Have you ever thought of doing something creative that has never been done before? My guest today, author and archivist Caroline Preston, is the creator of a whole new genre of literature. Her books and stories are exciting and revealing, combining her passions of writing and storytelling in a new and creative way. Ironically, Caroline’s mother kept scrapbooks and made collages, which were a significant part of Caroline’s past. She went on to work as an archivist at a museum in Salem, Massachusetts, before embarking on her writing career.
Her latest book is the second of her “scrapbook novels.” Following the Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, The War Bride’s Scrapbook, is “a World War II love story, narrated through a new bride’s dazzling array of vintage postcards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and more.” In this novel, “Caroline Preston has once again pulled from her own extraordinary collection of vintage memorabilia, transporting us back to the lively, tumultuous 1940’s and introducing us to an unforgettable, ambitious heroine who must learn to reconcile a wartime marriage with a newfound self-confidence.” I hope you enjoy this conversation with a truly inspirational creative, Caroline Preston.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
Caroline’s roundabout path to being an author
How scrapbooks tell the story of World War II
The uncertainty of people’s lives during the WWII era
How women accepted their rules but were early codebreakers in emergent feminism, which is a theme in the book
The advertising messages for women during the era
The main character in the book, and what she leaves behind
Understanding what people’s lives were in history and how they influenced those that came after them
Why people didn’t think their stories were even important
Piecing together clippings, headlines, manuals, and flyers to tell the story
Caroline’s new approach: scrapbook novels with real material and artifacts
What “transformative use” means regarding permissions
How the “scrapbook novel” idea came to Caroline
Caroline’s archival work in Salem, MA
How women’s lives are told in history through letters
Putting it all together to tell a story
With new technology, will our stories even be findable and retrievable in the future?
Making everyday lives seem tangible
How scrapbooks record momentous events and answer the When? And Why?
The detachment of today’s society from military life—unlike the WWII era
Caroline’s thoughts on creativity: “I thought I would just try to do this. I knew if it’s interesting to me, then it will be interesting to others also.”