Six female authors will speak during Women's History Month panel
In honor of Women’s History Month, Wilton Library will hold a panel discussion with six of the nine female authors of Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War on the book’s official release date, Tuesday, March 1.
Fall of Poppies is an anthology that revolves around the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, also known as Armistice Day — the final day of World War I.
“I was intrigued by this concept of time and how just because the war ended didn’t mean everyone who suffered because of it had ceased their suffering,” said Heather Webb, author, freelance editor, blogger, and Mansfield resident who came up with the idea for the book.
From the perspectives of a war hero’s widow to a Belgian rebel, Fall of Poppies contains short stories of love, loss and hope told with raw, powerful and poignant emotions through various points of view.
While each story has a different setting, inspiration and take on fictional experiences of World War I, Webb said she wanted the book to focus on “what people had lost, what they had gained and what they hoped still existed” following the war.
For her short story, Webb wrote about a German-born widow living in France who seeks revenge after losing her son during the war.
“She married a Frenchman, who’s been killed, and then her son goes off to war,” said Webb. “After she receives a letter about her son’s death, she basically goes on a revenge mission.”
Instead of turning her “intense loss” inward, Webb said, she thought it would be an “interesting and different take on grief” to write about a woman’s turning it outward.
As a mother herself, Webb asked herself, “What would be most horrible thing that could happen to me?” The answer, she said, would be losing her husband and children.
“I wanted to go there and see, emotionally, how that would be and how this woman could deal with it and confront it,” she said.
“There’s a very cinematic quality about the story. There’s action and excitement, and it actually ends with a happy ending.”
Webb said she was also intrigued by the concept of “an outsider living in a country other than their own … and how they assimilate,” which is why she told the story of a German-born woman living in France at a time when France and Germany were at war.
After coming up with the idea for Fall of Poppies, Webb found eight other historical fiction authors to contribute to the book:
- Jessica Brockmole
- Hazel Gaynor
- Evangeline Holland
- Marci Jefferson
- Kate Kerrigan
- Jennifer Robson
- Beatriz Williams
- Lauren Willig
Brockmole, Gaynor, Robson, Williams, and Willig will join Webb at the author panel, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room.
“We will probably talk about the inspiration behind each of our stories and then open it up to questions and answers and maybe read a few pages from the book,” said Webb.
Webb said she is excited not only to talk with readers but also to meet her co-authors — some of whom she’s never met in person.
A Q&A and book-signing will follow the panel discussion. Copies of the book — which is No. 1 on Amazon.com’s list of Hot New Releases in Historical Fiction Anthologies as of Feb. 22 — will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of Elm Street Books in New Canaan.
There is no charge, but registration is highly recommended.