Friday, August 2, 2019

#67 Inside The Emotion of Fiction's BEAUTIFUL INVENTION: A NOVEL OF HEDY LAMARR by Margaret Porter

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****Margaret Porter’s BEAUTIFUL INVENTION: A NOVEL OF HEDY LAMARR is #67 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Has this been published?  If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Published October, 2018 by Gallica Press. 

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I began intensive research in Spring 2016, began writing in July 2016, completed the novel before spring 2018.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  I started writing the first chapter at my mother’s house during a visit. But mostly I wrote it on the sofa in the sitting room/library (Right) of my main house, or on the screened porch at our lake house (Below Left)

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I write on a laptop, seated in a sofa or comfy chair. Sometimes I write scenes in longhand, with pen and paper. I drink tea with milk. When writing I listen to music, I even “watch” television. I like having ambient sound of some sort. Normally I write only during the day, but when close to deadline I will work in the evening as well. I collected numerous photographs of Hedy Lamarr, vintage magazines with articles about her, and other ephemera like Hedy Lamarr paper dolls, and even a household object that is supposed to have belonged to her. 

What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Hollywood Beauty. Brilliant inventor. The incredible true story of a remarkable and misunderstood woman.
Ambitious young Austrian actress Hedwig Kiesler is tainted by her nudity in the art film Ecstasy, but a hasty marriage to a munitions mogul is no refuge from scandal. Repelled by his possessiveness—and her discovery that he supplies arms to Hitler—Hedy flees husband and homeland for Hollywood. But professional success as glamorous Hedy Lamarr clashes with her personal life as marriage and motherhood compete with the demands of studio and stardom. Roused to action by Nazi atrocities during World War II, Hedy secretly invents a new technology intended for her adopted country’s defense—and unexpectedly changes the world.

Click on below link to watch Hedwig Kiesler in ECSTACY

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? At this point in the novel, Hedy is tortured by news of the latest German attack on a ship carrying British children away from Luftwaffe bombings to safety in Canada.

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. pp. 275-275
     Going to the nursery, Hedy found Jamesie awake but drowsy from his afternoon nap. She lifted him from the crib and carried him to her workroom. While he amused himself with a stuffed piglet, she searched her bookshelves for the latest edition of Mellor’s Modern Inorganic Chemistry. Her hand closed on the spine as the London bulletin began. The lead report carried the news she dreaded most.
     Not again.
     Another German U-boat had torpedoed another British transport bound for Montreal. A Royal Navy destroyer in the vicinity was able to rescue the survivors who had boarded lifeboats. The crew and an unknown number of the passengers—evacuees, mostly children—had gone down with the ship.
     Rage and wretchedness consumed Hedy as she gazed at her son, unaffected by the inhumanity of war. Motivated by love and desperation, mothers and fathers had unselfishly placed their sons and daughters on that unnamed vessel, believing it would carry them to safety, far away from the Nazi menace. Their present agony was beyond imagining. Their losses shredded her heart.
     The remainder of the broadcast was devoted to the usual recounting of bombing sorties over Britain.
     She stared at the papers spread across her desk. Her eyes were riveted to a summary of that long-ago conversation with the German propulsion engineer. Had one of Hellmuth Walter’s wire-guided torpedoes blasted the British ship into bits? He’d been trying to perfect an alternative method of directing the weapon to its target. Aircraft missiles, he’d told her, could be controlled remotely, by a specific and unique radio frequency that couldn’t be blocked by an adversary. Jamming, he’d called it.
     The Allies would gain a much-needed advantage in naval combat, if they possessed an underwater torpedo that was impervious to signal interception. And when the United States entered the war—it was essential, for the future of mankind—the military would require significant technological innovation to prevail. For that very reason, the government had convened the National Inventors’ Council.
     It was Jamesie’s suppertime, so Hedy couldn’t pursue this train of thought. He was more interested in rolling his meatballs across the plate with his plump forefinger than in eating them, but she couldn’t bring herself to discipline him tonight. On the other side of the world, grieving mothers of drowned children were remembering moments like this one.
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I shared the heartbreak that Hedy felt, and reading the news accounts and reactions of parents who lost children was wrenching. This scene doesn’t only depict Hedy’s emotional response to a tragedy, it’s crucial to the creation of the “beautiful invention.” During World War II, Hedy Lamarr developed frequency hopping and spread spectrum technology to give the Allies an advantage over the Germans at sea. After repeated torpedo attacks on child evacuee transport ships, she was motivated to use information she absorbed as wife of an Austrian weapons manufacturer to devise a wireless torpedo for the Allies that couldn’t be intercepted by the enemy. 
Her invention resulted from maternal emotion and empathy, grief from the many deaths of innocent children, combined with intense desire to defeat Hitler, who had invaded her native Austria and committed atrocities against Jews and other groups.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I don’t remember that this section changed much from the original. I haven’t got an original draft, or anything marked up that I can share.

Other works you have published? I’m the author of 12 other novels. The one before Beautiful Invention was A Pledge of Better Times, also biographical fiction, set in the royal courts of the late 17th century.        
          MARGARET PORTER is the award-winning, bestselling author of Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr and twelve other historical novels for U.S. and foreign-language publishers. After studying British history in the U.K., she worked professionally in theatre, film, and television. A historian and avid traveler, Margaret returns annually to Great Britain and Europe to research her novels. She lives in New England with her husband and their dogs, dividing her time between an architecturally unique book-filled house in a small city and a waterfront cottage on one of the region’s largest lakes.
Instagram: @authormargaretporter
Twitter: @MargaretAuthor


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