My latest work in progress began quite some time ago. I have always had a fascination of the World War I era and the ensuing Spanish Influenza outbreak—a pandemic that wreaked as much devastation as the war itself in some parts of the world. One could think endlessly on the parallels between man-made destruction versus the destruction of nature…talk about a battle between two colossuses.
In addition to my interest in the Spanish Flu pandemic, I have always had a great respect for the men and women who fought and worked in the first world war. I am completely in awe of their deeds. These men and women accomplished a monumental task with equipment and tools—both military and medical—that were in their formative stages and they did so in the worst of conditions. They endured hardships and circumstances we have not seen since and they did it so we could have the life we now enjoy.
I cannot comprehend the sacrifices they made.
I have worked with the elderly and have always been amazed at the wealth of stories and knowledge they have collected over their lives. It disturbed me to think we were losing the generation of knowledge-keepers from the first world war and an early pandemic experience. One could only guess what significant information would be lost along with them. I feared the disappearance of stories that told of gritty fortitude, determined sacrifice, and breath-stopping adventures. The stories of those who had served in the war and had survived the pandemic were far too rich and far too consequential for them to be forgotten. After all, those acts of courage form the underpinnings of what each of us have become. And, thus, I began doing some research, gleaning what stories I may—and there are a great many indeed.
The Light Attendant and The Bluebird (working title) evolved over many years, its beginnings tracing back to an anecdotal story mentioned briefly in the third book of the Shifters trilogy. My resolve hardened into firm research in the summer of 2019 when I mis-read a book title in some dyslexic moment of scanning a book store shelf too quickly. The title as I had read it stuck in my head, attached itself to my musings of WWI and the Spanish Influenza and turned those thoughts into a story. Over the summer and fall and into the next year, I researched the war and developed my characters and plot.
Timing is everything, as they say, and in March, 2020, I was re-deployed to the COVID Assessment and Testing Centre as our very own, real-life pandemic took hold of our country. I began a fascinating journey of writing about the war and the following 1918 pandemic as our own pandemic matched pace with my story.
It was an interesting year.
I have now finished the first draft of my story and have turned it over to other members of our Creative Collective for a first edit. I already know there are a few changes to be made—I thought of one addition at 04:00 one night, an occurrence with which most authors will be familiar. The manuscript will take a bit of refining, but I am excited about this work and wanted to begin sharing it with others.
Stay tuned for updates.