The Story Behind Until June by Barbara M. Britton
Over the years, I have heard authors say that they were writing the book of their heart. I didn’t understand that terminology until I wrote Until June. I’m known for writing Biblical Fiction, so why should I release a WWI Historical? Throughout my life, God was preparing me to write Geoff and Josephine’s story.
Veterans hold a special place in my heart. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Vietnam War. I remember the conflict from television and the conflict from growing up in the home of the Hippies. I thought it was sad that men who had fought in battle had to come home and not debrief from their memories. Many soldiers had to hide their service in Vietnam. We understand now that many servicemen and women experience post-traumatic stress disorder and need to talk about what happened during their time of service.
Fast forward a few decades. My family and I were on an Alaskan cruise excursion outside of Juneau, Alaska. We visited the Taku Glacier Lodge and heard how a WWI veteran and his caregiver had lived at the lodge. In winter, the Taku River would freeze, and the man and his caregiver would be shut off from society. A man and a woman alone in a lodge? Seems isolating, but perhaps the veteran liked the solitude. Characters and a storyline began to develop in my mind.
I wrote Until June about a severely injured veteran and an inexperienced caregiver residing in a remote lodge due to the severity of the veteran’s wounds and the pandemic of 1918. Unfortunately, no one wanted to publish my story. I continued writing other stories—stories from the Bible—and forgot about my Historical.
One day, my son texted me that someone had “stolen my story.” No writer wants to get a text like this one. My son had seen a movie trailer for “Me Before You.” The movie was about a quadriplegic man and his caregiver who happen to fall in love. Yes, this was the same trope as my Historical. When I read the blurb to “Me Before You,” I discovered the ending was nothing like my book. My character, Geoff Chambers, overcomes his hardships and disabilities from war and grabs hold of life again. The character in “Me Before You” (Spoiler Alert) chooses to end his life even though he has fallen in love with his caregiver.
Was it time to see if my caregiver-trope story would be accepted by a publisher and show readers that no matter how hard life gets, it is always worth living? Would I be able to show readers the honesty of a veteran’s struggles? Or that caregiving is a rewarding, yet a draining task? Could two people who needed healing find it in God and help each other along the way?
Eleven years after I began writing about Geoff Chambers and Josephine Nimetz, their story saw the light of day. Pelican Book Group published Until June in June of 2020—during a pandemic.
Each new day is a blessing from God. Geoff and Josephine grab hold of that realization after a little conflict and tension, and a lot of love from an author.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches.
She is published in Biblical Fiction and loves bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. Her WWI Historical Until June released in 2020.
Barbara has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
Book blurb for Until June:
When seventeen-year-old seamstress, Josephine Nimetz, agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge to escape the influenza of 1918, there’s enough friction to melt the Mendenhall Glacier. Her position is only until June, and it pays well enough to overlook the hardship of managing a rustic home and a shell-shocked veteran, Geoff Chambers.
Geoff makes it clear that he isn’t too fond of the “runt” sent to take care of his needs, nor of her painful mistakes. Dealing with a depressed and addicted amputee, pushes Josephine to the brink of leaving, if not for the money her salary brings.
But Josephine is a perfectionist, determined to get Geoff back on his feet—figuratively. Though, sending a rich, handsome veteran back into society may cost Josephine the man she has grown to love.
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