Oh historical fiction fans have I got one for you! Mary-Rose MacColl is a best selling Australian author. Newly released, In Falling Snow, is her fouth novel and marks her U.S. debut.
From the publisher, Penguin Books:
"In Falling Snow is a World War I novel of love, loss, the strength of two women's spirits and is brimming with romance and mystery. As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI, Mary-Rose MacColl movingly re-imagines the true story of the brave women who ran a war hospital at Royaumont Abbey in France.
In 1914, a twenty-one year old Iris makes the trans-continental journey from Australia to France with the hope of bringing home her fifteen-year-old enlisted brother. But in Paris, at the Gare du Nord, Iris runs into Miss Ivens, a powerfully charismatic woman who is starting a field hospital run entirely by women at the beautiful Royaumont Abbey, based on the real women's hospital at Royaumont during World War I. Abandoning her plans, Iris follows Miss Ivens. But it's not until she meets the worldly and welcoming Violet Heron that she decides to stay– a decision that Iris will look back on with regret and wonder for the rest of her life.
Interwoven with Iris's tale is the story of her granddaughter, Grace. A determined doctor with a family of her own in 1970s Brisbane, Grace struggles to balance the frustrations of her male-dominated workplace with her love for her family, her concerns for Iris, and her denial in the face of her young son's failing health.
the Australian Vogel literary award and whose first non-fiction book, The Birth Wars, was a finalist in the Walkley Awards. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and Banff, Canada with her husband and young son.
"Ego In Falling Snow
I have a book out this month, and I’ve been indulging both sides of the writer’s ego. When it came out in Australia, In Falling Snow was the number one bestselling book... for fifteen minutes... in my hometown... in independent bookstores. But I puffed out like a puffer fish and plastered my Number One Bestseller status all over Facebook anyway. And I rang my mother. She rang almost everyone on the planet. You probably got a call.
Inevitably, I ended the week on the other side of ego, channeling failure like a shark channels fear, feeling more like a deflated puffer fish, which even a shark wouldn’t like the taste of. Few people have actually heard of my lovely story about the Scottish women doctors and the hospital they took to France in World War I. Perhaps they won’t find it as fascinating as I did. Perhaps they won’t find it fascinating at all. In Falling Snow may fade quickly, as most books nowadays do. It may have already faded. Where’s the wine?
I am not a psychologist, but I do know that my ego, muscled though it is, does not get books written. It does not get anything written. Ego is the opposite of where writing happens for me. Writing comes from a place I find when I walk in nature or swim or sit with a pen in my hand. It’s a quiet, still place. Neither end of ego – the inflated or deflated puffer fish – would have helped. Both hinder in their way.
Writers often feel their lives will be better when they are finally published, when they have that breakthrough book, or make that big deal, or have a second or third or fourth novel out. But when they get to that point, whatever it is, they find it’s not really better. They grasp for the next thing needed to fill them up. Maybe there’s a point at which you fill up. But I doubt it.
US writing teacher Gail Sher gives us Four Noble Truths About Writing, and while I can never remember the other three, the first noble truth is that writers write. Writers write. All you have to do to be a writer is push that pen across that page. Writers write. The only thing that separates writers from non-writers is that writers write. It’s not to do with being a bit player or a bestseller, it’s not even to do with writing a great book or writing a terrible book. Writers write. It’s so soothing, that notion, if you let it in, really let it in, because being a success or a failure just fades away, the getting published, the breakthrough book on the one hand, and the poor sales, few readers and bad reviews on the other. Writers write.
Annie Dillard says something similar, but not as kindly, in ‘Every morning you climb several flights of stairs, enter your study, open the French doors, and slide your desk and chair out into the middle of the air…’ You go and get your coffee and come back, Dillard says, and the view is lovely out there in the air, the birds fly under the desk. ‘Get to work!’ she says then, ‘…keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.’ Get to work!"
Thank you Mary-Rose! And thanks to the generosity of Penguin Books, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept 21 when a random winner will be chosen.