September 21 was the International Day of Peace, a day when worldwide peace and the goal of achieving it is put in focus. On this day, MCV Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths, starts her blog tour and this year Kim Talks Books is lucky enough to be one of the stops.
To help celebrate the International Day of Peace, I am giving away a Kindle copy of MCV Egan’s The Bridge of Deaths and a copy of my Kindle-only novella, Choose Me. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your thoughts on peace. The winner will be chosen and notified on Saturday, 29 September. You can also join the official Peace in Time giveaway here.
MCV Egan lives in South Florida with her family. The Bridge of Deaths is her first novel.
The premise of the Bridge of Deaths is fascinating–a troubled man possibly suffering from past-life trauma trying to find the connection between his issues and a mysterious plane crash in 1939 with only one survivor. How did you find out about this story and when did you first decide this was the book you had to write?
I began to research the plane crash of the G-AESY in pre-WWII Denmark because my maternal grandfather was one of the men who died in that crash. I tried to run away from the story many times, but somehow in different ways it chased me, found me and made me realize I had to research and write it.
Out of the blue people would contact me with new information or the right book would just be at the wrong place (right for me) how many WWII history books would anyone expect to find in the cooking section?
I began my research with very traditional methods; archives, newspaper microfilms, history books. In the 1990s my side interests revolved around ‘paranormal’ or ‘occult’ disciplines such as astrology, numerology and past life regressions, as such I was surrounded by many individuals with a variety of clairvoyance aptitudes.
The way that led to combining the very believable and the likely unbelievable was that Anthony Crossley, the British MP who died in the crash that day, was easy to research as he was a public figure, thus making it was easy to confirm most information clairvoyants said about him. I should add that in the 1990s it was not like anyone could Google any of this, it was easy to confirm but by carefully researching.
The individual who allowed me to use his past life regressions, but asked to remain anonymous was not particularly troubled, and certainly never had phobias, but by infusing that into the characteristics of the fictional version the story became far more interesting.
How long did it take to write The Bridge of Deaths from starting the first draft until the final edit?
Once I decided this is it, I will not try to research more it was about 18 months. It is two books in one, it is a factual documented book, which took 18 years to compile woven together with a fun, fictional narrative.
How did you decide upon the format of the novel–of juxtaposing the crash in 1939 with Bill’s life and psychic belief in 2009-2010?
When the argument was made in 2002-2003 for the war in Iraq many politicians, commentators and ‘experts’ likened the conversations with the MUNICH PACT of 1938. Because Anthony Crossley was one of the small group that adamantly opposed appeasing Hitler; the events of modern day war and the past seemed much intertwined. Also because Anthony Crossley was called the sole voice for the Arab cause in regards to the Palestinian territories in the late 1930s, that too amazed me how similar the conversations were from the 1930s and today.
Bill is the venue in the comparison; but one of the messages in the book is how strongly we are as a society, as countries affected by the decisions and wars decades later.
How did the psychic belief angle and the idea of past life trauma come into the story?
I had past life regressions that impacted me. That physically affected me in interesting ways. I did not have phobias but I did have fears that were strongly or completely overcome through the use of hypnosis and sometimes past life regressions. I took my personal experience and expanded to make it more dramatic.
I did use psychics and past life regressions (not my own), I did take some fictional liberties but I was careful to explain what was fiction and what actually came out of the regressions or information obtained by psychics.
In my experience many people are very skeptical about psychic abilities, so I even saved some of the information I could not prove.
Have you got any advice for writers thinking about tackling a novel based on historical events?
Yes, there are two things when you decide on your timespan. Make a timeline and keep your chronology in order. Like a school kid, a nice long line with dates events keep it handy, if possible really large on a wall or a bulletin board.
That way you will physically see the era, to keep it believable.
Be sure to get the right vernacular, the devil is in the details, and I have put down a number of books because if the writer cannot respect the reader enough to take the time to research details it kills the story for me.
What’s next for you? Are you working on another project?
I am a mom and my son just started high school so for the next four years that is my most important job. Stories can always be written and information can always be researched, but my Austin will only be a teen ager once.
I am working on several short projects, playing around with one act plays and short stories and I am working on a series in a modern setting. I hope to write in a wide variety of genres and I also enjoy helping authors promote on-line. Many authors do not have the budget to have online tours or have difficulty approaching bloggers to make themselves visible and I really enjoy sharing what I had the privilege to learn from my on-line publicist and on my own.
Your Peace in Time Blitz Blog Tour not only promotes your novel but also commemorates the International Day of Peace. Tell us why this day is so important to you.
I created a character, Maggie and she is a lovable, loving free spirit very open to the esoteric. I also needed her to be very versed in WW II so to accomplish that I made her a pacifist who felt that knowledge about war is the key to avoiding them.
As Maggie grew and developed I made her an active pacifist who had participated in London protests of the Iraq war.
Maggie grew very near and dear to my heart and creating her slowly but surely pushed me into pacifism; as I am a writer through my words I can help people to become aware.
With the current state of the world, do you believe that we will ever have true peace in our time?
I used to think that Maggie was believable as a character because she was young enough to BELIEVE. Lately I have read a bit on Gandhi or explored the principles of pacifist rebellion. It is true that the hope I felt; surely with many around the world, in the Arab Spring when I finished The Bridge of Deaths is now so tainted by so much blood shed and destruction.
It is unlikely that World Peace is near, but as parent why not instill in the younger generations an acceptance of the possibility so that they may perhaps achieve what has for us been so elusive. If we do not at least discuss it; how can it possibly be so?
But I guess the honest answer to IN OUR TIME? It would be a miracle, an enormous miracle and thankfully, I believe in miracles.
Many thanks to MCV Egan for joining of this week! And everyone, remember to leave comments with your thoughts on peace or the possibility of peace in our time for the chance to win Kindle editions of The Bridge of Deaths and Choose Me.
Happy reading (and writing)!