'Looking beautiful is largely a duty,' Vogue sternly informed young women during the war. Apparently, girls were meant to look as pretty as possible to cheer up their soldier boyfriends. Of course, girls might have wanted to look nice for themselves. Maybe they didn't have enough coupons for a new dress, but some bright lipstick and a new hairstyle might help them forget the gloomy old war for a while.
It was a bit of a challenge, dressing well during the Second World War. To illustrate why, here's an excerpt from an early draft of The FitzOsbornes at War:
My new book, The FitzOsbornes at War, is set (mostly) in England during the Second World War, and my characters get involved in all sorts of adventures. Sophie, my narrator, is dragged into a spy scandal at the American Embassy in London. Her cousin Veronica helps rescue a member of the British royal family from a kidnapping attempt. Her brother Toby becomes a fighter pilot and battles Nazis in the sky. Her friends Daniel and Rupert have top-secret jobs helping the military.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, you're probably aware that the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States. Apparently, the US publishers thought American children would be put off by the idea of reading about a philosopher.
7. Admire Your Finished Book
Okay, this is the only step to writing a historical novel that is ACTUALLY easy. I may not have been totally accurate when I said you could write a historical novel in seven EASY steps. But hey, I'm a novelist. I'm allowed to make up some things.
6. Gaze Upon the Efforts of the Designer and Typesetter
This is one of the easiest stages for authors, because it mostly consists of us watching other people work really hard.
Firstly, there's the cover design to admire. In the case of Australian edition of The FitzOsbornes at War, the designer had already come up with beautiful designs for the first two books in the Montmaray Journals series, which looked like this:
Thank you so much to everyone who's commented so far on my posts this month. I won't be posting tomorrow, because it's Good Friday, so the Doghouse will be closed for the holidays. However, I'll be back on Monday to explain why editing a book is like a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Hope you all have a lovely long weekend, full of good reading!
(The painting below is by Poul Friis Nybo and is called A Favourite Author.)