Characteristics of the Plot

What characteristics does the writer consider when deciding the characters in a plot? I am working on a future book based on my mother’s experiences in England during World War 2. I know there are a lot of books written about women and the war. However, my mother did something unique. She volunteered in London at the Beaver Club. This was a place where Canadian soldiers could come to get sandwiches, coffee, new socks and maps to get around London while on leave. Of course, I won’t be calling the book The Beaver Club for obvious reasons. The working title is The Maple Leaf Club. The Club had various women volunteering there mainly with the food preparation and serving. Many of the women have long since passed away and perhaps their sons and daughters didn’t know much about it. The book I plan to write includes a murder in the Club and the life of Olive, the main character, who works as a secretary for a British firm and really wants to start a new life in Canada.

Research is required for this book. The photos I have of my Mother are helpful and the reunion photo is amazing. Many ladies fit into one large photo but all in black and white. I once asked my mother if she had dated anyone at the club. She replied, “Oh no, not me. I was too shy!”

What stands out in this story is the selflessness of the women who volunteered their time to work in the Beaver Club in London in the middle of the war. Life in wartime London was tough enough but these ladies volunteered their time to help Canadians. I’m looking forward to researching this book and learning what my mother experienced during the war.

My mother as a young woman in London, England.

Inspection Reports

As a public health inspector, I remember waiting for the restaurant manager to discuss the inspection report based on my visit to the foodservice operation. I had been writing my report by hand. In those days, reports were handwritten noting any deficiencies which required correction. A voice suddenly interrupted my train of thought, “I wasn’t expecting a woman!”. This came from the manager of the restaurant. He was shocked that a woman could do the job.  My reply was “You never had it so good!”. Now in 2021, many years later, those words are the working title of my next book which will be a memoir on my experiences as a female public health inspector.

When I began my first position in Medicine Hat, Alberta, there had not been another public health inspector hired for 20 years. I was described by one of the inspectors as “a bright light”. I didn’t walk around plugged in all the time but I did bring a new perspective on getting the job done. The secretary was impressed to have a female around the office. She told me that a new broom sweeps clean. Another inspector, who also had been with the unit for 20 years, was not pleased to have a female inspector on the job. I might have shown him up as he hadn’t done much work for many years.

There was definitely lots of work to be done. Restaurants hadn’t been inspected, small towns had been neglected, grocery stores and hotels had not had follow-up inspections. One of my restaurant managers in a small town called Bow River reminded me that I was tough. “Your reputation has preceded you!” she said. Her restaurant had many violations but she and her staff did co-operate and clean up. It was wonderful to have food operations running in compliance compared which protected the health of the population.  Also, the general public noticed the improvement in foodservice operations when dining out and phoned in compliments to the Health Unit.

The writer's desk

How Do Writers Know What To Write About?

As an avid reader, I was always fascinated how great writers could keep you spellbound and conjure up such amazing characters that you got so caught up in the story that you couldn’t put the book down! As I begin my author’s website, I will be writing about various topics in my blog and relating to the books and articles I plan to publish. Human beings are fascinating. What makes people tick, why they do the things they do and the differences between good and evil are all part of stories and plots that keep us interested.

How does an idea begin? As with my first book, it could be something that happened personally to the author. It could also be a newspaper headline, a documentary on TV, a photo, the weather, or something that causes the writer to want to take the idea and add more to it. My first book is called the Fairy Hollow Chronicles. It is the story of four tiny fairies who live in Fairy Hollow and are to attend their Coming of Age Ceremony the next day. They must first complete their Fairy Quest. I got this idea from my daughter when she was small. She loved fairy stories. I decided to write a story which would incorporate challenges, goal-setting, positive thinking and a a happy ending! Though this book is mainly a Children’s Early Reader, adults reading to children will enjoy it.

From my background as a public health inspector and previous food safety blog writer, I plan to write about my experiences being the first female public health inspector at the health units where I was employed. Memoirs can be written many different ways. They are interesting to the reader because the author usually lived the experiences so a firsthand account is better than imagining an event happening. I encountered sexism in the workplace, the glass ceiling and lack of professional recognition for my contributions in the field. However, I did make many friends along the way and have some fabulous experiences such as being an international conference speaker in countries from Great Britain to Lithuania. That will be a timely topic for the another blog!