Friday, June 3, 2022

Nancy Cole Silverman--The Navigator's Daughter

DEBORAH CROMBIE: What an inspiring week we're having! I've been looking forward to Nancy Cole Silverman's THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER, which debuts next Tuesday, June 7th.

It's just the sort of book to get stuck into for a good summer read, and I love her answer to the perennial, "Where do you get your ideas?" I've heard some authors get a little impatient with this question but it is always one of my favorite things to talk about, and I'm equally fascinated by other authors' answers. What could be more interesting than the magic of the creative process?


Inspiration!  From Whence Does It Come?

BY Nancy Cole Silverman

As writers, we’re always being asked where we come up with our ideas or the inspiration for a story?  For me, that initial spark can be anything; a sight, a sound, or even a smell—like a sweet perfume or the briny scent of salt air. For an instant, I get a picture in my mind’s eye, a flash of an idea that like an earworm, won’t leave me alone until I’ve put something down on paper.  

Sometimes, I describe that story-flash like the cover of a jigsaw puzzle. It comes to me briefly like a colorful picture on a box then when I sit down to write, it crumbles in front of me, as though someone has turned the box upside down and all the pieces have fallen in a mix onto my desk.  It’s then I know my job is to comb through the tabs and put the picture back together again.

That’s how the story for THE NAVIGATOR’S DAUGHTER, captured me.  I was sorting through old family photos shortly after my father passed, and I came across of picture of dad with his crew taken in Italy towards the end of the war.  Dad was a navigator/bombardier, and they were shot down over Hungary on their 13th mission.   



I had heard the story since I was a young girl, but looking at the photo, I couldn’t help but wonder about what had happened to dad and members of his crew while they were MIA? He had never told me.

Then, years ago, after the Iron Curtain fell, my dad got a letter from a young man in Hungary who said he had found my dad’s plane. Dad asked me to correspond with the man and eventually, he even asked if I might like to come to visit and see the country. Holding that letter in my hand and looking at the photo of my dad and his crew, was the spark that started me thinking...what if?

What if, is the phrase that sends me and writers like me running to the keyboard.  What about you? What is that sparks your creative thought process? 

DEBS: I LOVE this story! Nancy, you'll have to tell us if you went to Hungary. And which one of those handsome young men is your dad? I also love your image of the shattering puzzle. I've had that experience, where you suddenly get the whole book in one piece, then once you start picking apart the story it falls apart. Then, of course, you start the painstaking process of sticking it all back together.

Here's more about THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER:

Getting caught in the middle of an international art theft ring wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal Kat Lawson made with her dying father. But when her father receives a mysterious letter informing the former WW2 navigator/bombardier that his downed B-24 has been found and asking him to come to Hungary, Kat suspects this is all part of some senior rip-off scam. Her father insists she goes, not only to photograph the final resting place of his plane but also to find the mother and son who risked their lives to rescue him and hid him in a cave beneath an old Roman fortress. Kat’s trip uncovers not only the secrets of the cave where her father hid and of those who rescued him but a secret that will forever change the direction of her life—that is—if she can get home safely.

You can pre-order it here!


After twenty-five years in NewsTalk radio, Nancy Cole Silverman retired to write fiction. Her Carol Childs Mysteries features a single mom whose day job as a reporter at an LA radio station often leads to long nights solving crimes. Her Misty Dawn series is centered on An aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her day-to-day activities as a consultant to LAPD. Silverman’s newest work, The Navigator’s Daughter, is scheduled for release June 2022. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

READERS, are you interested in where writers get their ideas?


48 comments:

  1. I am always intrigued by the things that trigger a story idea for a writer and this is simply fascinating, Nancy . . . I can't wait to read the book now!

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    1. Joan, Nancy is also a twin!

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    2. Nancy Cole SilvermanJune 3, 2022 at 10:46 AM


      The jigsaw puzzle came to me one day when I was stuck in the middle as we all so often are, and when I went back to my original idea there it was...a brief flash of the story like the cover of a jigsaw puzzle. I spent the next year and a half sorting through those various tabs. Finally, it came together. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  2. It's always interesting to see the inspiration behind a story. Reading this book, you can tell the inspiration is personal.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. The research for this book was inspiring. So many young men with so much to lose, who faced fear and danger and never stopped to question their mission.

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  3. NANCY: Congratulations on your newest book! I am fascinated with how authors find the idea for a new book. THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER has an obviously personal link to your late father. I enjoyed your Carol Childs & Misty Dawn books, and am looking forward to reading this one.

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    1. Thank you, Grace. The Navigator's Daughter was indeed a more personal journey for me, and one that I shared with my dad before his passing. While a lot of the story is inspired by my dad's experiences, I felt the navigator in him guide me as I wrote.

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  4. Amazing inspiration, Nancy, and congratulations. I also want to know - did you go? And did you go back for the research?

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    1. Yes, I went to Hungary prior to my idea for the book. My father used to say he wished he could have gone under different circumstances, as the country I saw was not like that he experienced, but the thoughts and feelings I took home I used for the book.

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  5. Your dad must have had quite the experience, Nancy. I'm also interested in whether you went to Hungary or not. One of my grandmothers was Hungarian, and I've always wanted to go there. I look forward to some armchair traveling with you!

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    1. I did go to Hungary, and I feel fortunate that I've been able to travel in Europe and use a lot of the experiences I've had in this book and in books to come. The Navigator's Daughter, was a gift to me, that has allowed me to relive a lot of the experiences.

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  6. Welcome Nancy, what an amazing story! tell us more...please!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lucy. The Navigator's Daughter is the first in a new series of books, and one five years ago, I couldn't imagine writing. But inspiration comes from many places and finding my dad's flight logs, opened the door to a journey I hadn't planned on taking. But I'm happy I'm able to.

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  7. Nancy, welcome to JRW and thank you for sharing the story behind the story. I am fascinated. When the letter arrived from Hungary, did your father share more about the crew and what happened to them in Hungary?

    Your book sounds terrific. It is on my TBR list for sure! What year is your story set in? Those of us whose fathers were enlisted in WWII are now of "a certain age." Some of us are even older than that!

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    1. Judy, thank you for asking. Yes, the letter that arrived from Hungary opened a conversation my dad and I hadn't really ever had. It was an opportunity for me to ask questions and learn more about what it must have been like for him, at barely twenty years old to face the evils of war that he and his crew had to face. My dad, just like in the book however asked me to correspond with the young man who wrote the letter. And it was only after he died and I found the letter again that I realized I had a story to tell.

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    2. Judy, the story is set in dual timelines. Both 1989, right after the break up of the USSR, and 1945, toward the end of the war.

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    3. I wondered about the timeline, too. That makes sense.

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  8. Nancy, sounds like an amazing story, and it's so fascinating to think about the way a tiny flash of inspiration can become a book.

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    1. I think writers are often inspired by the smallest of actions...if only there were enough time to follow all those inspirations.

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  9. What a fascinating inspiration, Nancy! Yes, please do tell us more. Meanwhile I am looking forward to reading your book.

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    1. Judy, thank you for comments. This book allowed me to journey back in time and I've tried to it justice. I hope you get a chance to read it. It was inspirational to write.

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  10. Yes, it's a fascinating journey to see the concept of an idea leads to a creation of a story

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    1. I remind myself while I'm writing and often find myself impatient, that it takes so long to complete a book, that it's the journey that counts.

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  11. Hank Phillippi RyanJune 3, 2022 at 9:46 AM

    I love to talk about where ideas came from! Sometimes they’re instant, sometimes they emerge. This sounds fabulous! yes, do, tell us more! congratulations!

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    1. Thank you, Hank. As you know, sometimes those ideas are hard to harness, and other times they won't leave you alone until you sit down and write. Whatever their energy, I'm happy to have my mind clouded with them, despite the illusion of clouds, they brighten my day.

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  12. I love hearing about where the ideas come from, and your book's origin story is fascinating, Nancy. I'm off to find your stories for my Kindle. Congratulations on this newest book!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. The research was inspirational, and I tried very hard to do it justice.

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  13. The "earworm" analogy for ideas that just won't leave you alone so resonates with me. And I love the inspiration for this book, and I'm glad you got to go to Hungary. This sounds fascinating, and I'm impressed and intrigued that you wrote it even as you have two series. How did it differ for you to write a standalone vs. a series book?

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    1. Jess, thank you for comments. I began this book as a stand alone, and when iIcame to the last page, I realized, it could be a series. I added a page to the end with a note to publisher that showed an alternative ending, whereby the daughter's story continues. My published like the idea and THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER, is actually the first of a new series. I hope you'll get a chance to read it.

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    2. Deborah, thank you so much for sponsoring me today. Your introduction was perfect.

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  14. Congratulations, Nancy! I look forward to reading your latest. Did your dad talk about the war? Mine never did.

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    1. Very seldom. He talked mostly about the brotherhood of those he flew with. He never mention the dark hours or the fear they must have know. It wasn't until after he passed and I found his flight log and a diary that I realized just how perilous those years were for him.

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  15. Congratulations, Nancy! Yes, perfect inspiration for a book. Thank you for the pre-order link - I used it :) I had a client who was shot down in WWII and ended up in Switzerland. Swiss detainees were very well treated. Hungary would have been a different matter, I suspect. Did you go? Was it your dad's plane?

    Your path to inspiration parallels mine. It can be the tiniest thing and triggers a story, but once it done, I'm toast.

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    1. Hi Kait, and thank you for stopping by to comment. Oh those earworms, they won't leave you alone, nor should they, until they end up on the page. I did go to Hungary, and yes, the DOD did confirm it was my dad's plane.

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    2. Just reading that gives me goose bumps. Off to order your book, Nancy!

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    3. That is so cool, Nancy. I'm glad you got there! I can only imagine the emotion.

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  16. Well, I've discovered I can comment as myself if I do it on my phone! The wonders of Blogger will never cease.

    Nancy, this immediately caught my interest, because I, too, and the daughter of a navigator/bombardier. My father flew B-47s, and died during a January training flight in the high Adirondacks. There is definitely something about having that kind of story in your past that hangs over you, and I think can be a deep well of inspiration.

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    1. There's a wealth of knowledge out there, particularly on the internet. I hooked up with my father's old unit, that still maintains a website. For years after the war, many of the survivors attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado for reunions. Today's it's the sons and daughters of this great generation.

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  17. NANCY: Welcome to Jungle Reds and Congratulations on your new novel / series! I would love to read your THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER. It looks like I will have to wait until I'm able to go to a mystery conference in person to buy your novel. I cannot find a copy at Apple eBooks or at Bookshop dot org.

    Yes, it's that spark that can inspire a novel. I always enjoy learning about where the authors get their ideas for novels. In one of my classes about Writing a Novel, I remember our teacher gave us old photos to study and to create a story about the photo. I often get my ideas about stories from photos. I'm currently writing a novel in Progress with several ideas that I got from different sources: a turning point in history, a visit to an exhibit and old photos, including photos from a diary.

    Diana

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    1. One you hit on something, or as I have come to know, a story picks you to write it, there is a wealth of information from which to draw. I think I enjoyed the research as much as I did writing this book. All of it was a gift.

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  18. That is quite a story, Nancy! It's funny how our parents never talked about WW2 in personal terms. Dad only talked about lighthearted things that happened while he was in the Army. And that's pretty much the same with my husband and my son. Rarely do details spill out. I am eager to find out some details in your book!

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    1. I don't think its unusual that our father's wouldn't have talked about something some of the things they saw during the war. I don't remember my father ever talking about anything about his missions or the bombing runs they were involved with. What he did speak of was the camaraderie among his crew and how fortunate they were to be able to come home.

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  19. Lucky me, I'm now reading The Navigator's Daughter, and it's so good. It's taking me to a setting I haven't read much but am so intrigued by, Hungary. I love being reminded of how the city of Budapest is divided by the Danube River into hilly Buda and flat Pest. This country and its capital have always had an air of mystery for me, and I'm so happy to be reading Nancy's book set there. I also have a fascination with WWII, including the American flyers, pilots and crew. I think you have a great combination of intrigue here, Nancy.

    I'm always interested in learning where authors get their ideas. Especially interesting are the connections to family history, like yours, Nancy. And, I love it when an author has seen a story in a slender thread of something they've read or seen. So many places from which ideas flow.

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    1. Kathy, I'm thrilled you're reading the book. I, of course, had a particularly strong connection to the subject of this book, and I spent a lot of time researching and thinking how I would tell this story. I wanted to be careful to be accurate and respectful of the story that inspired the novel, without treading too far afield.

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  20. I so agree, one of my all time favorite questions is: where did you get the idea, because the answer is usually very interesting... and often personal and revealing about both the author and the novel. Nancy, THE NAVIGATOR'S DAUGHTER sounds terrific. And I so admire your ability to write connecting family with history. I sometimes tape photos to my computer (or post them to the wall I face when I write) and I wonder if you did the same?

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    1. I wish I could attach a picture of that that I keep on my desk. In front of me is the picture included with this blog of my dad and his crew, plus a small model B24 and a baseball cap my dad wore with the insignia from the 781 Bomb Squadron. Very motivational.

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