Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Author’s Inspiration ~ M.K. Tod #HistFic #WW1 @MKTodAuthor

Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to historical fiction author, Mary. K. Tod. 

Author’s Inspiration

Each author creates and writes in her or his own way. There is no best approach; what matters most is whether in the end the story is compelling from a reader’s point of view.

The idea for my latest novel, Time and Regret, came while travelling in France with my husband to visit the battlefields, monuments, cemeteries, and museums dedicated to World War One.

On that trip, we went to Bailleul, Lille, Amiens, Ypres, Mont St. Eloi and other towns and villages, and to memorials at Vimy, Courcelette, Thiepval and Passchendaele. We visited the Musee de la Grande Guerre in Peronne. We stayed at a charming hotel that used to be a chateau and dined at its next-door restaurant. Those places and the landscape of the region engaged every sense and, along with the hundreds of pictures taken, have fuelled descriptions of meadows, villages, windows, tastes, gardens, restaurants, and other parts of Time and Regret.

Of most significance to this novel is the night we spent at a café in the small town of Honfleur across the mouth of the Seine from Le Havre. Shortly after the waiter poured our first glass of red wine, I wrote a few words in a small notebook.

“What are you writing?” Ian said.

“An idea for a story,” I replied.

Refusing to be put off by my cryptic response, he persisted. “What’s the idea?”

“Nothing much. Just thought it might make a good story to have a granddaughter follow the path her grandfather took during World War One in order to find out more about him.”

Ian took on a pensive look and no doubt had another sip of wine. “You could include a mystery,” he said.

Now, you should know that mysteries are my husband’s favorite genre. Indeed, I suspect mysteries represent at least eighty percent of his reading. So I played along. “What kind of mystery?”

And that was the birth of Time & Regret, as ideas tumbled out and the basic plot took shape. Needless to say, the bottle of wine was soon empty.

I’m drawn to the impact of war not just on individuals but also on marriages and families. I began writing my first novel, now called Unravelled, by investigating the lives of my maternal grandparents and as such, I came to see both sides – male and female – of a time with such dreadful consequences. Not only did men go to war, but women also ‘went to war’ on the home front and I wanted to share that perspective. Beyond that, I hope to tell stories that engage both men and women. Too much war and you lose the female audience; too much romance and you lose the men.

I was never a student of history and so I was startled to find researching WWI so fascinating. However, fascination was followed by anger, sorrow and bewilderment—anger at the incredible ineptitude of military and political leaders and sorrow for what soldiers and everyday citizens had to endure.

My bewilderment centered on questions of humanity. Why did soldiers put up with unspeakable conditions for so long? How could leaders use such appalling measures as poison gas? How could parents bear the loss of more than one son? How could officers send their men ‘over the top’ time after time when they knew death would greet so many? I shake my head even now. My novels honor the sacrifice, courage and endurance of the men and women who lived in those times.

M.K. Tod is an award-winning blogger and the author of three works of historical fiction. In 2004, Mary interrupted her business career to spend a few years as an expat in Hong Kong. That life-altering experience led to a new career and passion as a writer. Mary writes for the Historical Novel Society and the Washington Independent Review of Books. She is also known for her in-depth analysis of historical fiction and international reader surveys.

M.K.Tod loves to hear from readers, you can find her: Blog Facebook Goodreads Website

Time and Regret

Time and Regret by M.K. Tod - When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…


  1. Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us!!

  2. Well written. I was inspired to write after living in France also.

    1. What kind of stories are you writing, Kim?

  3. Many thanks for having me on your lovely blog, Mary Anne.

  4. I am delighted to come to such a wonderful blog. I am really very impressed to read from top to bottom. I read every single line and understand the essence of every single word. I appreciate all efforts.hulp bij belastingaangifte amsterdam


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx