Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series: Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook, and wrote a women's fiction, Slightly Cracked. She is currently writing an historical fiction titled Sprig of Broom. Susan interviews authors and industry experts on the blog. Web site: www.susanwhitfieldonline.com
Monday, April 15, 2013
A Pledge of Silence
Flora J. Solomon was a student nurse, wife, 3 times
a mother, baccalaureate student, biochemical researcher, graduate student,
healthcare analyst, 4 times a grandmother, retiree, and author— in that order. Coming
of age at the dawn of the 2nd wave of the women’s liberation
movement, she embraced the opportunities that were opening to women. Decades
later, she continues to broaden the scope of her life beyond what she had ever
imagined. Asked her life’s accomplishes, she will reply: her long marriage, her
3 children, her two college degrees, and now—her book, A Pledge of Silence. This
latest endeavor is the culmination of her belief in continuing education, years
of work experience in the healthcare field, and a love for history and
Thanks, Susan. It's nice to be here.
do you live, and how much has your environment affected your writing?
I live in a golf
community just outside Southport, North Carolina, the picturesque town where
Nicholas Sparks’ movie Safe Haven was
filmed in the summer of 2012. I wanted to be an extra in the town scenes, but
my schedule interfered—wouldn’t that have been fun!Close by are golf courses, tennis courts,
swimming pools and, of course, the beautiful North Carolina beaches. The availability
of physical and social activity nicely balances my proclivity to be a
I love Southport and I've been there a few times for writing inspiration myself! How
many books have your written?
Pledge of Silence is my first book and it took me eight
years to write it. Though business writing was part of my career, writing
fiction was new to me. I had to study,learn, and practice. Additionally, the subject required extensive research
which I loved doing.
Congratulations on the book. Give
a short synopsis.
Pledge of Silence is a World War II novel about the U. S.
military nurses working in the Philippines. Though rumors of war circulate, they
feel safe until December 8, 1941, when the Japanese bomb the island. Evacuating
with U.S. troops, they care for sick and wounded soldiers in open air field
hospitals in the jungles of Bataan, then in underground tunnels on the island
of Corregidor. Ultimately taken prisoners of war, the nurses doubt their
survival as they languish for 3 years in a Japanese prison camp.
After the war, the
nurses’ story was forgotten until 1999 when Elizabeth Norman published We Band of Angels, a notable non-fiction
account. My desire is to bring this riveting story to the aficionados of
your characters take on a life of their own? If so, which one is your favorite?
After living in this
story for over 8 years, both the actual WWII nurses known as the Angels of
Bataan, and my fictional nurses are like my friends. In March 2013, I read in
the New York Times that Mildred Manning, the last Angel of Bataan, had died at
the age of 98. I vaguely felt that someone I knew had passed, and that it was
an end of an era. Of my fictional nurses, it was Gracie’s incredible strength
of character that developed on its own and surprised me the most.
much of you is hidden the characters of your book?
Not much, if any, however,
I did draw on some personal experiences. I was a student nurse for a time in
the 1960s. I did not finish the 3 year program, but my characterization of the
program—the grueling schedule, the hard-bitten instructors of the era, and the irreverent
attitude of the student nurses—were from my memory. What I gained from the 18
months of training was a vocabulary and a knowledge of techniques and procedures.
It was a short jump to retrofit my knowledge to the 1930s.
advice can you give new writers?
My advice for other new
writers is to listen to your readers and be open to criticism. I gave my
manuscript to friends and family members and asked them to please tell me what
they didn’t like. Many were reluctant to criticize, but I was grateful to those
all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
self-published, promotion falls on my shoulders alone. At this date, A Pledge of Silence has been available
for only 3 months. I am pleased, so far, with the online exposure it is getting
through KDP Select. Their free downloads (I know—an anathema to some authors)
have been very fruitful. Goodreads, Library Thing, and Shelfari are websites
I’ll be building a presence on over the next few months, and I plan to check
out blog tours.
The North Carolina
Writer’s Network is a great place to make connections. I have been a member for
years, and through their regional chapter, I found this blog www.susanwhitfield.blogspot.
The library and several book clubs have scheduled me for presentations. Local
bookstores and gift shops are happy to carry my paperback book on consignment.
Yes, the NC Writer's Network is very supportive of us. I'm so glad you contacted me. I love learning about other Carolina writers.
can folks learn more about your book and events?
Please visit my
to learn more about me, my book, and to browse through my heroine’s album
displaying pictures of pre-war Manila—the Pearl of the Orient, the jungle
hospitals on Bataan, the catacomb of tunnels on Corregidor, and the nurses
desolate life while in Santo Tomas Internment Camp.
A Pledge of Silence is
available on Amazon both as a paperback and as an e-book. The Amazon link: