Summer Vacation: Those words make my heart beat faster for two reasons. One, I love to travel and, in my mind, summer equals travel. And, two, my non-writing job involves teenagers and a rigid bell schedule. When the magical day in June rolls around and I lock my classroom door to mark the end of the school year, the fun begins.
I enjoy being home in the summer. I like sitting on the porch with my cup of coffee as I’m doing now. I might wander around in the garden snapping the heads off spent geraniums. I make treats for my kids that I don’t have time to do during the school year.
Nevertheless, my favorite part of summer is habitually the third week of June. We load the van with suitcases and snacks, strap the bikes to the top, and become nomads for the week. Our travels in recent years have taken us up and down the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Wherever we visit, be it Cape May, Virginia Beach, or St. Augustine, I’m always looking for a good story. Many of my stories have come from stateside World War II history I’ve discovered as we visited various destinations.
During the war, the eastern seaboard fortified itself against possible attack and the remains still exist. In Cape May, a concrete bunker crouches on the Jersey Shore and watchtowers dot the coast (including one inside an existing hotel). Miles south, the physical evidence is missing, but pictures and books commemorate the time when St. Augustine became a Coast Guard training station centered at the historic Ponce de Leon Hotel.
These places and their pasts have formed the beginnings of some wonderful stories for me as I’ve imagined what it was like to be alive under the shadow of WWII. All of these images are colored by the warmth of summer as that is when I saw the physical locations. When I write, I start with a place, add characters and conflict, then sprinkle in history. A good summer vacation will inevitably become a novel. I’ve celebrated Cape May in two novellas, Landed by a Flyboy and Cape May Serenade (from Desert Breeze Publishing. Plus, Ellen Takes Troy (due out in September from Wild Rose Press) takes place in St. Augustine during the last days of WWII.
I haven’t written the story of last summer’s trip to Maine, but I will. Happy Travels!
About the Author: May Williams is convinced that she read every book in the public library of her hometown as a kid. Today, her house sags under the weight of books. If she’s not reading or writing, May can be found pursuing her other two passions – sewing and running. May lives happily in a little town on the shores of Lake Erie with her husband, two children, three cats, and one oversized dog.
Over the past few years, May has been actively pursuing a writing career with four books released between 2011-2012. Landed by a Flyboy and Cape May Serenade are WWII romances set on the Jersey Shore. Enchanted by a Lily is a Regency Romance with a spunky heroine. Ellen Takes Troy tells the story of a tenacious Coast Guard Woman’s Auxiliary member stationed in St. Augustine.
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