Let me introduce myself. I'm Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, romance author. My 18th novel just released from Rebel Ink Press, my 7th title with Rebel and it's also my first full length historical romance. In The Shadow of War is a story close to my heart - poignant, beautiful, tender, and tense.
One of the most frequent questions I field as an author is how I come up with ideas. For me, there’s always a story behind the novel. Sometimes they’re personal and often they’re not. My latest release, In The Shadow of War, from Rebel Ink Press is my first full length historical romance. The time period is World War II and the physical setting is southwest Missouri where I now live. Camp Crowder, an actual Army training post, is pivotal to the story. Although the actual Army post deactivated in the early 1960’s, the military heritage continues with part of the original location serving as a Missouri National Guard Training Facility. A community college, the local Y, several industries, and more cover the space once home to Army soldiers and staff. Much of the once large post has also reverted to the wild, to the forests and the now overgrown fields which were once farms.
After moving to the Ozark region from the opposite end of the state, I attended classes at Crowder College. I wrote for the campus newspaper and penned a series of stories about the transition from Army camp to college. History intrigues me and I can get caught up in imaging the past. The premise of a local girl falling for one of the soldiers at the camp simmering in my brain for a long time and last year I sat down to write the tale. I chose to begin it in a contemporary setting, as an old woman remembers for her great-granddaughter, then tell the story as it unfolded.
Here’s the blurb for the novel:
Her great-granddaughter wants to know if Bette remembers World War II for a school project and her questions revive old memories….
Small town school teacher Bette Sullivan's life was interrupted when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 but her world changed forever when she met Private Benny Levy, a soldier from the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York stationed at Camp Crowder, the local Army base.
Their attraction is immediate and mutual but as their relationship grows their love and lives are shadowed by World War II. As the future looms uncertain the couple comes together with almost desperate need and a powerful love they hope can weather anything, including the war.
And here’s a short excerpt from the prologue:
Dainty African violets bloomed in the window sill despite the weather outside. Snow fell at a fast, furious rate blanketing everything with white. On any other Sunday afternoon Bette might’ve dozed, settled into her favorite corner of the couch, listening to some old black and white classic movie, but today she’d willed herself to stay alert. Across the room, one of her great-granddaughters, April or Allie or something with an A, waited with pen poised to paper. She awaited the answer, but Bette just couldn’t quite recall the question.
“Tell me again, honey, what you need to know for school,” she said.
Ariel. She remembered now they’d named the kid for a mermaid in some Disney film.
The girl sighed. “We’re studying World War II in history and we’re supposed to interview an elderly person about what they remember. Do you remember World War II?”
“Of course, I do,” Bette replied, a little stung by the precocious question from a girl who might be sixteen. Maybe she couldn’t always remember what she ate for breakfast or the name of the building’s maintenance man, but she recalled the past with amazing clarity. “What about it, exactly, do you want to know?”
“Like, I don’t know,” Ariel said with a flip of her abundant hair. “My history teacher just said to ask. I’ve got to write a paper about it so just tell me something you remember about it. Did you know any soldiers or anything?”
“I did. There was an Army training camp in the small town where I’m from in Missouri,” Bette said, her mind drifting back across the country and over the years. “Your grandpa, no, I guess it’d be your great-grandpa, served in the Army and it’s where we met.”
“Cool,” Ariel said. “So tell me about him.”
Bette focused on the old sepia photograph of her husband on the wall above the television, the one where he wore his full dress uniform. Beside it, the photo of her sitting in front of him just days after their wartime wedding reminded her of those days. Memories rushed into her mind, heady and full-bodied like fine wine. “Okay, but Ariel, I have to start at the beginning.”
“When?” the teen asked as she picked at a broken fingernail. “Don’t go all the way back to the dark ages, please.”
For a moment Bette debated on whether she should slap the girl or not, but remembered most people frowned on such things today. “It all started the day America got into the war, Ariel, on December seven, nineteen and forty-one, a day that will live in infamy.”
“Pearl Harbor,” Ariel said, with sudden interest. “Yeah, I remember that from class.”
“Good,” Bette said. “Now hush and I’ll tell you about living it.”Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/k8anriKBuTU
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