SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: My next book, THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT (Maggie Hope #4) is coming out this July. I'm finally, finally, finally done with corrections and it's in ARC form now, with my last edits in. (Whew!)
And so I'm now working on Maggie Hope #5, MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE. Some of you may remember my post about visiting Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA, tracing Winston Churchill's steps as he visited President Roosevelt and the First Lady in December 1941, after Pearl Harbor.
But how to get from there to actually plotting a World War II mystery?
Research, research, research.
What's fascinating to me is that the UK's "Official Secrets Act" — which cloaked much of what went on behind-the-scenes in World War II has been lifted — giving us access to people and stories we've never heard before.
One of those stories is told by Helen Fry, in her 2012 book, THE M ROOM: Secret Listeners Who Bugged the Nazis During World War II. Here's a brief description:
The story of the M Room was also a documentary, called BUGGING HITLER'S GENERALS, which was first broadcast on PBS in the U.S, in .
Now, this is where it gets fun, like those children's "follow the dots" games...
The book and documentary talk about how Nazi officers let slip information about the V2 rocket program. That led me to:
SPIES IN THE SKY,
and the NOVA documentary on PBS: 3D SPIES OF WORLD WAR II.
So, we have a secret Nazi rocket-building facility.
We have RAF Spitfires flying over and taking photos, not really understanding what they're seeing.
We have a round-up of high level Nazis in British held prisoner in a British manor house, with every conversation being secretly recorded.
We have some of the Brits looking at the photos who believe that what they're seeing is the next Nazi mega-weopon.
On the other hand, we have people like Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his advisors not convinced and not willing to pledge manpower to bomb the site....
What they need is a something called a Wild (pronounced "vilt") A5 machine to turn the photographs in to 3D and give them more information....
Britain doesn't have one, so they'll need to — somehow — smuggle one out of Germany....
And we now have a ticking clock — can the Brits (and now the Americans) find the Wild A5 and bring it back to England and convince Churchill and the others to bomb the site before the Nazi V2 program is fully operational?
And I think we have the building blocks of a subplot!
(Thank you for playing along at home.)
Reds, how do you get from research to a plot line?
Readers who are also writers, what do you do?