|Anni Kircher with her daughters Uschi and Helga|
When we went to visit the remains of my childhood home, it was eerie in many ways, seeing what had once been the ‘safe place’ of my youth charred and gutted by flames. I couldn’t help but remember Chapter One of EOLYN, where my protagonist's village and home are consumed by fire. I thought that a curious coincidence.
Now, the death of my grandmother has me thinking about Eolyn on deeper levels. Last week on my livejournal blog I wrote a brief reflection about Oma Anni’s life, the courage and determination that helped her survive two great wars, and the stories from that time that have most resonated with me over the years. The trials faced by my grandmother in World War II – as a mother of two young girls, alone amid chaos – had a strong influence on me growing up, and colored my view of war and warfare in ways that I think are irrevocable.
I’d like to write a longer post on this at some point, but for the moment I’m too emotionally tired to think through it all coherently. Suffice it to say that I suspect Ghemena’s intense loathing of war, an attitude inherited by her ward Eolyn, somehow has its roots in these stories told by my family.
There’s another element here: Growing up among a family that knew the reality of war -- not so much as soldiers, but as civilians, as women and children – can have a tremendous impact on one’s world view. This was a situation that set me apart, I think, from many of the children I grew up with in the United States; and having had that experience, I now believe, helped me understand Eolyn in ways I might not have otherwise when the time came to write her story.
Well, that almost suffices for a full post right there. Unfinished thoughts, I suppose, are better than no thoughts at all.
Just a few announcements for this week:
On Heroines of Fantasy, we are discussing Villainesses and Anti-Heroines. Also, I have a special treat there: an audio-recording of scenes from my short story ‘Creatures of Light’. Please stop by to have a listen and join in our discussion.
Author Eliabeth Hawthorne has posted a new review of EOLYN for Adopt-an-Indie Month. You can read and comment on her review of EOLYN either on her blog Ermilia, or at the Adopt-an-Indie website. Also on the Adopt-an-Indie website, Eliabeth has posted an author interview with me, in which I talk about the challenges and rewards of writing EOLYN, and the advantages of publishing with a small press.
Signed copies of EOLYN, both hardcover and paperback, are now available at the Avila University Bookstore, 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO.
If you're curious to learn more about my grandmother’s life, you can read my dedication to her at my livejournal blog.
Wishing everyone a good week.