Friday, 17 February 2012
AFTER A DEATH - THE FOREIGNER
In my After A Death series I can’t overlook my romantic novel THE FOREIGNER. You see, although only my name appears as its author, I didn’t write this on my own!
Many years ago my grandmother told me that some day I’d be a writer. An ulterior motive was revealed when she added that she’d like my first book to be her life story!
Well, she had died by the time I felt equipped to fulfill her wish – and I soon realized I hadn’t asked nearly enough questions during her lifetime. So it was a simple decision to write fiction rather than a biography, besides which my imagination is too fertile for me to stick strictly to facts.
I still needed to do plenty of research, however, since my book begins in 1919 and ends in the 1960s. At times my research seemed endless and I often doubted my ability to complete the work.
But when my doubts occurred some really odd things happened – and these happenings kept recurring! Whenever I was stymied, help arrived …
Sometimes a word would come into my head – often a German word I’d never heard of – and I wouldn’t even know what it meant. But when I looked it up, it had the exact meaning of a sentiment I was endeavoring to express.
At first I attributed this, plus my vivid dreams and numerous other events to coincidence. However, there came a day when I simply began to say: “Thank you, Nama!” each time I was helped.
I have a cousin in Vienna who had lived in the Czechoslovakian castle where Nama once lived. After reading THE FOREIGNER Inge wrote to tell me: ‘It is uncanny how you describe the place and its atmosphere so well, never even having been there.’
I believe that my grandmother, who was strong-willed in life, was equally strong-willed after she died. She wanted her story told and didn’t mind that I was of necessity fictionalising it. So she prompted and prodded from beyond death to ensure that I didn’t give up on ‘her’ project.
Let’s end with these further observations on my love story theme from Inge: ‘Life behind the scenes in the Tavistock Theatre seems somehow genuine, real experience – a perfect blend of imagination and fact. It would be a great pity if this were not presented to a large reading public.’
So – did my grandmother help me write THE FOREIGNER? I leave you to read it and decide whether she did and whether there is life after a death.