Author Spotlight & Character Interview with Terri Wangard
Today I’m happy to welcome author Terri Wangard for an author spotlight and character interview.
Our guest today is Rosaleen Bonnard, a survivor of the tragic sinking of the Lusitania last May. She traveled with her husband, Geoff, who was badly injured in the disaster. Tell us, Mrs. Bonnard, how is he doing?
He is so much better, thank you. Every day we walk, sometimes for as long as an hour. We’re frequently interrupted though. Geoff collaborated with our neighbor, a reporter for the Sentinel, so he’s well recognized and folks seem to think that having touched the war, he’s now an expert. They’re always asking for his insights.
How did you meet your husband?
We were classmates at school and he invited me to attend an ice cream social at church. When I told my mother he’d asked, she quizzed me about him. I told her it was just ice cream, and she said, “Yes, and your father and I met at a church ice cream social.” After that night, I knew I would marry him.
The Cunard Line upgraded you from second class to first, is that right? [Rosaleen nods.] What was that like for you?
At first, I was thrilled. We had a beautiful stateroom with a window. Oh, excuse me, a porthole. That was special. And we had access to the Saloon Writing Room and Library and the Saloon Lounge and Music Room. They were exquisite. The two-tiered first-class dining room was a gorgeous setting to eat in, but I must admit, I would have been more at ease in second class. I didn’t feel comfortable with the first-class passengers. Even the food was unfamiliar.
Did you go shopping specifically for your voyage?
Oh, yes. Two of my sisters went shopping with me at Gimbels. I found two beautiful gowns. My grandmother gave me $10, making it possible to buy both. Plus a traveling outfit, a couple of new skirts and blouses, shoes, hats. Had I known we’d be in first class, goodness, I don’t know what I would have done. The ladies in first class wear a different gown to dinner every night.
Did you note much panic after the ship was torpedoed?
At first, everyone was stunned. After hearing all week about the likelihood of being attacked, when it actually happened, it was hard to believe. The sudden listing to starboard was alarming. Then the power failed and people were trapped in the fancy grillwork elevator. The lifeboats were so chaotic; some spilled out their passengers or dropped down on other lifeboats. So frightful. The ship sank in eighteen minutes, less time than it takes to bake a cake. So many people were still aboard.
What was it like in the lifeboat?
Numbing, sitting on hard wooden benches. We would have loved fresh drinking water. We pulled in many survivors from the sea, and they were so cold. Many people died from hypothermia. We saw them lose their grip on whatever they clung to and slip under the water.
As 1916 dawns, what are you looking forward to?
We hope the war doesn’t pull in the United States. Geoff and I both have brothers who would be affected. In our own home, we’re busy decorating a nursery.
Congratulations! And thank you for joining us today.
- What is your current work in progress?
In Roll Back the Clouds, Geoff and Rosaleen’s next door neighbors are Peter and Maren Bloch. Peter and Maren are the stars of The Sun Still Shines, which follows them in World War One. Geoff and Rosaleen appear frequently.
What would be your dream vacation?
Somewhere on a western Florida beach where there are sea shells. I love shelling.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I was on cruises, I took part in adventures I wouldn’t otherwise have had, like parasailing, helicoptering onto glaciers or around Hawaiian cliffs, horseback riding on the beach, going to the Arctic Circle. Maybe not quirky, but definitely out of the ordinary.
Reader question: Do you like to cruise, or would you like to? What would your destination be?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she writes historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber for her WWII series. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
Buy links for your book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1659679842