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  • Writer's pictureCat T. Gardiner

1940s Project Updates

Hi-di-ho, friends! It has been too long, and boy have I missed you, missed sharing with you my 1940s experiences held at the end of last year into this year. So many things have happened in my six-month hiatus from blogging, that I admit, it's been a little hard to focus on putting words to my recent WWII-era living history venues. All of which had been fun and interesting, experiences where I had to step out of my personal comfort zone yet I walked away with new confidence and determined to do it again! In fact, I'm already making big plans for an August trip to Conneaut, Ohio for its annual D-Day reenactment on Lake Erie. I'm planning my "booth" in my head right now but it's my desire to show event attendees a 1940s one-room apartment. More details will follow and possibly some snapshots when construction begins with my father.

Something else that has me tickled beyond measure is the progress I'm making on a new WWII-era novel. If I had considered researching and writing A Moment Forever a challenge, this new one beats it hands down. Apart from the weekly reading of new chapters to my parents, only one friend has laid her peepers on it, and so far ... so good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I go deeper and deeper into the research, but I am absolutely loving it and I hope you will, too. The working title: Codename Eva will change at some point but it does give a glimpse into the plot.

My visual inspiration for the hero and heroine is the actor John Payne and the gorgeous (relatively unknown) actress Cobina Wright, Jr. You may recognize them from the 1941 movie Week-End in Havana. Wasn't he a dreamboat? She plays a young, war-widowed socialite from NYC and he is - of all things - a talented clarinetist from Pittsburgh. Or is he? There is more to Carl Wilson than meets the eye during their acquaintance aboard the S.S Serpa Pinto headed to Lisbon in 1943. Oh, but there are sparks between them, even if "Evie" fights the attraction tooth and nail.

Now, here's the part where I tell my faithful readers some disappointing writing news. (Swallows hard.) Many of you have read my first WWII manuscript, written in 2011 as The Very Thought of You (TVToY) and posted in 2012 on a fanfiction forum as a Pride and Prejudice variation. It has always been the intent to publish under the name The Song is You, following several attempts to massively edit/re-write. However, after many discussions with my supportive publishing partner, my editor (who examined it time and again,) and, of course, my wise mother as well as my brilliant BFF, it's just not worthy enough (in this condition) to continue my attempts. Yes, it guts me to say that because it is SO dear to me! But it shows how far I have grown as a writer, now six years later. The bones, the foundation, the plot are all there with the characters I have fallen in love with, however the execution is mired with every novice mistake publishers cringe at. I would literally have to begin from scratch, and one day that may happen. This decision was HARD and humbling, but necessary. You, dear reader, deserve the best I can produce.

Recently, I attended a writing class and one of the main things the lecturer said to the audience was: Leave, exactly where it is, that very first poorly written manuscript hiding in your desk drawer. Do not attempt to re-write it. Move on; keep raising the bar and exceeding your abilities. Don't look back. While I don't know if I can ever give up the dream of The Very Thought of You making it to "the big league," I can say that other projects and other dreams are keeping my muse busy - and I hope you will enjoy the outcome!

THANK YOU to every friendly email and dm, every encouraging, hopeful word of anticipation for publishing this story. They will remain with me always. All those years ago during posting, a dear, talented reader made these renderings for TVToY when a scene touched her heart. I'd like to share them with you, so that it will keep my dream alive, yet help me to focus on the future and the possibilities.

Looking ahead, The 1940s Experience will be celebrating the one year book birthday of A Moment Forever on Memorial Day! Watch for a special giveaway and a new short story titled A Vintage Victory from my Memories of Old series. I'll be posting the links to my publisher's website for details!

Until then, my friends - KEEP 'EM FLYING!

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