I don’t usually get too serious on this blog, but today I’m going to, because this is important.
This weekend is the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the Battle for Vimy Ridge.
You can’t grow up in Canada and not know about Vimy Ridge — it’s seen as one of the things which helped shape our nation, which brought us together as a nation and inspired national pride. Documentaries and Heritage Minutes tend to frame it as ‘Other nations tried to take the ridge but we prevailed where they did not!’
It continues to instill pride to this day. I’ve never served in the military (though a good number of my ancestors have) but I still tear up with pride (and sadness) whenever I watch a Heritage Minute or documentary about Vimy Ridge.
It mattered to the war, to the world, to our country and it matters to me.
So it was only a question of time before it showed up in my fiction. But when it did I knew I was going to have to tread very carefully. And I did.
Although it’s never expressly stated in the text, in my story, Circles Within Circles, Michael is about to participate in this battle when he contacts his sister for help. That help made me really nervous, because in no way did I want to tell a story where incubus magic was the thing which made the Canadians successful in taking the ridge but I also really wanted for that to be the battle Michael was about to engage in.
In fact, Michael is in the same battalion that my family served in during WWI and WWII. It matters to me that even in something as fluffy as a paranormal romance story I respect those men and what they fought and died for. That I not minimize their struggles or their victories.
In the end the magic that shields Michael actually unshields some of his fellows–balance. That didn’t feel disrespectful. It worked for my conscience, my pride, and the story.
As I said, this weekend is the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of that terrible battle and I will be spending a lot of time thinking about those soldiers–what they were fighting for, what they endured and what they accomplished. I hope you will too.