Chasing Inspiration

Hello Lovelies,

I know, I know, my posting schedule is still all over the the place, but this time I have a good excuse, I promise.

Last Sunday, instead of writing and uploading a new blog post as I was supposed to, I was busy chasing inspiration for the next part of József and Anna’s story.One of my best friends (the same one who’s help I sought to keep me on track) decided that seeing as though I was overseas when it was my birthday, that she owed me a birthday lunch and outing.

So Sunday was our girl’s day out and we decided to make the most of it and to chase some inspiration!

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.

– Dan Poynter

That’s right, I said “chase”. You see, sometimes the inspiration hits us like a brick through a  window. Most of the time though we have to go out in search of it, chase it down and grab onto it with both hands.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

-Jack London

So, last Sunday was my chance to chase a little inspiration in the city of Sydney, to immerse myself in the pieces of my characters’ world that still exist, over 100 years later.

Over the course of 100 years, so many things have changed in the city of Sydney and the city would now be almost completely unrecognisable to those who lived there a century ago. Yet, if you know where to look and if you look hard enough, there are quite a few small glimpses into the past.

I started my chase for inspiration in The Rocks, more specifically, at the Susannah Place Museum. This wonderful museum is located at 58-64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks and is a terrace of four houses built in 1844. The houses survived many changes in the area, including the “clean up” after the Bubonic plague and Spanish Influenza epidemic, as well as the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which resulted in many of properties in the area being demolished, in order to build the on-ramp for the bridge and so on.

The Susannah Place Museum, provides an amazing insight into a world since long gone. From 1844, when the houses were built, right up until the 1970s, Susannah Place transports us to different worlds, different times.

Photos taken with permission at the Susannah Place Museum, copyright Katherine A. Kovács 2016

With out knowing, we actually went to Susannah Place on quite a special day. Usually the museum is only accessed through guided tour each day at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm and the taking of photos is not usually permitted. However, last Sunday was an open day, where we were  pretty much allowed free reign of the museum, under the watchful eye of helpful museum staff positioned throughout the property and photos were very much allowed! The last time this occurred was over 2 years ago! So we definitely went on a good day.

I had come across Susannah Place when researching suitable locations when writing Thomas and Rose’s story (book two of the series). This book was then put aside in order to concentrate on József and Anna’s story. I am now up to a point though, when this location (that plays such a prominent role in the second book of the series) , actually makes its first appearance in the first book. I had seen a few photos of the museum and property, but there’s not too many of them out there. It would have mattered how many pictures I looked at though, nothing prepared me for the overwhelming wave of emotions that overcome me upon entering the property.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in the right place. Rooms I had never seen photos of before, were just as I had pictured them in my mind, I had seen my characters standing by one of the windows upstairs, looking out at the growing city. I had seen the wooden chest at the foot of their bed and the wicker baby basket next to them as their infant slept peacefully. I had stepped out of my world and for a brief moment I had entered theirs, the piano, the fireplace, the dresser, the brush, everything was just as I had imagined and the inspiration I was chasing, was mine to grab onto.

So don’t wait for inspiration to strike, get out there and chase it, grabbing onto it with both hands and never letting go.

I can’t wait to chase some more inspiration in the coming months, look out Holsworthy Army Barracks, Q-Station Manly and the other houses and museums of Sydney Living Museums, I’m coming for you!

 

Enjoy,

KK

© 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.

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Image copyright Flick CC user Marcelo Graciolli

Hello Lovelies,

This is a scheduled post because I currently do not have home WiFi until arriving back in Sydney.

I write this as I try to get everything that needs doing before our WiFi is disconnected in preparation for returning to Sydney. Of course I can visit a WiFi hotspot if I really need internet access, but with the soon-to-be absent internet, I’m beginning to realise just how dependent we have become on it.

Gone are the days when we ponder the answer to a questions for hours or days before heading to the library or asking someone more knowledgeable on the subject. Nowadays instead of getting frustrated with an answer that’s “on the tip of my tongue” but you can’t just quite remember, we turn to trusty Google and enter the most absurdly vague search terms imaginable and somehow still manage to find what we were looking for.

I cannot even begin to imagine writing a novel in the days before the internet, especially one which would require significant amounts of research, like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander for example. I have nothing but absolute awe and admiration for the writers who tackled their research without the modern (if somewhat overused) convenience of the internet.

I myself didn’t have internet at home until I was around fifteen or so and that was only the drearily slow dial-up version with the modem that made funny noises. Those noises will be something that the younger generations will never understand as well as the habit of clicking on the webpage you hoped you needed for your assignment and then going to make a sandwich while you waited for it to load. Now we become frustrated when the page fails to load the instant after we click on it.

As a society we have become extremely dependent on the internet, we use it to research, to keep in touch with people, to watch movies, share photos, writing and everything else and to generally procrastinate and waste endless amounts of time. Any information we seek is at our fingertips.

The internet definitely has its uses, but often it is more of a tool for distraction than anything else. Whilst writing I often have several tabs open, researching and checking facts and details as I write, this is extremely useful. However I am also guilty of having Twitter and Facebook open at the same time, definitely a distraction and I would probably get a lot more writing done if I banned myself from social media for a while but it helps me to procrastinate.

I don’t let social media overtake my life though. Sure I have Facebook and Twitter but I’m not on there giving the world play-by-play updates on my life or trying to make my life seem more glamorous than it is. I’m on social media, but it doesn’t rule me.

Sometimes I think we need to take time to disconnect ourselves from the World Wide Web, time to be in the real world and actually experience life and see it through your own eyes, instead of through the screens of our smartphones or through the status updates of our friends on social media.

So get out there, go offline and experience the world the way it is supposed to be experienced. Make memories to cherish forever not status updates for “likes”.

Enjoy,

KK

 © 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
 

 

 

On the Brink of War

Hello Lovelies,

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.

-KK

© 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.

 

Withholding Information

“Every book contains a secret – even the writer doesn’t always know what it is.”
– Carla H. Krueger

Hello Lovelies,

After meeting my goal for the month of May, I’ve been on a roll and have even started working on this month’s word-count goal! I’ll probably start to procrastinate soon though and leave the rest until the last minute again, but at least I am actually meeting my goal each month, so get off my back!

Anyway, while I was searching for some inspiration for this week’s blog post, I came across the quote that is at the top of this post and it exactly described what I have been experiencing  lately in my current WIP, An Anguished Heart.

A few weeks ago I wrote the post, I Already Know What Will Happen discussing that, for the most part, I know how the story progresses and how it ends. However, no matter how detailed your plan might be or how sure you are of the details,the characters are constantly surprising you, letting you in on their secrets as the story progresses. Often, and more so lately, I will be writing a particular scene that I have already planned out in my mind (that’s where most of my planning is done, I always have good intentions of writing down a plan but it never really eventuates), but when I’m finished, or in the process of, writing it, I am completely surprised and find myself thinking, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”

Some people, perhaps non-writers, will question this. They will wonder how on earth we, the ones who are supposed to be telling the stories, can be surprised by our own writing. They want to know why we didn’t know all the secrets of our characters and of their stories.

You see though, in their questions and wonderings, they have already provided an answer. We, the writers, are the ones telling the stories, our characters’ stories. We know the direction the story is heading (most of the time anyway) but it is the details that we discover along the way, the secrets, the seemingly insignificant things that completely alter the sequence of events that you thought you already planned.

Which leads me to share another one of my favourite quotes,

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
― E.L. Doctorow

It’s true, no matter how silly some people might think it sounds, it is not uncommon for the writer to be surprised by the stories they write. Just like if we were driving in the fog at night, we know roughly where the destination is, just like as a writer, we know where the story is roughly heading. However, when it comes to the details, we can only see as far as the “headlights” allow, but you definitely can “make the whole trip that way”, without a doubt.

So I will continue to write, I will continue to be surprised by my stories, the details that are exposed along the way, the secrets that are revealed as I journey towards my destination. Perhaps one day, there will be readers that will be just as (if not more) surprised as I am by the secrets of my characters and the stories that they share.

 

Enjoy,

KK

© 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.

“Google” as a Verb

Hello Lovelies,

Last night, when I was in the midst of a futile attempt to fall asleep, my mind was going through the things that I needed to research for my current WIP. Instead of making a mental list of things to research, my train of thought was on formulating what I hoped would be the most efficient search terms to input into Google. I then began to ponder the use of google as a verb, Google (noun) versus google (verb).

How often have you heard the phrases, “I’ll google it” or “Just google it”? No one ever says “I’ll yahoo it” or “I’ll bing it” or even “I’ll alta vista it” does that one still even exist? I might google it to find out… Nope, according to Wikipedia, AltaVista was popular until Google came along, then it was brought by Yahoo! and eventually shut down in 2013. Thanks Google!

Somewhere in recent history, approximately in the last ten years or so, the name of the popular internet search engine Google came into common usage a verb and was even included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. Just like all verbs, the word is slightly changed depending on whether it is used in past, present or future tense, for example “googled” (past) or “googling” (present).

This got me thinking, not only has there been many words introduced to the English language throughout history, perhaps even more so in recent times, but also got me wondering how much of this do we need to take into account when writing historical fiction? Of course there’s the obvious things like not mentioning the name of any modern technology, in say, a 17th century novel. Yet there is much more to consider as well, especially if you want to attempt any element of historical accuracy. The work may fall into the genre of historical fiction, however there needs to be at least a certain amount of historical accuracy I think., especially if you wish to convey a certain world to your readers, a world of a different place and time.

I remember a while back (gosh it seems like a lifetime ago), I was working on a particular scene in Lonely Hearts and I decided it would be more engaging and believable for the character in question with a little coarse language. Just a little and nothing over the top. I wrote a paragraph, with the language included and then began to wonder whether the words I had included were even in popular usage in the early 1930s. I really had no idea how long the words had been in usage, certainly they had been around all of my life and I was guessing my parents’ as well, but were they used in the early 1930s? So I googled it (there’s that word again!) “The history of swear words” is one of my more interesting search terms and actually came up with a lot of useful information and some hilarious swear words from so long ago that not many people alive would have even heard of them, I certainly hadn’t.

The point I am trying to make, is that language -all languages that is, not just the English language, is constantly evolving, there are many words in use now that were not even conceived fifty years ago, twenty years ago, maybe even five years ago. However, as language has evolved and new words became common usage, how many words have been forgotten and lost over the years? No longer in use, so they cease to exist.

right word quote

So what does this have to do with writing historical fiction? If we want our work to truly represent the time period it is set in and to immerse our readers into a different time and place, then we need to find the right words. I’m not saying that the whole novel has to be written in “Ye Olde English”, if that’s what was spoken at the time, because that might become a little annoying and hard for the reader to understand. However, finding the right words is just as useful as ensuring you’re not using the wrong words – if that makes any sense at all. Ensure that the words that you use, are representative if the characters and the time in which the story is set, as this will help convey the time in which the story is set and what kind of world in which the characters live.

So as I go off to try and meet my word count goal for this month (I’m just over half way!), I hope that I am able to find the right words, if not perhaps googling it will help me or help me procrastinate…..

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

© 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.

The Length of the Journey

Hello Lovelies,

This week I have been busy researching a particular location that will be included at some point in all three books that will make the Hearts Series. After having such difficulty finding information on the location, I was lucky enough to find an entire non-fiction book devoted to the history of the building, which I discussed in last week’s post. Since the book arrived on Wednesday, I have been busy devouring page after page as it describes in great detail the appearance of the building, right down to the type of wood used for the door frames and the material used for the cornices! I really feel as though I didn’t actually find the book, but the book found me!

