Honored that night was the amazing Judith Jamison, who was inducted into the Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame. Jamison was the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 20 years, along with numerous other outstanding achievements in dance, and has earned great fame and recognition.
S.A Williams was particularly pleased as she was the agency of record for the advertising for Alvin Ailey at The Annenberg Center in Philadelphia with Randy Swartz many years ago. “This was a great honor to meet such a brilliant and talented woman” says Williams, who is a big fan. “Also this Copacabana Gala was a spectacular event -Michelle Riggi and her team did an outstanding job! One of the best Galas’s ever!”.
What would you do if, in the course of your work, you discovered something unlike anything you’d experienced theretofore? You’re dedicated to your research, and you put together something so unexpected that at first you need to take stock, to realize the implications from all angles. Before that moment of discovery, you’d never realized the weight of making decisions that affected others—but now, suddenly you have the weight of the world on your slim, youthful shoulders.
And what if this secret discovery was so powerful that it held the potential both for great good, or for ultimate evil? In the right hands—those of benevolent hearts with philanthropic leanings, Anna’s discovery could do tremendous good—it could revolutionize medicine, and save countless numbers of people.
But in the wrong hands and in the wrong circumstances, it could usher in the end of all life on Earth, for Anna’s discovery could lead to the termination of all beings on our planet, from single-celled organisms to the most complex of beings.
This is precisely the conundrum with which Anna is faced in Anna’s Secret Legacy. The responsibility of harboring her enormous discovery, and wanting to do the right thing is a burden she’d never anticipated. What if this great thing can live up to its true potential, and revolutionize medicine? How many lives could be saved by this new-found information? On the other hand, it would take only one malevolent heart, one evil soul—one evil empire—to take the secret, twist it and destroy all humanity. A single drop of the magic elixir could lead a domino-effect toward universal death for all life forms on Earth.
This is not a decision that should be thrown in the lap of anyone, never mind a young woman with a complicated past. The past may not determine the future, but certainly it can shape our decisions. Anna carried her past with her, as we all do—but in her case, the dysfunction of her family life could fog up her ability to think through the full implications of her gigantic secret.
What do you think? Those of you who’ve read the book—I’d love your feedback, about how you’d handle Anna’s conundrum, were the problem yours. Those of you who’ve not-yet read the book—there’s always time to catch up. Let’s start a discussion group—your thoughts on Anna’s troubling discovery are important to me. Thank you for reading, and for sharing.
Anna’s Secret Legacy- A Secret Look- Who is Anna and Why Do We Care?
Anna is more than just the proverbial star of the show in Anna’s Secret Legacy. As the protagonist, she serves as the mother framework for this project. Struggling with her choices ethically, she succeeds in making the right ones. We see her as beautiful and intelligent, but the co dependency, caretaker issues, become more evident, as we are drawn into her character. Her love for her younger sister, Britta, is a perfect example of a dysfunctional family relationship.
Anna is the eldest child of middle class parents. Her Mother’s early influence on Anna as an herbalist has a strong influence on Anna’s career choice in research medicine. Her mother’s early death, throws her into primary caretaker of the household. She was sent to Cambridge at age 16 and graduates at 20, get her PhD in biology, at age 23.
She has been working as a research scientist at the prestigious Neils Bohr Institute for a few years. A dysfunctional and chaotic family, thrusts a lot of responsibility on her at a young age, which is overwhelming. She is attractive and sensitive whose early years had given her a far greater than ordinary need for genuine unstinted love. In Doug she seems to find at last what she had sought above all else.
By being strong and helpful to others, she protects herself from the panic, surrounds herself with people she can help, in order to feel safe and in control.
When she meets Doug, a fast acting cocktail of neuro chemicals is set off. A rush of laser focused attraction opens the door to a whirlwind courtship. Anna may not have wanted to meet anyone that night, but her brain had other plans that are deep and primitive. Both Doug and Anna will come up against anxiety, threats and mind numbing joys, over which they have little control, as they try to build a future together.
Anna’s spontaneous dreams are relatively easy to interpret. Fostering and interpreting diagnostic and curative dreams was essential to the methods of ancient Greek and Egyptian healing temples and was practiced by Hippocrates and Galen. Anna well understands that the mind and body communicate with each other constantly and that most of this communication is on an unconscious level.
Doug’s mother died when he was a young boy. Nothing in Doug’s life prepared him to be emotionally involved with another person in a loving, committed relationship. For most of his life he had actively been seeking a feeling of strength and safety by engaging in dangerous escapades. He used involvement in danger to avoid feeling pain and helplessness at being emotionally abandoned by his mother (albeit no fault of hers because she died)- when he meets Anna he is enchanted by her appealing looks and tender attitude toward him. She responds with sincere interest and deep compassion. When he sees Anna, a signal went off for mating and long term attachment- his heartstrings finally got the attention of his very self sufficient and independent male brain.
Where would their journey take them…? Read the book, if you’ve not already..it appears that they have leapt from solitary inner lives to one of genuine connection-a place we all crave, whether we admit it or not. http://www.annassecretlegacynovel.com
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.
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.
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!