I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Audry Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday
Today Audry is visiting my blog to share her inspiration for writing her book
How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel
In the summer of 2016, I agreed to take a stack of photocopies, 109 translated letters to be exact, and portray the story they told in a novel format.
It would be no easy feat. On that day, as I shifted the bulky weight of all those papers in my hands, I felt exhilaration to read what secrets these letters from nearly a hundred years ago held.
Little did I know that it would take five years and countless drafts until those letters became a novel suitable for publishing. Or that I would fill an entire notebook with my thoughts and ideas during that time. But in the end, all the hard work and perseverance paid off!
On a warm summer day in June 1921, a young man named Gianni wrote a brief love letter to his new love interest, Rosina. Since Rosina and Gianni had immigrated from Italy, he wrote this letter in Italian.
In the letter, Gianni had invited Rosina to meet him on a Philadelphia street corner for a date. However, Rosina had fallen ill, an event that would lead to a prolonged separation. From that point forward, their romance relied only on their love letters and brief visitations.
During their many months of separation, Rosina would keep nearly every letter she and Gianni had exchanged. She eventually carefully archived them in a photograph album, sliding each letter behind a plastic sleeve. Then, she placed that album into a cardboard box with other sentimental heirlooms from Italy and stored them in her attic.
When Rosina died many decades later, different family members took ownership of this box containing the letters placing it in their attics for safekeeping. When the family member passed away, the box would move to the next family member’s attic.
On and on, it moved over the years, person to person, attic to attic. Until one day, a family member became curious about the box’s contents. She became particularly intrigued by the album containing the letters and shared her find with three of Rosina’s granddaughters, sisters, Linda, Susan, and Laurie.
These three sisters, Rosina’s granddaughters, were desperate to read the letters. However, Rosina and Gianni wrote in a regional dialect that could not be easily translated.
The contents of the letters would remain a mystery until an unlikely opportunity for their translation transpired many decades later. Call it divine intervention or good luck; the letters found their way to a translator traveling to the same region of Italy that speaks the same dialect.
The translator, Biago, a professor at the University of Delaware at the time, worked with his family living in Italy to translate the letters. He told the sisters that he and his wife would read the letters aloud with him reading Gianni’s and his wife reading Rosina’s.
Biago was so impressed by the story the letters portrayed, he wrote a beautiful letter about his feelings. His letter is displayed on the beginning pages of the novel.
The Choice to Write a Novel
When the sisters, Linda, Susan, and Laurie, read the translation and what their grandmother had lovingly stored, they were astonished. They felt compelled to share this unique and beautiful love story with the world.
First, Linda, Susan, and Laurie pursued transforming the letters into a movie screenplay. They met with executives with ties to Hollywood. However, after the success of The Notebook, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, the market wasn’t welcoming to another story about letters.
Instead, the sisters received the advice to first create a novel based on the letters. After a brief search for a ghostwriter, Laurie suggested my name. Since she’s married to my husband’s uncle, we were basically family. And she knew that I had previously self-published two women’s fiction ebooks.
I was thrilled to be entrusted with telling the story of the letters. Aside from my already established connection with this family, my background made me well-suited to write this story. My grandparents had also lived in Philadelphia. And I, too, had an Italian grandmother. Plus, like Rosina and Gianni, I was raised Roman Catholic.
As I mentioned, writing this novel took many drafts and multiple versions. I began by reading through all the letters dozens of times. When Linda typed the letters from the translations, she numbered each letter. As I took copious notes, the numbers helped tremendously with the organization.
Next, along with Linda’s, Susan’s, and Laurie’s input, I selected which letters to feature in the novel. Some of the letters repeated the same message. In some instances, I combined two letters that seemed to go together.
Determining what happened between the letters became the biggest challenge. I conferred with the sisters on their theories of what must have happened. I structured and restructured the story. I considered adding different elements, such as more than one narrator.
Also, I spent long hours researching places such as 1920s Philadelphia, Willow Grove Amusement Park (which no longer exists), and Atlantic City. Also, I studied the transportation system and railways, common illnesses such as tuberculosis, and what it was like to live in a sanatorium.
All of that hard work resulted in what I initially called “a hot mess.” Although we all could see this draft’s potential, it needed an objective opinion. After conferring with Linda, Susan, and Laurie, we concluded we desperately needed an editor.
Fortunately, the editor they hired, Anya Kagan of Touchstone Editing, was more than up to the task. She took on the challenge of the developmental edit.
When she finished her assessment, I discovered that I would be nearly starting over with writing the novel. However, now I had the advantage of her editorial direction. And I knew the letters inside, outside, and upside down.
After working on the revisions for several months, I returned the manuscript to our editor for her assessment. To my relief, I received welcome news. The novel format now worked. The details in the story aligned and made sense.