The amazing book by Carl Ruhen that is providing great insight to a building that is long-gone.

The amazing book by Carl Ruhen that is providing a great insight into the magnificent building of a by-gone era.

“The Australia had a grandeur but it did not seek to exhibit flash magnificence. It breathed exclusivity, but it was never snobbish.” – David McNicoll cited by Ruhen (1995)

The more I explore Thomas and Rose’s world, the more I am coming to grips with the great length of time this journey will take. As I have mentioned, Thomas and Rose’s story will be detailed in a series of three books, currently called the Hearts Series. Lonely Hearts, which I hope to complete the first draft of this year, details the early days of their story – the first time they met and the trials and tribulations of the early days of their relationship. I already have all three books planned out (mostly in my head) but the actual writing of the story, the dialogue and filling in the plot holes is what takes time over the next few years, I hope to have the entire series written and published as eBooks, hoping to have Lonely Hearts published in late 2016. I realise that I am in for the long haul, this journey I am on is not one that can be shortened. The journey towards publishing my first novel and the remainder of the Hearts Series, will not be without difficulty and I still have so much more to learn in order to get to the stage of publishing, but as I journey further, I am learning so much more, my confidence in building and (I hope) my writing style is improving. I was looking back over my posts and writing since I started this journey and I almost cringe at the inaccuracies and faults in my writing. I’m not going to delete them though, I will leave them there as a reminder of how far I have come on my journey to embrace the writer within, as a reminder of the progress I have made with Thomas and Rose’s story and as a record of the conscious steps I have taken towards my goal.

So, here’s to progress, first drafts, magnificent locations and The Plan.

-KK

…Thomas then climbed out of the car, walking around to meet me as Johnson opened my door. Offering his hand, I took it thankfully as I tried to climb out of the car as gracefully as possible, careful not to trip on the length of the dress or stumble sideways in my new shoes. Once I carefully balanced myself on the path, I took Thomas’ arm and looked up as The Australia Hotel, Sydney’s most luxurious and elegant hotel, stood proudly in front of me.

© 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.

Some People Just Don’t Get It

Hello Lovelies,

This week has been another amazing one! Unfortunately I’m about 1000 words shy of my word count goal for the month of January and I’m sure those who know my tendency to procrastinate will be surprised that I even got that far!  Even though I didn’t reach my word count goal for the month, I have made some great progress with Lonely Hearts during January. Last week I posted about my progress in the development of two new characters, that you can read about here if you missed it.

This week I’ve had three quite amazing things happen. Firstly, I have been having some difficulty in finding information on a particular location I wanted to use in Lonely Hearts. Unfortunately the particular building no longer exists and even though it was once a symbol of prestige, luxury and elegance in Sydney that was recognised worldwide, there is very little information available which describes its appearance. Despite this lack of available information, I was determined to use the building as a location as it was exactly the type of location I was needing for the particular scene. After searching far and wide (on the internet) I came across a non-fiction book on a library database that was completely devoted to the history of the building I was researching! Imagine my excitement that after months of searching and finding no more than a paragraph of information, to then come across a book with 136 pages completely devoted to the location! Then came a bit of a hurdle though, the library it was located in was located about an hour drive from me and was in the reference section, so I would not even be able to take it out on loan. So after copying down the publication details of the book, I actually found a copy for sale on ebay for less than what it would have cost me in fuel to drive to the library! The book should be arriving on Tuesday in the post, I cannot contain my excitement, even my husband was subjected to about 40 minutes of me excitedly telling him what I had found and precisely why it was so important that I get this book. I also get the feeling that he was actually listening while I excitedly told him how amazing it was, that after months of searching, I discovered something that I felt would help take the location in the novel off of the page and into the minds of my readers, helping them to picture the scene in exact detail.

