Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Last Cuckoo

My first novel lies in the midst of the second draft, begging to be edited. I have no excuse to drag my feet on it, really. But instead of buckling down to it, I've been busily writing chunks of my new WIP, as they sizzle in my mind and demand their turn to be heard.

The new WIP sprang from bits of unused research for the last novel. What can I say? I'm a sucker for WWII stories set in Poland. The tentative title is The Last Cuckoo, another name with a double-meaning, springing from the cuckoo symbolism I use in the story. Cuckoos are common birds in Poland, and to hear one sing means a year of prosperity. But what if the MC sees one, up close, but it refuses to sing? It's spring of 1939, and terrible things are ahead.

The story begins a full half-year before Hitler's invasion-- with massive university protests against Germany. One of those scarcely known facts that helped spark the plot. Student activists were well aware of what was happening, far from being surprised. They even expected a Nazi invasion in April, at the time of Hitler's birthday.

Another interesting bit of research I've been doing involves an obscure concentration camp in Lodz, Poland, set up a month after the invasion specifically for intellectuals--doctors, professors, actors, writers, artists, and most of all, activists. Getting rid of these people was Hitler's first priority. But, imprisoned in terrible conditions, these intellectuals banded together in incredible displays of solidarity.

The camp was burned down in 1945, to cover up the evidence, but I was able to find photos of the former factory-turned-concentration-camp as it looked during the war (not to be confused with the memorial set up in its place.)

I love the new WIP, and writing in first person is like candy-- it's so effortless to get inside the MC's head. For now, I need to get back to my editing, but I look forward to writing more of it when inspiration strikes again.

1 comment:

Jenny Graman Meyer said...

Hey Rose!
Thanks for visiting my blog! I see we have much in common, although I suspect your overall resarch on Poland is better than mine is at this point - I've spent my time concentrating on gypsies and their culture, and no so much on Poland overall. Maybe we can share notes sometime! Hey, you don't happen to speak Polish do you? I may need someone to translate some documents I got from a very nice currator at the museum in Tarnow.