When I first started writing this series, I began in the middle (without realising), the setting was Australia in the years when the world was recovering from the Great Depression, leading up to the time when the world was on the brink of what would become the Second World War.
Then I decided I needed to go right back to the beginning and write József and Anna’s story. A lot of this story takes place in a troubled times during World War I, exploring the lead up to the war and the effects that were felt worldwide.
When I first started sharing snippets of my writing a couple of years ago, one of my readers commented that my style of writing and setting reminded them of the TV series, Downton Abbey. As she was a fan of the show, I took it as a great compliment even though I had never before watched an episode.
A couple of days ago, I decided to give Downton Abbey a try, I know I should have been writing, but I was already up to date with Vikings, Game of Thrones and Outlander and needed another series to sink my teeth into. I’m already half way through the second season and I can’t seem to stop! Also, I think I now understand the parallels that my reader made between my writing and Downton Abbey.
Firstly, there’s the historic factor. Downton Abbey is is set in the years leading up to WWI and also during the war (what I’ve seen so far) and even though the piece I had written back then was set in the time leading up to WWII, the events of a country and world on the brink of war remain the same. There will be people who are enthusiastically patriotic, volunteering to fight for King/Queen and country and there are those left behind who pray that their loved ones will not be called up and that the war will end before it really starts.
Secondly, there’s the class factor. Downton Abbey clearly highlights the differences and the lines between the social classes and even though these become blurred during times of war, they are still ever present. Something that also plays a factor in Thomas and Rose’s story.
In my writing, I have needed to research life before war, during and after. Each of these elements play an important role in telling the stories of József and Anna, and Thomas and Rose. Each element is different and plays a different role in setting the scene and telling the story, but each element (before, during and after) has something in common though: those that are left behind.
When the country in on the brink of war, some people are enthusiastically patriotic and are the first to enlist, others are the first to leave before it really begins, but what about those who are left behind? What of them?
During a war, soldiers are off fighting, battles are being won and lost, but what about those who are left behind? Those who are anxiously waiting on news of their loved ones, hoping that it will only be good news.
After a war, when people are trying to rebuild their lives, when sons, brothers, fathers and other loved ones fail to return home or those who return as a shadow of their former selves. What about those who are left behind? Those who are left to pick up the pieces. Those who are left trying to figure out how to go on. Those just trying to figure out how to live again with the echo of war, of bombs and bullets and death and destruction constantly ravaging their mind.
We must continue to look back in order to remember the atrocities in our past. Even historical fiction can bring light to this.
WWII was the deadliest war in modern history, you think we would have learnt from this and WWI, yet their is still wars being fought in the world. Whether you believe these wars to be justified or not is not something I wish for you to answer.
What I hope though is that you take a moment to remember those who are left behind.
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). 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. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.