Another amazing thing that has happened this week is the overwhelming support and amazing connections I am making through Twitter. I joined Twitter just over a week ago, after wanting to follow one of the independent authors I came across in my reading – Shelly Thacker whose work I posted about a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have been completely overwhelmed and amazed at the amount of followers I have (189 and counting!). Many of my followers are fellow writers and published authors who have even offered words of encouragement as I continue my journey to embrace the writer within and to write my first novel. Hopefully no one is out to pinch my ideas though! What I am beginning to discover is that when one enters the world of writing, they are also entering a new community. It is amazing at how quickly you begin to enter this community with the help of the internet. We really are living in a technological age, where the internet is helping us to connect with people all around the world in an instant! I’m even getting more views on this little blog of mine thanks to Twitter!

So you might be wondering how the title of this week’s post ties in with these amazing experiences I’ve had this past week. One reason it has taken me so long to embrace the writer within, is because people have never really understood my excitement when I talk about my creative pursuits. Of course my family and friends that have known about my creative streak have always supported me, but they don’t really get it. They don’t really understand the amazing feeling of creating another world, of creating characters that sometimes seem more real than the people around you or the feeling of excitement and wonder as you follow those characters on their journey and help to tell their story. My family and friends support me, encourage me and try to listen as I excitedly tell them about the amazing things that are happening, but they don’t really get it. I do not hold this against them, nor does this make me angry or upset, it’s just how it is – Some people just don’t get it, they don’t understand what it’s like to feel an inextricable pull inside of you telling you to write, to create, to explore a world of creativity, a world of literature and writing.

Long before I began this blog, I always felt the need to create, my mind was constantly exploring and creating with no one really to share it with. Even though the important people in my life have appreciated my creativity and have supported and encouraged me, they still don’t fully understand what it’s like to experience the need to create. I think this is why I feel so amazed at the support I have received through my blog, through social media and most recently through Twitter. People that I have never met, get it. They understand the need to create, they understand the inextricable pull telling you to write, create and explore and they let me know that I am not alone. There is a big difference between appreciating creativity and writing and experiencing and understanding the need to create and write. Those who enjoy devouring book after book do not necessarily understand the need and the excitement that comes from creating a world, creating characters and telling their story.

In saying that, I still very much appreciate the support from my family and friends and the support of my followers and subscribers. Without this support, I would still be daydreaming about characters and scenes, writing notes in my many notebooks without really doing anything about it. I’m finally taking myself seriously with a goal in sight, it will be a long time coming, but it’s all getting very exciting and I know I will get  there eventually.

Finally, welcome to my newest subscriber, my lovely Grandmother (who you might remember I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts here and here), who has successfully subscribed via email to this humble little blog of mine.

So with thanks and gratitude, I leave you with an excerpt from Lonely Hearts, again it’s just a first draft and in the words of Ernest Hemingway,

The first draft of anything is shit.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss a post and you can find me on facebook or on Twitter @WriterWithin_KK.

Enjoy,

KK

“So, are you ready to be dazzled?” The sound of Thomas’ voice interrupted my thoughts… “Thomas, I think I’ve already been dazzled by your elaborate plans. The dress, the shoes, the jewellery, my own personal stylist for the afternoon…” I waved my hand gesturing at the excessive amount of ‘dazzle’ that he had already bestowed upon me. I always knew the evening would be more than just a lovely dinner, with Thomas simply being the man he was, but so far this evening had already gone way beyond my expectations. Even though the feeling was foreign I couldn’t help enjoying this feeling of being just a little bit spoilt, well ok… a lot spoilt. “Rosie, I hope you’re not thinking that it’s all too much, those are just things. I was the one that requested your company for the evening, I would really like for us to get to know each other a little better.” He tucked a loose strand of my honey blonde waves behind my ear as we sat facing each other in his fancy limousine. “I would like that too Thomas, I guess I’m just not used to such extravagance.” He leaned his head to the side, contemplating what I had said, “Hmmm, well I guess that may be so.” Then that lop-sided smiled curved his lips again, “I better warn you then, tonight Rosie, will be a night that will make dazzling extravagance look like brunch with great-aunt Bessie.”

