Rigorous Research

Hello Lovelies,

Well I’m excited to say that Lonely Hearts is really starting to come together! Even though I haven’t gotten past the first chapter, I have been doing copious amounts of research in order to find all the pieces of the puzzle. I have had to opportunity to explore the character of Rose a little more and also one of the supporting characters that has shaped Rose.

I have also shifted the time-line for the series, making Rose a little older when she meets Thomas and also bringing the series overall, closer to the beginning of WWII so the main story of Lonely Hearts is now beginning in February, 1935. This is now requiring even more research, as it is now three years later than the original beginning of Hearts Desire -the intended second book of the series, therefore shifting the entire series forward in time. Whilst I am still able to utilise much of the research I completed previously when beginning Heart’s Desire, I also must double check this research to ensure it is still valid in the time period I am focusing on.

I am also in the middle of researching Hungarian-Jewish history, I was at first thinking the particular character would have a typical Jewish-sounding name and speak Yiddish. How wrong I was! After much research I discovered that the Yiddish words I was intending to use were a different dialect to the one that Hungarian-Jews would have spoken (insert frustrated sigh here). So after trying to find a reliable list of Yiddish words in a dialect that Hungarian-Jews would have spoken, with no success, I went back to the drawing board. This is what I’ve come up with; the time frame I am looking at for this character is the time when Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the later half of the 1800s, the leaders of Hungary pretty much told the Jewish people that they needed to have surnames (as previously they did not) and become more “Magyarised” or more Hungarian. My husband (who is Hungarian, but not Jewish) also explained that although Jewish people were accepted in Hungary and they were allowed to freely practice their religion, animosity towards Jewish people was increasing due to their success in business (just one of many reasons), therefore Hungarian-Jewish people, although clearly Jewish and accepted as such, would often try not to draw attention to the fact that they were Jewish (if that makes sense). Thus they would often take Hungarian forms of Jewish names and speak mostly Hungarian and not a Hungarian-Yiddish dialect (insert sigh of relief). So thankfully, instead of struggling to find the correct Yiddish words, I am now free to use Hungarian words I already know and give the character a Hungarian name!

tailor scissor

Image from Flickr Creative Commons user trakygraves

So after coming to this conclusion through rigorous research and some “husbandly” help, I would like to introduce you all to József Szabó, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant and a sort of adopted father to Rose. The name József is the Hungarian spelling of the English name Joseph (a common Jewish name) but pronounced with a ‘y’ sound at the beginning and a more rounded ‘o’ sound, the surname Szabó, means tailor in Hungarian and my research has indicated that when Jewish people were forced to choose surnames they often chose names that reflected their profession.

József and Rose met when she was fourteen, shortly after the death of her mother. József is a kind man, who is of average height with dark hair, pale skin and dark brown eyes. He is a strong man, who looks much younger than his years, but his eyes show a glimpse of the devastation he has experienced. József is a peaceful man and left Hungary during the the first World War to avoid forced conscription. At first he was planning to flee to America and start a new life, but somehow he found himself, along with his pregnant wife on a ship to Sydney, Australia. József’s wife and their unborn child passed away during the voyage from complications of the pregnancy, something which József always blames himself for. To him, Rosie is the daughter he should have had and they consider each other to be their family. The fact that Jószef is Jewish and Rose was raised as Anglican does not impact upon their relationship. They have mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and customs, even going as far to learning about each of their religions and culture with József teaching Rose about Jewish customs and Hungarian language and traditions. József is the owner of a tailor shop, which Rose also works in. József hopes to develop a line of “off the rack” items for men and women to be sold in his shop, pulling his business out of the aftermath of the Great Depression and propelling it into the future – this is where Thomas comes in. József is a very perceptive and observant man, so much so that Rosie jokes that he must be a mind-reader.

Now I have a small excerpt in which József realises that Rose is in love with Thomas and that she is going to leave, despite her feelings of loyalty towards József.

Enjoy,

KK

“He loves you, I can see it in his eyes, the way he looks at you. The question is though, do you love him back?” I glanced up at József, hoping that my eyes would betray my thoughts and feelings. “Ah I see édesem, well I am not about to stand in the way of love. Go and be with him.” I desperately wanted to be with Thomas, my heart was telling me to go to him but my feelings of loyalty towards József, a man who had been like a father to me, were holding me back, “But József, what about the shop, who will help you?” He smiled his crooked smile and shook his head at me, “Édesem, you are not the only hard-worker in all of Sydney, although I will probably need to hire two people to do your job, but I will manage. Now go you silly girl, be with the man who loves you.” I hugged József tightly as tears filled my eyes, “Thank you, I love you like you were my own father.”  As József held me tightly I knew he was holding back his own tears, “And you édesem, are the daughter I had hoped for. Now go, before I remember you are one-of-a-kind and I change my mind!”  

