experience also doesn't simply mirror what happens in my book, but the spirit of these people permeates the book. The spirits of these people surrounded me as I wrote.
Those pictures, however, are my past. I had to find myself in the midst of genetics and family lore. Following the road of my own destiny is a long one, and I'm know I've not finished the journey. Th slideshow also contains images of my trips to places like Ireland and England. I've forged fond memories of those places, an they will figure prominently in future, coming novels. Stay tuned!