© 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.

Attention to Detail

Hello Lovelies,

Sorry about last week, procrastination got the better of me and I started and finished an assessment the day before it was due. The good news is that I got it finished (hopefully it’s enough to pass) and I’m back again ready to share some new thoughts, plans and even an excerpt from Lonely Hearts, so keep reading if that sounds like it might tickle your fancy!

I’ve been thinking about some of the smaller details in the world and lives of my characters over the last week and have come up with a few new thoughts. After watching the Underbelly Razor series (at the suggestion of my uncle), I’ve been able to gain a little insight into the world of Sydney from 1927-1936 – the perfect time frame to provide an insight into the world of Thomas and Rose. When we first meet Rose in Lonely Hearts it is February 1935, the economy is slowly recovering from the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and many of the country’s wealthy businessman are taking advantage of lower property prices and the lower cost of living. Thomas is one of these people, but he isn’t the type of businessman to put people out of a job, in fact his aim was to do the complete opposite. I’ve spoken of this before, but in case you’ve missed it, Thomas’ role as a businessman and investor is the key factor for Thomas and Rose meeting. Ordinarily Thomas and Rose would never have met, they were from two different worlds – Rose was orphaned at the age of fourteen after her mother -her only known family died and was taken in by her employer, József, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant and the owner of a tailor shop. Thomas is a wealthy businessman who inherited a significant fortune when his parents died of Spanish Influenza when he was only eight years old. Therefore, if it was not for Thomas’ interest in investing in József’s business, the two would never have met.

I started thinking deeply about the two different worlds my main characters are from and the details of their worlds. Thomas, being of considerable wealth, would have had a large house – possibly in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. He would have many people in his employment to look after his household – including a driver. When I considered that, I started to wonder what kind of car he would have and after some initial research, decided that Thomas would own several cars, including a town car for everyday travel (such as travelling to The Rocks to invest in a certain business), an expensive glamourous car for attending evening events and a sporty little roadster, which Thomas would drive himself -because boys and their toys and all that. I haven’t decided on all the details entirely but I think that this 1935 Lincoln 301 Model K 7-Passenger Limousine would be fairly nice car for attending evening events don’t you?

From Flickr Creative Commons user Randy von Liski https://www.flickr.com/photos/myoldpostcards/5593135909/in/photolist-7XQthd-9wfhrK-7XMd9M-fJhsq-7dBQbH-7dFKx9-9wfgUa-fJhsr-i3ttfn-i3sWDp-i3wavE-i3sDez-9wfhTZ-9wfee2-9wigjQ-i3uYLz-i3wtic-i3whXJ-i3sB7Z-6Qkrk6-i3wfaS-i3vXid-i3w3iU-i3wmqV-fJhss-i3um4Z-9wii7j-7dFJAU-9wff58-7dFJXJ-7dFJL5-9wfgDt-6QjfVB-i3tcJp-i3v1QY-i3uFTP-6QkJPV-i3uKaZ-i3u1ur-i3tzhK-6Qpwyh-i3uRu2-i3uD9v-6iD3eb-i3tQC4-i3tWPH-i3uj47-i3tHjr-i3tZiG-i3tT9N
From Flickr CC -Randy von Liski

Rose’s world on the other hand is very different, neither her nor József own a car, with most of the money being put back into the business, trying to keep them going. They lived modestly in a small terrace house next to the tailor shop. The early 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but many people did not dress like that, especially Rosie. Her skills as a seamstress and her talent for replicating the latest fashions were evident in the gorgeous clothes she wore, however her wardrobe consisted of day dresses and skirts and blouses, she owned one hat for going out during the day, which she saved up her money for and she wore it at a jaunty angle- a flirtatious statement in line with the latest fashion.

Flickr CC -genibee
From Flickr CC -genibee

Of course there is still much more I need to explore in the world of Thomas and Rose and the attention to detail is making this world become some sort virtual reality experience for me, I only hope I can pass this experience on to my readers.

