I launched this blog (such a dreadful word -- I prefer to think of it as an online column) in October 2013, to share some of the research I uncovered while writing my historical novel.
Since then, Wartime Wednesdays has taken on a life of its own. From a handful of subscribers at this time last year, the column now has some 500 subscribers and another 500 regular visitors each week.
One of the most interesting aspects of writing this column has been making new friends around the world -- from an architect in Alabama, to a fellow historian in northern England, to an aviation author in Edmonton, to a cranberry salesman in Toronto – I love to open my emails, and I’ve enjoyed corresponding with all of you.
My wartime novel Bird’s Eye View was launched at the end of October 2014, and sold out within a month. The second printing has now been released. Last month I made a book tour to selected locations in Western Canada, and met many Wartime Wednesdays followers along the way.
They had such similar questions, about both the book and the blog, that I decided to answer them here:
Will you turn Wartime Wednesdays into a printed book?
I hadn’t considered this before, but so many people asked this question that I plan to look into having some of my original posts printed into a book. It would help me, dear readers, if I knew whether there is any demand for such a product. Please comment below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I worked on it for short, intense bursts of time over a ten-year period – between raising my children and writing articles for Reader’s Digest. Then I put it away in a shoebox for several years.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I dug out my old manuscript and revised it, and sent it to Dundurn Press in Toronto -- the largest Canadian-owned publisher, and one with a special interest in history. Imagine my joy when the novel was accepted!
Who is the woman on the cover of Bird’s Eye View?
She is an unknown model, chosen for her compelling eyes. I worked with a graphic designer to create the cover, aimed at appealing to both male and female readers. This was quite a challenge! My designer included the woman’s face to appeal to women, and the iconic Lancaster bomber to draw the men.
I think the cover is a great success, since the book has received good reviews from both men and women. I love the way she is looking west towards Canada, and the bomber is flying east towards Germany. The background is a genuine wartime aerial photograph showing roads and bomb craters.
How many books have you sold so far?
I won’t know until I see my first royalty statement in May. I'm aware that most people are curious about the money (although they are far too polite to ask). So here's the thing: I make about $2 for each copy sold, and the remainder is split between the publisher and the book sellers. (This is a pretty standard book publishing contract).
So you do the math: even if my book became a best-seller (in Canada, that’s 5,000 copies), I would make only $10,000. You can understand when I say that writing books is indeed a labour of love!
But the response from readers is worth more than money. I must share with you this email I received just three days ago from a complete stranger, an American who borrowed Bird’s Eye View from her public library.
Hello Ms. Florence,
It's just past 2:30 AM in Denver where I live, and I just finished Bird's Eye View. What a WONDERFUL book!! I could not put it down. It's eloquent, fascinating, touching, heart-wrenching, educational . . . and on and on and on!! I absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for this treasure and I can't wait to read any future books you may write!
, Captain (Retired), United Airlines (female)
, Parker, CO
And are you working on another book?
The answer is yes – but hopefully you won’t be disappointed when I tell you that I’ve turned my attention away from World War Two. I’m delving into another aspect of our proud Canadian history – the tribulations of pioneer life. Nothing will change my keen interest in wartime, and I’ll continue to write about it in this column.
How on earth do you find the time?
Good question! I’ve almost completed the second manuscript, but it’s very demanding to write a weekly column and a second novel at the same time. Through painful experience, I have found the only thing that works is rigid self-discipline. My family, my health, and my writing are top priorities for 2015. My hobbies and social life must simmer on the back burner.
What can we expect from Wartime Wednesdays in 2015?
For the next couple of months, I'll be “recycling” some of my most popular posts from 2014. I know that many subscribers jumped on board during the year and may not have read all 62 previous posts. I’ll try to update these posts with new information, if possible. And to those faithful readers who have been with me since Day One, thank you for your patience.
I may not be able to write a new post every week. You'll still receive a Wartime Wednesdays email notification whenever a new column is posted – but possibly not every Wednesday.
Are you planning to visit my community in 2015?
On the radar are trips to Regina and Edmonton, Brandon and Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria. The only firm date I have booked so far is May 2nd, when I’ll spend the day at Mulberry Bush Bookstore in Parksville, British Columbia, where I have been invited to be the bookstore’s Author For A Day.
Watch my Events page on my website for more updates. You may also “Like” my Facebook Author Page, but Facebook isn’t very reliable about sharing information with people’s newsfeeds, so you must visit the page now and then to see what’s new.
I really look forward to meeting you, or hearing from you, in 2015!
STAR WEEKLY AT WAR
I chose this Star Weekly illustration because it demonstrates how sad and discouraged people were back on December 31, 1943. Even the New Year’s baby looks very disgruntled. This bloody, terrible war had already dragged on for four years, and there was STILL no end in sight.
We are so fortunate to live in a time of peace -- made possible only by the sacrifices of the previous generation. I pray that this peace will continue throughout my granddaughter Nora’s life.
Happy New Year, and all the best to you in 2015!