Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Joan Leotta talks about researching "Guilia Goes to War"

Finding out about life during WWII was a labor of love since I love doing historical research.

The work for this novel is a bit different than for others since this one began as a short story. Y friend's actual event that inspired this was in the 50s. I set it during WWII(the short story) to honor the men and women of that era. My own Dad was a WWII veteran. I love the hairstyles, clothes and music of that era. I watched a lot of WWII era movies. To get the flavor of the era, I listened to radio shows at the Library of Congress a few years ago--that research was for another pieces of writing--a performance piece that I have given at several museums and other venues about life on the home front. So, I was ready with a file of information about life on the home front.

The internet was king for additional research since I now live in a rural area but I have made good use of memories of friends and relatives and local newspapers for Wilmington, NC . I also consulted several books on the war and mined the real experiences of people like my 92 year old aunt who told me some stories about sugar. I used the mock apple pie recipe that I found in one of her old books of clippings of recipes from the newspaper in other stories. I found it again on the internet and adapted that newer copy to this book. The recipe will appear in Desert Breeze's cookbook.

The spy story is my imagination inspired by stories of real life sightings of Nazi subs off the coast of NC during the war. Wilmington shipyard scenes were developed from historical research as were the scenes of rooming houses, and Castle Hayne.
The array of family relationships presented in the story may seem confusing at first but they were added into the original story for two reasons--to provide more depth for Giulia and her relationship with John and to introduce us to family members who will have starring roles in the other three novels planned for the series. The second one, already in progress, Letters from Korea "stars" Giulia's sister, Gina.

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