Authorpreneur Dashboard – Megan Easley-Walsh

Megan  Easley-Walsh

Flight Before Dawn

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Before there was D-Day... For over two years, she’s watched him. Now he’s on her doorstep. This is life in the Resistance. In Normandy in 1943, Victoire leads a band of the Resistance. When Leal, the man she’s had watched for over two years, arrives at her doorstep, she’ll have to face new challenges in war and in love. Robberies, a kidnapping and clandestine night adventures were not at all what Victoire planned for her life. And she most certainly never planned to be betrayed. But war — and love — are unpredictable. Joined by her friend Rainier who is mistrusted by Leal, the mysterious Voleta, and Father Pierre, Victoire and Leal must struggle for survival, the grounds of France, and the material of their souls. When Leal unearths a twenty-five-year-old secret, with Victoire at the center, her whole life is shaken. As the Allies approach, the past, present and future hang in the balance. Can anyone be trusted when the world spins upside down?

Book Bubbles from Flight Before Dawn

Just what's going on? Who's admitting to what? Who

Misunderstandings and suspicions can be commonplace in life. Within novels, they are often pivotal points of the plot. When war and the need to hide for safety is added to the mix, the ante is definitely upped. Here, Victoire, leader of a French Resistance cell, is sharing dinner with her old friend Rainier and the new stranger that she's befriended. Only, Leal isn't exactly a stranger. She's had him watched for over two years. That was supposed to guarantee that he could be trusted. But can he be? The atmosphere at Victorie's dinner table is thick here. Guilt permeates the air. Something is going on. But what?

Hoping for Better Days Ahead at Christmas

Victoire and Rainier prepare for Christmas in Normandy in December of 1943. With friends and family absent, what they miss even more is peace. And, of course, Victoire is trying to grapple with betrayal from a man whom she trusted and perhaps, even loved. What will Christmas bring? And what will come to the shores of Normandy in 1944?

August 24, 1944 Liberated Paris, Scarred Land

History at times appears to be black and white in the pages of a book. Here, in this passage from Flight Before Dawn, history shows itself full of soot and ash, full of scorched ground and tattered lives. These events describe August 24th, when Paris was finally liberated from Nazi control. Why is it important to remember the destruction? History, including historical fiction, has the ability to warn others about what happened. It can seek a more peaceful future by cautioning against what has come before. It is certainly why I write about not only sunshine, but the storm clouds as well. Only in educating ourselves can we be more fully compassionate and live a life that those who fought for us wanted us to have: a life of peace. Pursuing peace is the highest honor that we can pay to their legacy.

Playing Robin Hood

Here, Rainier, a member of the French Resistance, siphons off gasoline from Nazi cars. He steams at the complacency of others, who so blindly go along with the occupation. He firmly believes that France's freedom is worth fighting for. It is a cause that he has supported for years, alongside of Victoire. What he finds more difficult is the loss of life that surrounds him. As a doctor, he seeks always to protect and preserve life, to save it. He can, at least in this scene, help to bring freedom more quickly and literally fuel the Resistance.

D-Day from the German perspective

D-Day. June 6, 1944. A day that we remember still as when the Allies landed in Normandy. In Flight Before Dawn, it is a day that Victoire yearns for and works toward, through assisting the Allies in the French Resistance. I've previously written about it from her point of view in "The Allies Are Coming" bubble. Here, we see things from the other side. Planted among the Germans, a spy is working behind the scenes. Confusion swirls for the soldiers, but Isabella, the spy, begins to hope that the longed for day has arrived. Perhaps, even more than Victoire, Isabella has yearned for this day- when her deep-seated and complicated relationship with Germany, with France, and with freedom can be resolved. What's more complicated than opposing the enemy? Sharing blood with them. Something that Isabella knows all too well. D-Day is dawning. The Allies are coming. With it, freedom will come. It must. They're desperate for it. But, the journey ahead is still long and fraught with danger. Courage is needed now more than ever.

In Stormy Waters

Thinking about my own writing, as well as what I've read, I noticed that historical fiction often starts with the beginning of a conflict or at the end. I think there are a few major reasons for this. If we take the example of world wars, there are books that deal with why the conflict first began, what happened to cause it to break out in the first place. Then, there are books that deal with the end of the war and these often celebrate how good and hope triumph over bad and how peace ultimately prevails. The beginnings of war books stand as beacons of warning, like lighthouses navigating through stormy seas. The end of war books offer solace in the midst of those stormy seas. In Flight Before Dawn, a book that begins in preparation of D-Day and so takes place as an end of war book, this observation is made by Luc, an accomplice of Victoire's: the female leader of her French Resistance cell. He also happens to be a lighthouse keeper and so he, both literally and figuratively, is involved in sailing the ship safely back into peaceful waters. Here he speaks about having courage in stormy waters and in taking one brave step at a time.

