I’m off travelling. Where do we start to research our Novel? What place? What timeframe? Let’s take – The Lute Maker. Set in WW2, I have put my protagonist –Rosamond Heines living in the town of Almelo in Overijssel in 1940. She is 18 years old.
For those who want to Google, it’s a town of 72,000 inhabitants in Eastern Netherlands and received city rights in 1394.
We first meet Rosamond in 1983 when her son Paul evacuates his mother from her home on Mount Macedon. It’s the season for devastating bush fires. For those who know the area, Mount Macedon is just outside of Woodend in Victoria.
Between the dates of 1940 when the occupation begins on the 10th May, and 1983 when Rosamond confronts her past, is the baseline of the story. We start building her character and see her family move from the larger city of Enschede to Almelo a week before the Germans drive sedately over the Dutch border a mere 30 kilometres away and change their lives forever.
My research begins. Plan. Set out my characters and weave the story. Easy. Not so. Five characters would be enough. Surely not. So, lets find 10 names we like, using the Name Generator in my Scrivener program and see what happens. Below is how it's set up in Scrivener.
Aged 18 years in 1940. Name; —-Rozamond Heines
Born - 23rd November 1922. Enschede, Overijssel
Married - Markus Fiestmann - 1st December 1944 - aged 20 years.
Parents - Mother - Wilma DeHeer Father - Rikki Heines
Two sisters both younger by two years - twins. Hendrika and Yvonna
Children of marriage - Paul Fiestmann born 1946 Almelo, Overijssel - Berendina (Dianna) born 1948, Almelo, Overijssel.
Immigrated to Australia 1950. Changed the family name to Festman
Now a few facts.
Rozamond becomes involved with the resistance movement. The Comet line. Rescuing downed airmen and helping them hide until passed on to other’s down the line. She is attractive and vibrant and works hard to disguise the fact she is looking for love. Her papers are genuine, but she travels under difference aliases.
In 1942 she forms an attachment with a young Dutch student by the name of Arie, He unknown to her he is working for the Germans. She is cautious and wary that she is not discovered. Arie betrays her to the local Gestapo Officer. He is waiting to pick her up, outside Cafe Poolee. But there is something he doesn't know, she has disappeared to her grandmother’s farm and goes into hiding.The lies continue.
Image – What she may have looked like. It’s a modern day take, but I wanted to see her facial features.