Guest Author: Hallee Bridgeman – Bringing WWII to Life!

My love of the WWII era started in my early teens when I watched Casablanca for the first time. I became obsessed with magazines and newspaper articles from the 1940’s, with the fashion, with the lifestyles. Even now I enjoy looking look through old books and pictures and see how kitchens were set up and how homes were run.HAB_2014a

I’ve been writing for about 15 years now. My interests lay in suspense and romance, so writing romantic suspense just became a no-brainer for me. I can sit down at the keyboard and just let my imagination run. I enjoy coming up with scenarios and intricate plots that twist and turn and keep readers completely breathless from one chapter to the next.

When I started writing, I started researching writing a series set in Europe in World War II. So, while I was busy writing my contemporary romantic suspense titles, I spent any down time I had researching the 1930’s-1950’s Europe and America. When I finally reached a point in my work schedule to start writing my book, I sat down at my keyboard and expected to have the words just flow through me like they always have only to find out – they wouldn’t.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have a plot: espionage, female heroines, inspired by real women. I had the plot. What I didn’t have was the knowledge. I had no idea how much I didn’t know until I realized I didn’t know it. I couldn’t even begin because as much as I could picture my character in my head, I couldn’t be certain that what I had her wearing was something that she would actually wear. All of those years of research, looking into espionage tactics and military warfare had done nothing to prepare me to write about the most important thing in any novel: the characters.

What kind of school would she have gone to? What kind of shoes would he wear? What would she eat for dinner on a Friday night? How would they go from their apartment to that play?

As much as I had spent most of my life in love with that era, the little day-to-day things that help characters come to life in a story completely escaped me. I had to go back into research with a fresh eye for what was important and what details I needed to learn. Loving the era like I do, that research was fun and easy for me.

When I finally sat down again to write the series, with all of the proper research under my belt, it came much quicker and easier.

Tomorrow, the final episode in my Virtues and Valor series releases. Every book in the 7-part series was inspired by a different heroine in WWII history; every woman on the covers did something remarkable in the war. It has been an amazing journey to research and to dig into their stories.

7FlightOfFaith_800Flight of Faith: HELEN MULBERRY, the youngest child and only daughter of a wealthy Texas oil tycoon, has always had her every wish granted immediately. When the Germans march into France, no one denies her request to fly her plane to England and help free up a male pilot for combat. Her father’s influence opens doors, and 19 year old Helen joins the Virtues team.

Now under the code-name FAITH, she flies between Britain and France, transporting passengers, supplies, or performing reconnaissance. The Nazis guard their skies with vigor, and Helen learns to fly in combat, land in a field with no lights, and evade the anti-aircraft fire. She masterfully takes on each mission, despite the perceptions and chauvinistic attitudes of many of the male pilots.

Shot down over France during the mission to rescue the agent code named TEMPERANCE from the clutches of the Gestapo, Helen must make her way through enemy territory with no language skills and somehow come through with a means to get her team back to Britain. Can she save them, or will they all find that they have no way out?

Virtues and Valor Series:
In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

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Hallee online:             Website        Twitter        Facebook        Google+     Amazon

Looking good in the 1940s!

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For this week’s blog I thought a visual ensemble might be fun. This month I have been neck deep in the late forties as I write the third book in a post World War Two series I’ve been working on. I have easily come to the conclusion that they had a great sense of style back then.

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Yes, I am fighting with that commandment “Thou shalt not covet.” Here’s a glimpse at some of the dresses I’ve been picking out for my heroine and her sister:

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I love this one and chose it for the heroine’s sister to wear to her prom. I love the lace bodice.

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My hubby likes the cut of this one.

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I like the color on this one, as does the heroine. Unfortunately she can’t wear it as she’s a strawberry blond.

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Perfect for the summer.

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Yep, coveting again. This is her favorite dress.

 

 

Now for the hair. You have to love those victory curls!

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Perfect for the big town dance when the boys start coming home from Europe. Especially if you’re going with the fiance you haven’t seen in four years.

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And then the look to convince everyone in town that you’re completely over him.

And for all those days in between:

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I think the most painful part of my research is the price point for all of this:

0cee3d5e6fd51677b64a7478f6d8ddeaI think it’s time to stock up on dresses!

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A picture is worth a thousand words, but can invoke 80,000

My husband follows “Classic Pics” on twitter and often shows me the most epic. A while ago he passed me his phone with this image:

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Considering that it is a hand brand used by the British during the 1600s … slightly cringe worthy. The British used branding for punishment and marking of criminals and deserters from the army until 1827 when it was outlawed. Almost. Army deserters were still branded until 1879. (Click here for more.)

That is, of course interesting enough, but what if …?

A secret mission for the British army gone wrong. A General bent on revenge after a twenty-six year feud. Punishment meted without allowing pause for defense. A young man’s life spiraling out of control because of the curse of his hand and the vengeance seared into his heart.

Spice with some romance and mysteries.

Yep, I’m writing another novel. Stay tuned!