Plus, thanks to a suggestion from Laurie’s friend early in the process, we had the perfect title for the novel – “Until Next Sunday.”
Since the story belongs to Linda, Susan, and Laurie’s family, they wisely did not want to give up the rights to a conventional publisher. Instead, they found an independent publisher, Lindsey Evans Teske, who owned the publishing service, Of Ink and Pearls.
With Lindsey’s help, we began the work of turning a completed manuscript into several formats, ebook, paperback, and hardback. This process mainly went smoothly aside from creating the cover.
The cover for Until Next Sunday is a compilation of real-life photographs. Laurie arranged the images, and Lindsey sent them to a professional cover artist. Unfortunately, the cover creation encountered multiple delays. It was a stressful time because our established release date was quickly approaching.
After much anxiety, a cover artist came through for us, adding a red rose for a pop of color, a nod to both Rosina’s name, and the many moments roses appear in the story.
Finally, Until Next Sunday was published on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2022! It was a long time coming considering it had been over a hundred years since the letters were originally written.
As I’ve been told, writing the book is only half the journey. The second half becomes dedicated to marketing the book. And we’ve only just begun! We’re thrilled to be part of this blog tour through WOW! Women on Writing.
Writing the emotional love story between Rosina and Gianni has been one of the most rewarding experiences for both the sisters and me. I was awestruck to witness their courage to leave home for a better life in America and how their love overcame separation and illness.
Until Next Sunday is a portrait of the times, an authentic immigrant experience, and at its heart, a moving and beautiful love story; We are all so grateful to be able to share this story with you!
Learn more about Until Next Sunday at https://www.audryfryer.com/until-next-sunday/
Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com.
Be sure to visit all the stops along the blog tour:
Blog Tour CalendarMay 9th @ The MuffinJoin us as we celebrate the launch of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com
May 10th @ Create Write Now Today’s guest post at Create Write Now comes from Audry Fryer as she pens an article titled: “The Importance of a Talented Editor”. Hear from Audry on this important topic and find out more about her latest work: Until Next Sunday.
May 11th @ Pages & Paws Kristine from Pages and Paws reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is delighting readers – find out what Kristine thinks!https://pagesandpaws.com/May 13th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanAudry Fryer pens today’s travel inspired guest post on Rebecca J. Whitman’s blog. Find out more about Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday and the region of Italy featured in the book.https://rebeccajwhitman.com/May 16th @ What is that Book AboutToday’s book spotlight at What is that Book About is none other than Audry Fryer’s latest Until Next Sunday. Readers will want to add this gem to their TBR pile right away!https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/May 16th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanDon’t miss today’s podcast with Rebecca J. Whitman as she features Audry Fryer and Audry’s latest book Until Next Sunday.https://rebeccajwhitman.com/
May 17th @ Beverley A. BairdBeverley A. Baird welcomes Audry Fryer to her blog today. Stop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest book Until Next Sunday and find out the inside story about “How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel”https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/May 18th @ Linda Appleman ShapiroBehavioral Psychotherapist, Linda Appleman Shapiro, reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Don’t miss Shapiro’s insight on this beautiful historical romance.http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/May 19th @ A Storybook WorldA StoryBook World welcomes Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday to the spotlight today! Stop by and find out more about the historical romance everyone is talking about! http://www.astorybookworld.com/May 20th @ Rebecca J. WhitmanRebecca J. Whitman reviews Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog; don’t miss a chance to learn more about this historical romance that is delighting readers young and old!https://rebeccajwhitman.com/
May 20th @ Word MagicReaders at Fiona Ingram’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Is there a difference? Find out today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/May 24th @ Mindy McGinnisReaders at Mindy McGinnis’ blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about how to create a book club kit for your readers. Sop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog
May 24th @ Author Anthony AvinaReaders at Anthony Avina’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about Roses and what they symbolize in books. Stop by today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
May 25th @ Choices with Madeline SharplesFellow author Madeline Sharples has Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday in the spotlight at her blog today! Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!http://madelinesharples.com/
May 30th @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen OttoTeenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday. Otto can’t wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/
May 31st @ Reading is My RemedyChelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday – find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it’s talented author!https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/
June 1st @ Lisa’s ReadingLisa from Lisa’s Reading has Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!https://lisasreading.com/
June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle CreativeJudy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/
June 2nd @ Beverley A. BairdBeverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention – find out what Beverley thinks!https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/
June 3rd @ Author Anthony AvinaAuthor Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer’s latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and FashionLinda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don’t miss this insightful interview!
June 5th @ Choices with Madeline SharplesMadeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog – today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.http://madelinesharples.com/
June 9th @ The Frugalista MomThe Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won’t want to miss!https://thefrugalistamom.com/
June 10th @ World of My ImaginationWOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole’s review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance – find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!https://worldofmyimagination.com/ —