An Evening at the Starlight is a story I wrote for the Noble Romance Timeless Desire Blog Tour. With such a theme, I knew I'd have to tap my sentimentality and so I did.
I've been a non-professional genealogist for many years and in that time, I've uncovered some incredible stories within my own family tree. One involved my great-Uncle Roy, who died in a flood in 1945, leaving behind a young wife and four small children.
Though I never met Roy, I did meet his wife, Dorothy, many years later, in 1997. She was a frail woman of 82 at the time and we enjoyed several afternoons talking about Roy and the hard-scrabble life they'd shared for all too few years.
"I told him not to go," she said, when I asked her about the day of the flood. "It had been raining for hours and the creek had flooded its banks. He went to work anyway and on the way, he and another man stopped to help a family trying to get some of their things out of the house, as the foundation was shaky."
Aunt Dorothy cried when she told me how the whole house shifted and came off its foundation, sending Roy downstream, where he was found several hours later. "I told him not to go," she said over and over, as tears streamed down her face.
The entire time, she held a tiny photograph of her, Roy, and their oldest daughter, the only image she'd ever had of the man she still loved, some fifty-two years after his death. "He was so kind, so loving. He loved to kiss."
That story has stayed with me and became the one I loosely based An Evening at the Starlight on.
Starlight tells the story of Royal and Doe. A young man comes into the Starlight, a 1940's bar, marital troubles on his mind. Bud, the bar keep, hears him out and then relates the story, in the hopes that John can understand the deeper meaning behind the words.
Being a huge fan of noir, I do hope the reader feels that vibe.
When it came time to title the story, I discussed it with my husband and he said, "An Evening at the Starlight." It fit beautifully and lent to the '40s feel of the piece.
One last bit of trivia. The woman in the frame on the cover is actually my mother. Her name was Gladys Isabelle Sweener Martinson and a lovely woman she was. She was Roy's niece and knew him well when she was a child.
She loved to dance, as did Doe. Mom died in 1999 at the age of 70 and she is truly missed. I thought it quite fitting that she be the image of Doe for the story. I think she'd have like that very much.
Here's the blurb for An Evening at the Starlight:
John has a hard time forgiving and forgetting, and his wife Christie’s tired of trying.
Doe and Royal’s love story reaches through the years and gives hope to a young man who’s lost hope in his relationship. An Evening at the Starlight and a tale of a once in a lifetime love that wouldn’t die might be exactly what John needs to move past the hurt and cherish the love he has.
Click here to read an excerpt and to purchase An Evening at the Starlight.
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