You’ve heard of The French Connection, yes? Well, Anna’s Secret Legacy has a very strong Saratoga Connection. I have a special fondness for Saratoga Springs, New York and the beautiful Saratoga Race Course there. Thoroughbred race horses play a role in the book, and quite a bit of action takes place at the historic race track there. The vibe of the place—the track and the town—is unlike anywhere else in the world. Once you’ve been, you’re entranced. Like the song of the Sirens, Saratoga wants to become your lover. She calls you back, time and again.
The track, town and horses are all characters in the book–but I can’t tell you any more than that! Those of you who’ve read the book know what happens there—those of you who haven’t, well, you’ll just have to get a copy and find out for yourselves.
I have very fond memories of Saratoga from my time in upstate NY—my Dad loved Thoroughbreds, passionately. He shared his affection for the horses and for Saratoga. I loved going to the track with him—seeing these spectacular horses— my Dad was pretty knowledgeable about this enchanting sport, ‘The Sport of Kings’. These memories are a key reason why I look forward to going back every chance I get. Reliving sweet old times, and creating new memories for the future—that’s what Life’s all about, isn’t it?
In Anna’s Secret Legacy novel, O’Grady, The Irish trainer is also part of the underground résistance and plays an important role in smuggling military secrets out of Germany as he had access to selling and buying thoroughbreds, throughout Europe in 1940-This is the one year The l’Arc De Triomphe, The famous Paris race was cancelled.
(hint, hint his adopted son. O’Grady’s son will play a major role in the sequel! )
(And—hint-hint—it’s no mere coincidence that Saratoga is renowned for the waters- ‘Taking the Bathes’ (as President Roosevelt did) that bubble up from underground, and a major role of the miraculous water in the story.)
I hope to make more Saratoga Memories this summer, during my book tour. We’re working to set up a couple of book signings in town during the racing season. It would be wonderful to meet some fans of Anna’s Secret Legacy in person, and to make new friends. As we discussed in my last blog posting, I wrote the book with the intention of providing a compelling, single story—but also give readers some nuggets that speak of The Big Picture.
I’m fascinated by the fact that every Life on this Earth is made up of a series of small stories—indeed, many people perceive it as being nothing more than small stories—but those little pieces are all part of the bigger whole, The Big Picture. Saratoga, racing and the horses all contribute to the greater picture—they are the fabric of the large story, itself. We could not take them out of the book any more than we could remove the sulfur springs, or World War II—the period of time during which our story unfolds. Like a rich tapestry—which on the front appears as one beautiful, seamless picture—Anna’s Secret Legacy from the back is a mixture of many threads of countless colors. And every thread, every color, is absolutely necessary. Without any one particular color or thread, the story itself would fall apart, be a cacophony of words with no rhyme or reason.
So I’m very excited about revisiting a place of such special importance. Saratoga is a wild, mystical, exotic place—a place that has secrets all her own. Serving as the backdrop for such a meaningful thread in my book, this magical environment will draw you into her heart, under the spell that she weaves in every page dedicated to this part of the story line. I hope to share discussions with each of you when I visit Saratoga this summer: I’m sure we’ll have a lot to discuss! Even first conversations with new friends who’ve read the same book feels like dinner with old allies, and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you when I visit the Spa City in August. J www.annassecretlegacynovel.com Ck out the secret room for historical facts relevant to the book–click on the coins and you will be taken to another historical fact relevant to the novel.
Anna’s Secret LegacyHello! It’s been a while since we checked in—things here have been hectic, in the good way. I’m happy to report that enthusiasm for the book hasn’t waned one iota since original publication—if anything, it’s growing, and morphing. We’re seeing new fans and other interested parties (read that, Hollywood Types) popping up in places we hadn’t anticipated. I guess that’s one of the signs that “Anna’s Secret Legacy” tells a story that is universal at its core. Yes, the setting, the characters, the particulars all come together to tell a story that’s set in a certain time in history. But my aim when writing the book was to create a story that would be just as valid 100 years from now as it is today—or during World War II. The tale, itself, is about one man, one woman, one especially suspenseful period of time.
But love—like other intangibles such as loyalty, patriotism, freedom—is an eternal value. And everyone, it seems, can embrace these values. So I find it to be particularly gratifying to receive emails from readers who tell me their own stories of love and intrigue, and how “Anna’s Secret Legacy” moved them, or made them think. Just as interesting are the notes I receive in which new-found friends tell me their own tales of love, loss, discovery and espionage. Writing responses to these communications is almost as satisfying as was writing the book. Sharing a story with so many good, thoughtful people unites me with people I might not have met before I wrote the book.
I’m in a new place now, one of reflection on the past—both World War II, and the time that I wrote the book—and of the present, and the future. The present is filled with swirling thoughts of offers, potential offers and decisions to be made. The future will be chock-full of writing: the final polish screenplay for the film, and the sequel to the original tome. And who knows what else will come with each passing minute, day, month? I can’t tell you what the future holds, but I do promise to keep you updated as we grow with this journey. The historic novel has its roots in one period of time, but—like the future that lies before me, before “Anna’s Secret Legacy”—the story contained within the covers will grow fearlessly as we walk bravely forth. I promise to take you all with me as we move into that fascinating new place—who knows? You may be inspired to create your own book and allow that book to take you to a wonderful, unforeseen future.
Click on the coins in The Secret Room on the website and be taken to historical facts relevant to this fantastic novel!
