Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Romantic Reads: Off the Ground

The Story Behind Off the Ground by Cathy Richmond:

As a Virginia history librarian, my mother was active in oral history. One of her favorite interviews was of my grandfather. He had a beautiful Scottish brogue, a humble view of his own accomplishments, and he had a delightful sense of humor.

Grandpa started a jewelry store in Michigan during the Great Depression. Repairs kept him busy, but occasionally he made a sale. Cash was in short supply, so customers resorted to trading. The local Montgomery Ward’s manager traded a gas stove for a black diamond. Why such an unusual stone? Grandpa asked. The manager’s wife had seen a black diamond in her father’s jewelry store in Omaha. Omaha? That’s where I live! How could I build a story around that black diamond?

The 1920s to ‘30s was also the Golden Age of Aviation. Charles Lindbergh, then Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic, becoming America’s favorite celebrities. Barnstormers performed aerobatics and gave rides. Pilots flew faster, farther, and higher, breaking records nearly every week. And designers built the prettiest airplanes ever. As part of my research, I rode in a 1929 Ford Trimotor – great fun! My fictional story’s heroine, Corrie, had to be a pilot.

Those pretty airplanes weren’t easy to fly. Open cockpits meant pilots sat out in the elements, battered by wind, rain, and the noise of the engine. Pilots used railroad tracks, town names on water towers, and Rand McNally road maps to navigate. Steering the plane meant wrestling a stick connected to cables. Frequent breakdowns required mechanical skills. Corrie had to be strong and independent, so I gave her three older brothers who taught her to drive and play basketball.

My hero, Mac, went to work for Montgomery Ward soon after they expanded into retail by opening five hundred stores. Their Chicago headquarters was the largest concrete building in the world. A 1929 Ward’s catalog showed the variety of items they sold, including live rabbits – you’d better believe I got a scene out of that!

The 1920s was a time of change from courting to dating. Radio played jazz, and movies showed how to dance to it. Speakeasies run by organized crime opened in every town, including Omaha. Women’s hair styles and skirts were shorter.

This era was a time of transition at home too. Early in the 20th century, the woman of house or a hired cook kept the fire burning all day to prepare food. Single women lived at home until they married. Single men lived in boarding houses where meals were provided. In the late 1920s, urban homes were connected to utilities and fitted with modern cooking appliances. Corrie hadn’t been expected to do any cooking in her upper-middle class home, so she had a few kitchen mishaps as a newlywed. Fortunately, Mac was patient, and she had access to cookbooks and radio shows to help her.

The most fun about writing this story was the 1920s slang. In fact, you could say it was the cat’s meow, the bee’s knees, and the elephant’s eyebrows!

I look forward to sharing Off the Ground with you! I’d love to know what you think about Corrie and Mac’s adventures, so connect with me at my website, CatherineRichmond.com.

Thank you, Alexis for letting me visit your blog!



Author Bio:

Cathy was working as an occupational therapist and raising her family, when a folk song inspired a story about a mail-order bride. 

Spring for Susannah was published in 2011, followed by four other novels of ordinary people experiencing God’s extraordinary love. 

Learn more about Cathy and her life via her author website, CatherineRichmond.com.

Blurb for Cathy’s book:

She wants to race Amelia Earhart. He's afraid of flying. Will their relationship ever get off the ground?

As the Roaring Twenties come to a close, Mac McFarland falls head over heels for live-wire Corrie Tinley. Now that she’s graduated, they’re allowed to date. But before he can sweep her off the dance floor and into his life, her father gives her a winged death trap—a biplane. Refusing to stick around to see her crash, Mac leaves without saying goodbye.

Corrie’s family treats her like a dumb Dora, but her former basketball coach is respectful and attentive. Mac has a noble air like Lindbergh and dark hair waving over his forehead like Gary Cooper. She can’t wait to take him flying in her new biplane, but he’s disappeared. If she can’t find him, is she destined to fly solo the rest of her life?

Buy Cathy’s book on Amazon

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1 comment:

  1. I loved reading the story behind the plot and the characters in OFf the Ground. An exciting, romantic drama is made even more appealing with sprinkled details of an emerging era filled with music, dance, and major changes in daily life. Great read!


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