*Édesem (click here for pronunciation) is a term of endearment in Hungarian, similar to darling or sweetheart in English

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Shades of Darkness

Flikr Creative Commons -Kevin Dooley
Flikr Creative Commons -Kevin Dooley

Hello Lovelies,

This week I’ve been doing some more work on Lonely Hearts and thinking a lot about the darkness in Rose’s past. I didn’t know exactly what had happened in Rose’s past, but I knew that it was something that had caused her physical pain, but more significantly, something that caused her emotional pain and affects the way in which she relates to other people.

You see, Rose is sort of a wallflower and she does what she can to not draw attention to herself. She is polite, quiet and compliant. Her beauty is understated. Rose is very unconfident and spends most of the time with her head held low, trying to drive away any attention. She does not realise her own natural beauty, which is much more than just her physical appearance. Rose is well-read and well-educated, thanks to the efforts of her mother, she is compassionate, caring, warm and loving. Yet, Rose is also afraid. She is afraid of those who wish to cause her harm, afraid of those who are aware of her family situation, afraid of those she does not know and trust.

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
Anne Frank

You see, there are different shades of emotional darkness, some shades are caused by loss, some are caused by abuse, some are caused from within. It is important to understand the shade of darkness within your character, without this understanding you are unable to understand how it would affect their lives and their interactions with those around them. In other words, by pinpointing your character’s shade of darkness, you will be better able to develop your character and understand their little quirks.

In regards to Rose’s shade of darkness, I believe I have pinpointed the source, now I am in the midst of understanding the exact ways in which this affects her and her interactions with others.

I’m about to share with you an excerpt from the prologue of Lonely Hearts, it does not reveal the shade of Rose’s darkness though, that’s a story for another time.

Enjoy,

KK

“Please, go away, leave me alone,” the fear and angst in her voice was clear, but her attackers were not. She knew she was having another painful nightmare, but she was unable to wake herself from it, she was trapped. She felt cold and alone, the physical pain caused by her attackers eventually healed but the emotional scars would never completely heal. They were hers to bear for all eternity, something which she would have to learn to live with.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Hello Lovelies,

Well you know how ideas and inspiration can come at some of the strangest or most unexpected of times, such as in some type of bathroom environment or when you should be sleeping? Well that happened to me this week, I was in the shower (of course) when it hit me, the reason I am still struggling with Heart’s Desire, even after changing the POV is because I have started Rose and Thomas’ story in the middle and I’m not entirely sure of what happened in the beginning!

Oh, the life of a frustrated writer! The more I thought about it the more it made sense, Rose and Thomas’ story is not one novel, but three it seems and I started their story with the second novel. After realising this, from my past experiences and my initial resistance to change (such as the time when I realised I started this WIP from the wrong POV) I’ve found it is best not to argue with my characters and have come to the conclusion that the only way to tell Rose and Thomas’ story is by starting at the very beginning. I don’t mean I’m going all the way back to their births (that’s going a bit too far), but back far enough in their story so I am able to understand the characters fully and the impact that their separate pasts have on their future together. As the story is told from Rose’s POV, I am going back to the time shortly before Rose met Thomas.

WP_20140914_003
Copyright The Writer Within

So whilst I’m starting at the beginning, the first novel at this point is a series of scribbles in one of my writing journals, in no particular order, but in case you’re interested this is roughly where I’m at:

  • Rose and Thomas’ Story is a series of three novels with working titles of Lonely Hearts, Heart’s Desire and Heart’s Content.
Copyright The Writer Within
Copyright The Writer Within
  • Lonely Heart’s focuses on Rose’s story, beginning at the point in her life shortly before she has met Thomas.
  • We discover that Rose has an interesting past that was filled with sadness, loneliness and longing to belong.
  • Rose is not a brunette (as I thought she was), she now has honey blonde hair, that is slightly red in the sunlight, blue/green eyes and freckles. Her appearance is important in understanding the perceptions she has of herself.
  • Rose is the daughter of a single mother, her mother was cast out by her family upon discovering she was pregnant.
  • Rose’s mother was a well-educated woman that wanted the same for Rose.
  • There is much Rose doesn’t know and understand about her mother and her family, but many of her questions about her mother’s past will be answered in Lonely Hearts, this is where Thomas’ wealth and connections come in handy.
  • Heart’s Desire will focus on Thomas and Rose’s story as a newly married couple and their move to England (including paranormal encounters with Thomas’ late uncle)
  • Heart’s Content will focus on Thomas’ and Rose’s story with the birth of their daughter and the unrest in the country leading up to the Second World War.

As you can see there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but I’m feeling quite excited at the direction that this WIP has taken. It just feels right and as I scribble down short pieces of dialogue and small excerpts of the story it’s all beginning to make sense, all these pieces are beginning to come together so I can start to see the big picture.