So as I head off to nail down a few more details, I leave you with an excerpt from the first chapter of Lonely Hearts. Some of it may seem familiar as a section of it I have shared in a previous post, but I have done a little editing as I progressed through the chapter, so it has been added to and changed slightly. I’m sure it will be edited and changed several more times before I feel it is finished, but this is where it is at this point in time.

Enjoy,

KK

“As I prepared the tea for József and Thomas, I caught myself staring at him through the partially open door, “Damn”, I nearly overfill the cup and I glance back to the door hoping no one heard me curse, but I have no such luck. “Is everything ok Rosie?” József calls from his office, the door now wide open. “Yes, fine. Would you like me to bring in the tea?” I ask quickly as I try to draw the attention away from the fact that a lady just cursed. I glance back towards József’s office and see the same slight smile curving the one corner of his mouth and I’m sure he is laughing at me again. I carefully carry the tea into the cramped office setting the tray down on the small round table next to the wall between the two men. I risk another glance at Thomas to check if he still finds my fumbling nervousness amusing and notice a small scar above his right eye and that his nose is slightly crooked. Is this his darkness, was he a brawler, exerting his physical power over others for his own gratification? Surely a man of his social standing would not associate himself with such brutal activities. Yet how can I be sure, by my own admission I know nothing about this man, yet I am strangely drawn to him, I imagine reaching my hand up to the side of his face and touching that small scar as he leans his cheek into my palm, I shake my head banishing the image from my mind. Listen to yourself Rosie! You barely know this man and you’re having unsavoury fantasies about him! Fantasize all you want, but remember, you are from different worlds; you could never be together, besides he probably thinks you’re simple after this morning’s performance. I nod in silent agreement with my subconscious, even though I barely know this man, I know that we inhabit two very different worlds.

My hands are shaking, betraying my nervousness as I make József’s tea to his liking, one sugar and a small amount of milk. Rosie, get a hold of yourself! I take a breath, bracing myself before I look at him again. “How do you take your tea Mr Heath?” I ask with a polite smile. My eyes lock with his, my breath hitches and I suddenly feel hot –too hot. He runs his tongue over his bottom lip, sending a shiver down my spine. No man has ever affected me in this way and I desperately pray that he doesn’t realise the effect he is having on me, but the now familiar curve that is at the corner of his mouth tells me that he knows exactly what he is doing to me and he is enjoying watching quiver and squirm under his intent gaze. Thomas blinks, as if he has remembered that we are not alone, “Milk and two sugar thank you Rose and please, call me Thomas.” I nod and prepare his tea as per his instructions, as I lean over to pour the milk into the tea I am acutely aware that Thomas’ gaze is fixated upon me and I am sure I just caught his gaze attempting to glance down the front of my dress. I know I should be offended, but I enjoy that idea that he perhaps might find me as attractive as I find him. I turn to József before leaving the room, “Well if there is nothing else you gentleman need, I’ll let you get on with your meeting. I’ll be out the front.” Jószef nods and I turn to quickly take my leave. I can feel Thomas’ gaze on me as I walk out of the room, slightly swaying my hips, secretly hoping he is enjoying the show and I imagine his lips curving into that gorgeous lop-sided smile.”

© 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.

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.

Fact or Fiction?

Hello Lovelies,

It’s hard to find the time to write, but this week has been quite a productive one. My characters have given me enough insight into their first meeting allowing me to be able to fill in the blanks and put it into words, my fellow writers will understand just how exciting it is when something like that occurs. You see, it is not the writer who is simply writing the story, the characters are taking us on their journey and we are merely putting their story on paper. Sometimes your characters show you the whole scene and you have to find the right words to depict the scene, other times your characters let bits and pieces slip and you need to find out the rest. That’s where the fun of research comes in (again and again and again).

