I’ve never felt capable of writing fiction. I’ve spent my life writing about the truth, which is to say, writing about real things from good health practices to interior design, from people to places. Making up things looked impossibly difficult. Better to tackle a subject you can define with your five senses.
But in my fifties, I wanted to see if I could write fiction. I grew up reading fiction—my mother had hundreds of great works, and I majored in English literature in college. So I began looking for an idea. I found it in the pages of a tattered scrapbook compiled by a grandmother I never knew. Alice married Charles Scott in 1929, and they left New York for four years in Argentina. Charles, a graduate of Columbia University’s electrical engineering program, helped build the first hydroelectric dam in South America.
Stylish, well educated, and affluent, they look magical in the old photos. They must have been overjoyed at my mother’s birth, for later pages are filled with her pictures. Their only child, she was born in Argentina.
Pulling different elements from the scrapbook, I came up with the idea of a young couple from New York living in Argentina in 1929. The husband is involved in secret weapons research, which leads to his disappearance and presumed death. His wife, Alice Scott, then faces a dilemma. Well, I won’t say more, except that Russians, a hydropower plant, Mendoza, the American ambassador, and a German mistress are part of the story. At present, I’m looking for a publisher.
I hope you’ll enjoy these pictures from the scrapbook.