Copyright The Writer Within
Copyright The Writer Within

So now I leave you with a  few little pieces of writing that I’ve deciphered from my scribbles.

Enjoy,

KK

Yes, I have freckles, something which was always used as ammunition by those horrid boys. One day I cried to my mother, begging her to find some way to cover them up or better still, to rid me of them forever. She told me not to be daft, that freckles were something very special, “God’s Kisses” she had called them. She said they were there to remind me that no matter how bad things seemed, God would always be there for me and love me unconditionally -just as she did. She died three days later… I was fourteen

I’ve never given much thought to what it might be like to fall in love, but if I did, I imagine it could be something like this. This must be love because despite our faults, our weaknesses, the darkness in both of our pasts and everything and everyone seemingly against us, we’re still here together. Fighting for each other, fighting for us.

I can’t do this, I can’t keep trying to guess what you’re thinking or feeling. I just can’t do it Thomas! I don’t want to guess what mood you’re in and whether you are going to let near you or shut me out. You either let me in Thomas… Or let me go…

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fame and Fortune

Hello Lovelies,

Well it seems I’ve been reading too many Romance novels and one of my current WIP is becoming more Romance than I originally anticipated. I guess I’m OK with that as that’s the road the characters are taking me down, it’s the story they want me to tell, but I know that their story is more than a love story and I just hope I am able to portray that later in the novel as it is still in it’s early stages.

Something that is becoming a theme in this WIP is the widely understood notion that money doesn’t buy happiness. My leading man is quite well-to-do, stereotypical I know, but it’s an inherited fortune that has been built upon, not some stereotypical, rediculously young, self-made millionaire if that makes you feel any better. The point is that money cannot buy love, happiness or other warm and fuzzy feelings.

As I read of the sad passing of G.R.L’s Simone Battle and speculation that her passing was the result of suicide, we are reminded that having fame and fortune does not mean you will have a worry-free perfect life. People who do not understand depression and mental illness, cannot even begin to understand how someone who seemingly has everything going for them, could take their own life. The point is that we will never understand what they are going through, but most importantly we can support others by not questioning their actions, not by calling them selfish, asking them why or by telling them to get over it. We can support others by asking one of the most simple questions, “Are you OK?” I know I have written about this before, with the recent passing of Robin Williams and I don’t mean to go on and on about such a sensitive issue, but it’s important to bring these issues out of the shadows and remove the stigma.

I won’t even pretend to understand what people who suffer depression go through, I know I cannot even begin to imagine the darkness they experience, but something that I am trying to encourage through one of the main characters in my WIP is the importance of communication. Not only asking that simple question, but being able to talk about feelings without fear of being labelled as weak or other such terms.

I leave you with a brief excerpt from my WIP.

-KK

“Rose is not a girl, she is a woman and I am a man. It was my choice to court her, it was my choice to ask for her hand and it was her choice to accept my proposal. The choices we made were for love, not for social standing, something which you would clearly not comprehend, dear grandmother.”

I slowly let out a breath that I was subconsciously holding, I knew he would be at my defence, but actually hearing him say the words was a relief, something that reinforced his love for me.

“Did you ever stop and think maybe it’s not love that your Dear Rose is after?”

The fury inside me threatened to boil over, disliking me for my working class background and lack of social standing is one thing, but implying that I am a gold digger, only after his money is another. Can she not see how much I truly love her grandson? When we met I knew Tommy was well-to-do, but as I began to learn circumstances which led to his wealth, I knew he was not a man led by his riches. Tommy’s parents died during the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918, he was only eight years old and as their only living child, he inherited a substantial fortune.

“Dear Grandmother, I am not a boy any more, I am 22 years old and I am more than capable of making my own decisions. We are in love, we are married, we are a family and there is nothing you can do to change that. I also do not appreciate you implying that my bride is after our money. Rosie is an honest, kind and caring woman, such a thought would never enter her mind.”  I heard him turn on his heel and head for the door, I scrambled to take my leave, as not to let on to my eaves-dropping, but I wasn’t swift enough.

“Rosie wait, please don’t leave,” I heard the panic in his voice, even after promising to love, honour and obey this man, he was still so insecure. I took a breath and turned to face him, his face was etched with worry. He rushed towards me, wrapping his arms around me and lifting me towards him, “I’m sorry you had to hear that, please don’t ever leave, I can’t do this without you.” I looked up into his eyes as his mouth covered mine possessively. After a moment he pulled away, looking closely at me as if he was trying to read my thoughts, “I wasn’t leaving you, there is nothing that woman could say that would stop me from loving you.” He shoulders relaxed a little but a look of confusion was etched on his face, “Then why were you running away?” I felt the heat as my cheeks flushed, “I was embarrassed that I was caught eaves-dropping.” The man I loved gazed at me with passion in his eyes, “My dear Rosie, you’ve done far worse things than eaves-dropping on a conversation,” he purred suggestively.

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.