I already knew that Thomas and Rose met at Rose’s place of employment ,a small clothing manufacturer owned by a Jewish family who migrated from Europe several years before. I saw through Thomas’ eyes as he walked into the man’s office and looked into Rose’s eyes for the first time, but I didn’t know the Jewish man’s name. This is where research comes into play. Although this character in only in the story for a very brief moment and this story is a work of fiction, the name had to be factually accurate, this is when the research begins. I discovered many things about Jewish surnames, that I will not bore you with now, but through this research I did find what I believe to be the perfect name for this family, Schneider. Whilst this surname is a common German surname, my research has told me that it is a name that is a German-Jewish surname meaning tailor, the perfect surname for a family who design and make clothing, don’t you think?

After exploring the darkness last week, it was nice to be able to come into the light and discover the softer side of my dark and mysterious leading man and the beauty of my lovely and compassionate leading lady. Perhaps love was in the air? After all it was Valentines Day on Friday. I’m getting closer to completing the chapter that I abandoned a few weeks ago, but I am also discovering that the story is not heading quite in the direction I was anticipating and in some parts I’m not sure what will happen next. No need to worry though, my characters will show me the way when they are ready.

This week I would like to share with you a little excerpt from Thomas and Rose’s first meeting, again remember this work is raw and unedited and will likely change many times through the editing process.

Enjoy,

KK

Image

Image Flickr Creative Commons user Saif Saif

When I entered the small business, I was greeted by the owner, a dark haired Jewish man by the name of Szabo, who had migrated to Australia some years before with his wife and daughters. As I entered Mr Szabo’s office and sat down, her words took me by surprise, “Tea or coffee Mr Heath?” I did not even realise that someone else had entered the room. As I looked up I saw for the first time her warm brown eyes that hinted at the kindness and compassion she possessed. My brain struggled to register the words which she had just spoken to me. Her long waves of chocolate brown hair that sat below her shoulders were held back at the sides by two small brown hair combs. She was wearing a beautiful jade coloured dress, that had a ruffled v-neckline and belted waist that accentuated her curves. I know I was staring at her as after a brief moment her cheeks reddened and she glanced down at the small tray she had placed on the desk and repeated the question, to which I stammered out an almost unintelligible reply. Her mouth gave way to a small smile, I am sure she was laughing at me. I had been in the presence of many beautiful young women, but none had caused such an effect. The moment I looked into those warm brown eyes, I felt as if the world around melted away and this beauty, whose name I did not even know, was the only thing preventing me from drifting away. As she left the room and I sipped my coffee and remembered that I do not even drink coffee. I decided that I had to find out more about her, I had to find out everything, “You have a beautiful daughter Mr Szabo, you must be very proud,” what I said was the truth but I didn’t care whose daughter she was, I just knew that I must have her. “Who, Rosie? You very kind Mr Heath, but Rosie, she not my daughter, she not even Jewish girl. Rosie just work for me, she very good dressmaker.” Rosie… of course her name was Rose, it suited her perfectly, but in the words of William Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I asked Mr Szabo everything he knew about Rose, I found out many things by that afternoon, he explained that Rose was the only person besides his immediate family who worked for him. Even though he could no longer afford to pay her during these difficult times, Rose still continued to come to work each day. While I was told many things about her I did not know if she was betrothed, but it didn’t really matter, I would have her either way, but it would make things a lot easier if she were not. 

******

Most importantly I became privy to the fact that she was not betrothed to any man and so I began to pursue her, making unnecessary trips to Schneider’s, just so I could bump into her and invite her to lunch. Rosie was not like any of the other women I had been with and she was not the type of woman I would usually lust after, but for some reason I felt drawn to her. I had found what I was searching for, unaware that I was even searching until our eyes met for the first time. I was not used to having to court a woman, on past occasions, women would lust after me and I would let them. I would wine them and dine them, take what I wanted from them and send them on their way, feeling no emotional connection to them whatsoever.

From the beginning with Rosie, it has always been different.  

© 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.