A lot of people ask writers where we get our ideas. Here’s how I came to write my latest novel, Since You Went Away.
In 2008, my husband was on a year-long deployment to Iraq. Staying home on a Friday night, I happened upon a 1944 film on Turner Classic Movies called Since You Went Away. Produced by David O. Selznick and starring Claudette Colbert, it’s about a mom and two daughters fending for themselves on the homefront while the dad is off serving in World War II. The film is at once poignant, lighthearted, and somber. I immediately fell in love with the story.
Further research led me to the 1943 novel (of the same name) by Margaret Buell Wilder, on which the movie is based. Discovering Wilder had written the book in epistolary form (one of my favorite genres), I couldn’t help but fall even more in love with the story.
My first thought was, why has no one updated this story for modern times? Since You Went Away is an unusual kind of war movie in that it focuses completely on what’s happening with the family back at home. You could say it’s a war story without the war. I loved the idea of creating a modern-day story that gives readers an intimate glimpse of contemporary military family life in a way that’s accessible and—above all—entertaining. That’s what I set about doing when I started writing the four-part series in 2012.
(Parts One & Two are available now; Part Three will be out sometime this year. I’ll let you know when Part Four comes out after I get Part Three out the door!)
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