It never ceases to amaze me at the varied and fascinating places where I find inspiration for my stories.
Back in the day, I used to play the piano (or play at playing the piano). One year for my birthday, my brother gave me a subscription to a sheet music magazine. Six times a year, new piano pieces arrived in my mailbox, neatly bound inside a colorful magazine cover. The songs varied from pop selections to golden oldies.
I believe it was the June issue, with a lovely moon scene on the cover, which included the song “Moonlight Serenade.” I’d never heard the song before, but as I sat down and picked out the notes, I fell in love with the words and the tune.
It’s dreamy. It’s romantic. It’s beautiful.
It embodied everything my sentimental little teenage heart longed to experience.
Composed by Glenn Miller with lyrics by Mitchell Parish, “Moonlight Serenade” became one of Miller’s signature tunes. It spent many weeks at the top of the Billboard charts in 1939, and was released in November 1943 by the U.S. Army on a V-Disc. V-Discs (V for Victory) were records sent overseas to troops as part of a morale-boosting program during World War II. Many popular singers, big bands, and orchestras recorded special V-Disc records.
“Moonlight Serenade” just happened to be my introduction to songs from the World War II era. I adored the soft romantic tunes, the peppy swing songs, and the big band beat. It seemed only fitting to include a few of them in my latest release, Garden of Her Heart — the first book in the new Hearts of the War sweet romance series.
There is a scene where “Moonlight Serenade” plays in the background. In truth, I envisioned it long before I put the words on the page. Inspired by my love of the song and the awesome rendition offered by Ella Fitzgerald that I listened to on a loop as I wrote the story, it was fun to incorporate the tune into the book.
Do you have a favorite song from the 1940s?
Can forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war?
The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese-Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive.
After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life.
A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
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