Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Guest, Victoria Janssen-On Inspiration

For Wicked Wednesday, I understand inspirational pictures are often posted. I, alas, rarely use photographs to give me character ideas, though occasionally after the story is in progress, or finished, I realize the character looks like a particular person. I do use photographs a lot, though, to both see details of clothing and weapons and to just get a feel for the period, and sometimes for inspiration. I like portraits best. I wonder what the people were thinking, and what their lives were like.

Here are some pictures of real participants in World War One, which I referred to while writing The Moonlight Mistress for Harlequin Spice.



Albert Ball, a British flying ace




An unnamed Gurkha (Nepalese) soldier, who served in the British Army




Sar Tinder from Senegal, serving with the French




More to come....

6 comments:

Kristina Cook said...

Fabulous pictures! I particularly love the one of Albert Ball--mostly because he looks *so* heartbreakingly young. World War I and the years leading up to it fascinate me--that's partly why I made the shift to writing Edwardian-set romance.

I think it's mostly because it marks the point when the western world was truly becoming 'modern' and yet there were still remnants of the 'old ways and manners' trying to survive in the midst of all the change.

One of the finest Broadway plays I've even seen was last year's (I think it was last year--I've lost track!) production of JOURNEY'S END (with Hugh Dancy, who was terrific). It was set in a bunker during WWI, basically on the eve of a battle that pretty much killed the entire unit portrayed. It really showed that old-world nostalgia, with the soldiers drinking tea in the bunker and talking about their school days, while at the same time they were forced to face the horrors all around them.

Victoria Janssen said...

I think it's mostly because it marks the point when the western world was truly becoming 'modern' and yet there were still remnants of the 'old ways and manners' trying to survive in the midst of all the change.

Yes, I think that's part of the appeal for me, too. That and probably too much youthful exposure to Peter Wimsey novels and WWI poetry.

Genella deGrey said...

I think Albert was a cutie.
Thanks again for a great post!
:)
G.

Victoria Janssen said...

You're welcome!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

These are so wonderful, and Albert...what a little baby he is. I'm sure the women swooned over him. I'd like to know his story. Did he survive, do you know Victoria?

I'd love to write a story set in WWI about the Canadian Nurses, 'the Bluebirds' they were called, and they actually worked in the field, 'triaging' the men to see who needed immediate attention and those who could wait to be moved to the tent hosptials. One nurse was devoted to going between dying men and comforting them.
There's loads of research available and I think a story like that would be incredibly emotional, yet passionate. Nothing like war and the thought of never seeing your lover again to make you forget about proprieties and class and countries.

Victoria Janssen said...

Albert Ball was killed in 1917, alas. There's a website here: http://albertball.homestead.com/
and also a detailed Wikipedia entry on his career: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Ball

Charlotte, I think the Bluebirds idea is awesome. More WWI romance! I've read some excellent memoirs by nurses. I linked a couple of favorites on this page: http://www.victoriajanssen.com/wwibooks.html
(I think Roses of No Man's Land might have a little Canadian info, but the others don't.)