Changing my DonaldWillerton.com website is in the works and may start next month. I will be including the text of the first two chapters of each published book displayed on the website. There will be a button with each book’s blurb that will take you to a pdf-formatted text that you can read straight off your computer screen. I’m hoping that reading the set-up and the introduction to each story will entice people to purchase and read the whole book.
Each Mogi Franklin Mystery uses the first chapter to highlight a historically-authentic, fictional incident that results in an unsolved mystery during that time period. The second chapter introduces a story set in the present day and features my two sleuths, Mogi and Jennifer Franklin. They become involved in a mystery or social situation that requires solving the historical mystery to solve their present-day problem. It takes both the first and second chapters to see the whole plot.
For SMOKE DREAMS, the prologue, set in the Canadian River valley in 1870, plus the first chapter will be featured. The first chapter begins the story in the present day. Those of you interested in the Comanche and Cowboy history of the southern plains will like this book. There’s also a house that’s been possessed by a spirit who will keep you on your toes.
For THE KING OF TRASH, the first two chapters will introduce two parallel storylines that follow ocean-cleaning and homelessness until they suddenly join to become one crisis involving genocide and betrayal. Those of you who like moral conundrums will like this book.
For TEDDY’S WAR, the first chapter is essentially (and may yet be) a prologue to the story, while the second sets the stage for my main character’s journey through World War II. I’ll be recommending this book to children of WWII veterans (like me), to people interested in military stories, and to young adults who would like a good introduction to the European Theatre of WWII.
Other changes will include more photographs related to each book, especially of the San Juan River trip that I did in July, and the trip to London and Normandy that I did in October. I would like to increase the number of photos included in each section of the photo blog.
Meanwhile, waiting for the first edit of TEDDY’S WAR, I’m continuing to read WWII-related books (I’m hooked), some research books on the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, a few books on the Shroud of Turin, and guide books that describe the Santa Fe Trail.
Next year is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Santa Fe Trail and I’m thinking that driving the roads along to the Trail would be a good and fun thing to do. The Trail officially starts at Boonville, Missouri, and terminates in Santa Fe. It’s about 800 miles by highway (a little more than 900 miles by wagon), and can be done fast or slow, depending on how many side trips, museums, gift shops, and viewing locations you want to stop at. The big thing is to see the wagon ruts that still remain along the trail and to hear tales of the early pioneers and traders.
The trip may also result in a new Mogi Franklin mystery that features the Trail, but I haven’t yet imagined a good plot. If I was smart, I’d get it written so that it was published in time for the Trail-centered events planned for the anniversary. The Santa Fe Trail Association should be hosting several.
I had to spend a couple of weeks decompressing from TEDDY’S WAR. I began writing the story a year ago and have spent a good portion of the time since then with my brain sitting in World War II. It was surprising how hard it was to stop thinking about Europe, my dad, the war, and concentration camps, and to get my mental state back to focusing on other literary things.
I’m sure that you’ve also seen newspaper and on-line references to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. April 29th is the anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, which figures prominently in my story. There were several hundred other camps in Germany and other Nazi-occupied regions of Europe, so you’ll see more liberation anniversaries between now and summer.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.