A few months ago I started chatting with author Kristina McMorris on twitter. We had several mutual friends and I’d heard so much about her work. I kind of hinted I’d like to read her new book early, and she was so gracious to send me an early copy.
Congratulations to Kristina, as today is the publication day for THE PIECES WE KEEP. I’ve just started reading it, but I’m very excited. I’m pleased to welcome Kristina to my blog today, she’s sharing with us a few reasons why she loves writing about the 1940’s
Looking back, I suppose I’ve always been fascinated by the 1940s. The suave crooners and big band music. The dashing uniforms and fashionable ladies’ hats. The romance inherent in wartime, when all of America seemed united in a common cause.
My maternal grandfather, despite our closeness, never spoke about the war. I knew only that he had served as a signalman in the U.S. Navy, which explained the sailor girl tattoo (resembling the Cracker Jack character) that covered much of his forearm. In all the years I knew him, he referred to her as “Grandma” and had a knack for wiggling his knuckles to make her shimmy and dance.
Not until more than a dozen years after his passing did I learn that he and my grandmother had actually met during the war, and courted almost entirely through an exchange of letters. My grandmother shared this surprising tidbit with me while I was interviewing her for the biographical section of a homemade cookbook, intended as a Christmas gift for the family. She then stunned me further by pulling from her closet every letter my grandpa had sent to her as a means of wooing her down the aisle.
When I left her house that weekend, my interest in the era shot to a new height. I was captivated by thoughts of sacrifice and bravery, on both the home front and the battlefield. And soon I found myself—though not a creative writer, barely even a reader—seated at the computer, typing what would ultimately become my debut novel, Letters from Home.
In a way, I guess you could say that every one of my books is a love letter to the Greatest Generation—whom, sadly, we are losing much too quickly—as well as to my grandparents, the amazing couple whose heartfelt notes literally changed the course of my life.
A young boy’s violent, recurrent night terrors unseal a trove of family secrets tracing back to the Second World War, forever altering the lives of those around him.
Release date: November 26, 2013
Original Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Price: $15 U.S./$16.95 Can.
Special features: Discussion Guide and special Author Note
Kristina McMorris is the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents’ wartime courtship. This critically praised book was declared a must-read by Woman’s Day magazine and achieved additional acclaim as a Reader’s Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction.
Kristina’s second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, was named a 2013 nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award and is frequently an official reading selection among book clubs, universities, and libraries throughout the country. Most recently, her novella, “The Christmas Collector,”appeared in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling anthology A Winter Wonderland. Her novelette, “The Reunion,” will be featured in the forthcoming anthology titled Grand Central (Berkley/Penguin, July 2014).
Named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal, Kristina lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest. The Pieces We Keep is her third full-length novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com
Thank you again to Kristina, for the guest post, for sharing her book with me, and much more, because she’s just a really nice person. Come on back next week for my review of The Pieces We Keep, and I’ll have a giveaway too.