Friday, November 2, 2012

A Hurricane Hit My Writing Life -- Literally

Whoa. Hello again, dear friends and readers! I sat down at my computer today for the first time in ten days and marveled at how large everything was. After squinting at emails and Facebook and Twitter on my phone (quickly, to conserve precious battery power) for so long, a keyboard and 15" screen are positively luxurious.

Yes, our family vacation to Washington, D.C., and New York City metamorphosed right at the end into something more along the lines of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, thanks to Hurricane Sandy--no electricity, no water (for a day), no heat, no transportation--but fortunately we didn't have to eat my youngest (although her brother kept threatening her with it). We are safe at home, with continued prayers for those in New York and New Jersey who can't just fly away from such conditions.

Give me your poor, your tired--basically anyone in New York or New Jersey...
While almost zip happened on the writing front (I'm going to have a long, hard think to remember what my current WIP is), lots was going on on the book and reading fronts.

For starters, I read somewhere that authors should provide reading bonuses and freebies on their websites. Like fan fiction of their own books. Deleted scenes, additional scenes, updates on what's happening with characters now. While I have a couple chapters of an abandoned middle-grade book that feature Cass and Daniel of Mourning Becomes Cassandra, I've yet to post them. But in the meantime, lovely Meredith Esparza of Austenesque Reviews so enjoyed The Beresfords that she and I collaborated on an interview featuring Frannie and her four stepcousins. Great fun, and if you read and comment before November 3, you can win a Kindle or paper copy. (I know, I know, short notice--but see Hurricane Sandy excuse above.) I loved getting inside the Beresfords' heads once again.

Frannie also got considered by Laura Hartness, aka the Calico Critic. I appreciate all book reviews, and positive reviews send me over the moon, but what was more unusual about Calico Critic's review was that it treated on the Christian-y aspects of the book. Great to have her thoughtful consideration.

After our hotel (and most of lower Manhattan) lost power, and during the hurricane itself, I had plenty of time to sit in the hallway, where there was still generator-powered light, and read read read. If you've already read The Beresfords (or if Austenesque Reviews and Calico Critic don't do it for you), you might try Melanie Benjamin's The Aviator's Wife.

I'm a big Melanie Benjamin fan, having enjoyed The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb and having really, really enjoyed Alice I Have Been. So when I saw this galley available, I ran, not walked, to get my electronic hands on it. Benjamin's specialty, for those unfamiliar with her work, is getting inside the heads of intriguing historical people. In this case she chooses Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author, pilot and wife of Charles Lindbergh, whose Spirit of St. Louis famous airplane I just saw again at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Benjamin even talks about when the Smithsonian takes the plane and has the couple visit it later! As always, Benjamin writes poignantly and lyrically. This time about a marriage that begins with a most exciting and dreamy courtship and then plummets most solidly to earth in a difficult marriage. The hero Charles Lindbergh, a creature of the public's creation and worshipped by the young Anne, becomes an unbearable burden to the man Charles Lindbergh and to his family. Hounded by the press, staggering under expectations no one can live up to, they survive--barely. When their firstborn son is taken, the man splinters apart from the hero and neither recovers.

I thought Benjamin did a great job helping me understand why people like the Lindberghs might have been charmed by early Nazi Germany, but I did wonder if, in trying to salvage her heroine, she might have thrown Charles under the bus. Anne Morrow Lindbergh as presented by Benjamin pretty much distances herself from Charles Lindbergh's more controversial beliefs and actions from the get-go. When she appears to go along with them, she does so from an inability to stand up to him. But Benjamin also demonstrates how, despite his control issues and coldness, Charles Lindbergh compelled Anne into becoming more than she might have been, left to herself.

Fascinating, sad, thought-provoking--I would have had a hard time putting this one down even if I hadn't been trapped in a hotel hallway, trying to stay close to the only source of light and heat! 4 of 5 stars.

2 comments:

  1. Christina, have you read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's memoirs? She gives an interesting insight to those years of their marriage. Then their daughter Reeve's books continue the story along with Scott Berg's biography. I am somewhat of an AML junkie so I will be looking for The Aviator's Wife.

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    1. I've read GIFT FROM THE SEA and took a look at Reeve's book, but reading THE AVIATOR'S WIFE made me want to go on a Lindbergh binge!

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