The Allies are coming!

As a leader of the French Resistance, Victoire has one goal: liberate her country. For years, they've waited for the wonderful news that hope is on the horizon. Now, at this meeting with those she leads, she is able to deliver the news she's wanted to for so long: the Allies are coming! History remembers June 6, 1944, but Victoire and the many brave members who really were part of the Resistance did not have the benefit of knowing when it would be or what would happen. Success wasn't guaranteed, but they were willing to believe that liberation would happen. The Allies depended on the work of the Resistance to aid their cause. This included sabotage, intercepting messages, and keeping notes on the terrain. This is explored throughout Flight Before Dawn.

We're strangers, aren't we?

Victoire has watched Leal for over two years, with the help of the Resistance. Leal knows nothing of this. Instead, he's navigating his way through helping the kind stranger, Victoire, while not trusting her friend Rainier. Having witnessed Rainier in a very compromising, and potentially dangerous position, Leal's fishing for more information. Victoire and Leal have entered a complicated dance of new friends, possibly love, and deciding whom to trust in the most difficult of circumstances: war in an occupied land. The carpenter will have to pay close attention to see how things measure up.

Light in the Darkness

Flight Before Dawn, tells the story of Victoire, a leader in the French Resistance, on the eve of D-Day. When Leal, the mysterious stranger whom she's had watched for over two years, arrives on her doorstep, he uncovers a 25-year-old-secret with Victoire at its center. Everything that she thought she knew shifts. In Flight Before Dawn, Luc is one of the supporting characters. Luc's lighthouse stands as a beacon on the shores of Brittany. It provides safety to the passing ships in the night. It also stands as a guiding light for Leal, as he wanders through the countryside. Not until he reaches its sheltering light is Leal able to settle into a rhythmic pace of life. In a more symbolic way, participation in the Resistance provides a light in the darkness for Victoire and her friends. Only by holding fast to what is true, their leading beacon, are they able to struggle against the oppression of war. Like a ship lost on a stormy sea, they search continually for the light, awaiting the dawning of peace.

Love Complicated by War

Having lived through the events of part one, Victoire faces an unhappy predicament. She's now not only in the middle of the war, but also has found herself in the unfamiliar territory of love, especially love complicated by not knowing who can be trusted in such a dangerous situation. After hiding her life from all for so long, as a leader in the French Resistance in WWII, she's allowed another to get close. But, was it all a terrible mistake? Will it mean more than a broken heart? Could it mean that Victoire will be caught by the authorities?

Familiar Stranger?

This is a pivotal moment from early in Flight Before Dawn. Victoire realizes that the man on her doorstep is perhaps not a stranger after all. Though she's never met him in person, she suspects that he may be Leal, who the Resistance has been watching for over two years. Face-to-face with him, she has a choice: whether to trust him or not. Can he prove himself worthy?

A Kiss to Conceal

As a leader in the French Resistance, Victoire has had Leal watched for over two years. Then, he appears on her doorstep. Now, she has to determine whether he is able to be trusted and can become a part of the French Resistance. This scene, although not planned by Victoire, demonstrates the duality of what is happening. 1) She has to know whether he is trustworthy. 2) There's an undeniable spark between them, but she has other things on her mind than love. Then, he kisses her. This is the perfect hinge on those questions, because he does so to hide her face from approaching soldiers, but he also does what they both have been wanting to do and yet resisting. Thus, he proves he's trustworthy and will take a risk to save her and he also draws them closer to each other. The soldiers' reaction to them is also telling. They dismiss Victoire and the work of the Resistance, not recognizing what is happening under their noses many times. Victoire and the others conceal the extraordinary with the ordinary. Sometimes, that is a simple kiss. Or, maybe it's not such a simple thing...

Hiding Places

Hiding places were such an important component of WWII, especially related to the Resistance. Perhaps, most famously of all, Anne Frank and her family lived hidden in a house in Amsterdam. I have seen where Anne lived. I have also visited the Corrie ten Boom home in Haarlem, where Corrie and her family helped to hide others. In this passage, Victoire is on a secret mission for the Resistance. She's driven to help, out of a strong fire within her that is committed to doing what is right and preserving life. Although Victoire is hiding money and notes, rather than actual persons, her secret contents are vital to helping to free her homeland.

Uncovering the Mystery

Father Pierre's spirit of adventure, of wondering about the past of the crypt is exactly what happens when writing historical fiction. Something intrigues the author and then there is a thread that is followed, stones that are uncovered. For the reader, discovering a story is like that too. Just one more page. Just one more step. One more mystery lurks around the corner. As a reader, and as an author, I love that sense of anticipation, that thrill of not knowing what will happen, but desperately needing to know. Living in Europe, I've been into crypts of Medieval churches, just like in this scene. There is a heaviness in the air. History is palpable. Its secrets are ready to be discovered!

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