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Tuesday 2 April 2019

✉ Crafting The Girl from the Lighthouse - Willard Thompson

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about his latest novel, The Girl from the Lighthouse (, Rincon Publishing, 430 pages), a Historical Literary Romance.

"In The Girl from the Lighthouse, Mr. Thompson has fused history, art history, and personal struggle into a heady cocktail that will intoxicate the reader.

The novel is a cinematic sweep through Paris of the late 19th century, a dynamic and vibrant immersion that makes me feel I am actually on Paris streets, in its parks and cafés, with all the exciting tumult of the time around me.
" ~ Kia McInerny, author of Bond Hunter and Max in Filmland

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Guest Post || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Crafting The Girl from the Lighthouse

by Willard Thompson

I'll never forget when the inspiration came to me. I was in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art with my wife, standing in front of a painting by Berthe Morisot, one of the characters in The Girl from the Lighthouse.  The painting was titled View of Paris from the Trocadero.   In it, two women stand with a small girl looking off into the city of Paris far in the distance.  The women are blocked from moving forward into the city by a wooden fence that cut diagonally across the painting.  It isn't a strong barrier, more symbolic.

I was struck by how the painting represented the restricted status of Victorian women, and the idea came to me to write about a young woman of that era who was strong and independent, and in no way indoctrinated about women's roles.

To get the character right, I had to find a setting for her to grow up in where she was not taught by a mother or friends or other children around her about the ways of Victorian society.  I wanted her to be a clean slate, a Tabula Rasa so to speak.  I chose The Point Conception Light, California, lighthouse situated on an isolated, remote point on the Pacific Ocean

Emma was raised there by her father and three lighthouse keepers after her mother deserted her when she was five-years-old. So she had no motherly training and no experience in the social world of the Victorians.

I understood the conditions at that lighthouse well, having just published a non-fiction history of the lighthouse and its keepers [Keepers of the Light]. 

I named her Emma after my Canadian grandmother who I never knew.  To be clear, the Emma in The Girl from the Lighthouse is in no way patterned after my grandmother.  I am very pleased how the story came out and have begun receiving favorable comments from early readers.

I think many historical fiction readers are time travelers, always looking for an exotic place to explore in fiction. so I wanted the cover of The Girl from the Lighthouse to be an invitation to readers to travel back to the Paris of 1870, The Belle Époque--The beautiful time--where the novel is set.  Peter, at Bespoke Book Covers, a UK firm, did an excellent job in capturing the effect I was looking for.

How much of myself is reflected in this book?  To start, I believe a book in which the author has not included himself is probably not worth reading.  Writing is always a personal journey, for me an exploration.  I start out with an idea, maybe even a concept, but I'm never totally sure where it will go.  And I'm not embarrassed to say often my characters come to me during the writing and guide me, so I am able to commute their thoughts and actions accurately.  So I am all in 100% during the process, but to say what part is me, and what part is my character's is not always easy.

My fiction writing is very much like a stage play in that I want my reader and my character to be as close together as possible with as little interference of me, the author, as possible.  I was able to achieve that in The Girl from the Lighthouse by writing it in the first person, present tense.  In other words, the reader and Emma experience the story together.

Not Your Ordinary Victorian Young Lady

The Girl from the Lighthouse
Available NOW!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Willard Thompson said...

Thanks for hosting my blog tour today. Your site looks great! hope your viewers like my new novel.