Book: Shards Of Memory - Oral History in a Heartbeat by Gail M Baugnietcategories: Book, Coming of Age, War, Role of Grandparents, Ruling Class, Surviving Tragedy, Famine, European Folklore, Permanent Disability, Racial Tension, Overcoming Grief, Immigration, Historical Fiction
Gail M Baugnietabout this book: SHARDES OF MEMORY Oral History In A Heartbeat tells a heartwarming tale about healing. Eager to assure their grandchild, permanently disfigured after a tragic accident, of the lasting bonds of heritage, each grandparent shares tales of ancestors' lives before emigration from countries of Europe, Ireland, or Quebec, Canada.
Inspiration for this novel came from a desire to know more about myself. After decades of researching my ancestors, I wanted to write about these people as a means of getting to know their thoughts and desires. But so much information about their lives has been lost to history. My final decision was to write a fictional account of simple life in each of their homelands of Bavaria, Prussia, Bohemia, Saxony, Belgium, Ireland, and Quebec, Canada, based on what I already knew.
My collection of research included fractured information gathered over the years from immigration records, marriage certificates, wedding announcements, obituaries, birth notices, and a few word-of-mouth stories mixed in with a bit of folklore.
The first draft flowed smoothly . . . joking! I did get the words on paper quickly enough. But it took two years to figure out how to structure the story so readers could easily follow the plotline. During that time, I continued my history and geography research of countries; learned how to tap a maple tree and dry a muskrat hide; enjoyed virtual trips up rivers and through castles; and relived European trips I had taken years earlier. With a logical story line, a touch of romance, and a bit of mystery laced throughout, I hoped to hold the reader’s attention to the end.
The hardest part of writing the book was deciding how to create the character that the story revolves around without making that character the center of attention. After much agonizing over why I ever chose to write this book in the first place, I believe I managed to succeed in that goal.
The final book cover and title were pleasant surprises for me. Late in the process, the working title and the working cover were both described to me by my fantastic critics as “fine” and that just would not do. Each final solution for cover and title presented itself to me when I had no idea what I wanted, only what I didn’t want.
After reading this novel, hopefully people will be encouraged to write their own stories, whether in novel form or memoir. I didn’t follow the rules or wonder if my choice of format would appeal to others. The story is first meant to entertain. But if something sparks the imagination of even one reader to record their story and keep it from being lost forever, all the better.
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