‘Pimpernel Gold’ a terrific book by Dorothy Baden Powell explains ‘How Norway’s Gold reserves were taken out of the country in April 1940, under the noses of the Germans through the snow, by lorries, and finally by three separate ships. Due to a remarkable slip-up in the German plan of attack “Operation Weserubung’, in which every port of Norway was to be seized simultaneously, the attack was delayed ten hours, allowing The King, The Crown Prince and the government to escape to the west coast for rescue by British ships and to bring out the gold reserves. In spite of spotter planes, enemy parachute planes and appalling snow conditions without knowing when or where to expect the promised Allied ships, this remarkable feat was accomplished.’
The National Treasury of Norway consisted of NOK 240 million in 1940 value worth of gold (approximately $54.5 million in 1940 American currency, or $670 million in 2007) weighing around 50 tons. The entire gold deposit was stored at Norges Bank’s main vault at their headquarters in Oslo. During the increasing tension of the 1930s, plans were made to make the deposit more mobile. When the Second World War broke out, these plans were accelerated and the gold was packed into 818 crates of 40 kg, 685 crates of 25 kg and 39 barrels of gold coins, weighing 80 kg each.
It’s an historical novel. It’s a love story. It’s frightening, and exhilarating. It’s a tale of modern-day alchemy, and the possible blessings and damnations that come from that discovery.
When S.A. Williams set out on the journey to pen a novel, she had no idea that the experience would take her around the world and deep into the research of sulphur water; the Second World War; Norway’s role–and then into the mind of Anna, a brilliant young research scientist. Anna’s birth in Williams’ mind as the protagonist came after much serious reflection and investigation: she was born of her author’s desire to enliven a character whose background and circumstances were timeless, that is, universal, and therefore could be embraced by female and male, old and young, at any time in history. Anna has discovered something that has the potential to either heal humanity or eliminate it. To carry this burden around at any time would be more than most humans could bear: to hold this secret in your heart during the early days of Hitler’s assault on Europe would have been more than the human heart could contain.
(Authors see a storyline unfolding in their heads, but a tale such as Anna’s Secret Legacy is an archetypal lesson and should not be categorized as being “mere entertainment.” The characters are set in a certain place and time–a profoundly difficult and painful time, in a shell-shocked place–but the decisions they must tackle, and obstacles they encounter are those of the transcendent Everyman.)
Williams created the characters and the plot, but she was guided by the Platonic concept of the Forms: she had a story to tell, an intriguing fiction built on history and exhaustive research. This is the reason why people and situations that happened 70 years ago in the book speak strongly and directly to us in the 21st Century. This is our story: we may never be faced with the necessity of making decisions that affect millions of lives, but because of the sameness of The Human Condition, we can relate intimately and directly to Anna’s quandary, and therefore–to her fear.
Synchronicities–meaningful coincidences–brought people and circumstances across Williams’ path, compelling her to delve into research that she might never have anticipated before beginning the project. Taking on World War II is a hefty assignment, in and of itself: to do justice to the subject, detailed study must be performed. The ability to meld these academic rigors with a believable love story in a compelling manner that did not come across as being cute was no doubt a challenge for the author: it would have been so easy to go the easy route, and crank out a book of mindless drivel based on the same premises.
But her own strong academic background, in concert with her fascination with getting to the root of a question (be it intellectual or otherworldly)–dictated that her book not go the way of pulp fiction. A storyline like this, lacking intellectual endeavor and philosophical insight, could have easily slipped into the genre of paperback romance novels: juicy heroine, dashing young pilot, same-old, same-old.
If the storyline of Anna’s Secret Legacy feels a great deal like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it’s because both works speak to that part of us that loves a good thriller with boatloads of action–but which also walk that line between this very touchable world and the dimensions beyond. Indiana Jones took on the Ark of the Covenant and the question of scientific advancement over deeply-respected spiritual admonitions. Anna, on the other hand, has a heart to cure the ills of humans, and is in a very real sense an alchemist–straddling the uber-reality of her present circumstance and fear, and the realm where biology, chemistry and physics become spirit.
Anna’s Secret Legacy is hot off the press: written by S.A. Williams and published by Infinity Publishing, it is one of those books that cannot be put down until the last period at the end of the last (surprise) sentence. The contemporary historical fiction is so full of questions that give rise to more questions–we realize that, as saith Socrates, “All I know is that I know nothing.” Williams began to write a book and in so doing, peeled away layers upon layers of information that led her to yet-more layers–and no doubt to a lifelong fascination with the alchemical history and secrets she uncovered. The learning process teaches us that great Socratic Truth, that the more we learn, the more we realize there is to learn. Anna’s Secret Legacy is, in the most simplistic description, a terrific book. It is so much more that no mere book preview could do it justice: the facts, secrets and philosophical quandaries contained in this tome are the things that propel a book from the best sellers’ list to the land of Classic.
Williams also completed the film script.
Great party with Will Smith hosted by M.Night Shayamalan
Welcome to my blog! Anna’s Secret Legacy has now made it around the world and I have had the good fortune to have had the most amazing journey. The people I have met have been incredibly interesting. Just back from LA producers conference. I met over 30 Academy Award producers. Jeff Dowd (who started Sundance with Robert Redford) and Al Ruddy (who produced the Godfather along with Hogan’s Heros) were so funny. They had me mesmerized with their stories. Larry Katz at Morgan Creek (The Good Shepard, Ace Ventura and over 50 films) was an incredible wealth of knowledge. More on this to follow! Last night M.Night Shyamalan and his gracious wife opened their home up to honor The Philly Film Office- What an amazing party! I had a delightful chat with Will Smith who is incredibly charming. More to follow soon! Stay Tuned! and thank you for following the progress of Anna’s Secret Legacy as we now have the film Script as well as the novel! Many Thanks to all!