AMERICAN HISTORICAL NOVELS discussion

Time and Regret
This topic is about Time and Regret
6 views
Finding Inspiration for Time and Regret

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by M.K. (last edited Apr 08, 2019 06:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

M.K. | 42 comments As writers, we bandy about the word ‘inspiration’ almost as if it were an everyday occurrence. And at times, it is. But at other times, inspiration is as difficult to grasp as a low-hanging cloud.

Time and Regret was inspired by an innocent comment made to my husband during dinner one night in France and it quickly blossomed with the aid of a lovely bottle of red wine and the view of the harbour at Honfleur. That night the broad story arc took shape – but what prompted all the other moments of inspiration that followed? The street corners and village squares, character names and physical attributes, flora and fauna, streets and cafes, bits of dialogue, excursions taken and all the small details that anchor a story in a reader’s mind.

Thomas Edison said: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” To be very clear, I’m not claiming even one iota of genius, but I do understand the notion of perspiration. And unless you do the hard slogging of researching your story, fleshing out your characters, and deconstructing the story arc into chapters and scenes – the perspiration stuff – inspiration may never occur.

Time and Regret is a dual timeline story that combines a female protagonist living in 1991, Grace Hansen, with a male protagonist, Martin Devlin, serving in World War I. Martin is Grace’s grandfather. Inspiration: have Grace brought up by her grandparents and she will be particularly close to her grandfather and constantly at odds with her grandmother. Both protagonists need to be conflicted. Inspiration: something has happened to Martin during the war that he has regretted his entire life while Grace has recently suffered a nasty divorce.

There’s a hotel in France where Grace meets the charming Pierre. Inspiration: a hotel we stayed at during our trip to France. There’s a scene in a bar when Pierre and Grace enjoy a local beer. Inspiration: my son was in the beer business and has a passion for craft beers. Martin joins the 19th Battalion of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Canadian army. Inspiration: a friend loaned me a WWI diary she had purchased off eBay and from there I researched the entire record of the 19th Battalion. At the end of the war, Martin visits the Daughters of the Empire hospital. Inspiration: an extensive search for Canadian hospitals located in England during WWI. And so it goes.

Yup, ninety-nine percent perspiration.


message 2: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 189 comments Definately some work involved in writing this.


M.K. | 42 comments Dyana wrote: "Definately some work involved in writing this."

So true ... great fun too!


message 4: by Chelsie (new) - added it

Chelsie (chelzlou) | 83 comments Oh wow! I didn’t realize people see others diaries on eBay. That was lucky for you to get ahold of for research and it makes me kind of intrigued to look on eBay for these. But that is kind of sad that these are out there instead of with the family or in a museum. I always love when writers use diary entries in their stories.


M.K. | 42 comments I agree with you, Chelsie. Holding it my hands was such an experience - the realization that someone wrote in it day after day during the war made everything feel so real. Thanks for your comment!


back to top