A Most Fraught And Perilous Time

Author Interview
John Odell Author Interview

Elmer & Virginia tells the personal and emotional story of your parents through a collection of letters they wrote one another during World War II. Why was this an important book for you to write?

These letters sat mostly untouched and unopened for the better part of half a century. When I began reading them after the deaths of my parents, I realized what a treasure they were. Their writing and story-telling skills were superb, and they vividly brought to life their experiences and their era, as they grew up during a most fraught and perilous time. I couldn’t let them stay hidden from the world.

Was there anything that you learned about your parents that was surprising when you read their letters?

I always knew what basically honest and decent people they were, from observing and being raised by them. But these letters brought out their kindness, their goodness, their integrity, and their courage. And it was a wonderful experience to “meet” them as young people and not as “your parents.”

Were there any letters that nearly made it into the collection but didn’t?

Oh yes. There were many that fell by the wayside for considerations of brevity and focus. Also passages about family matters, that would be of little interest to the general reader, were cast aside. And in a few cases there were letters our family just didn’t want to share.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your parents’ story?

This book really illustrates the incredibly brave responses of ordinary people to extraordinary events. And it shows that –really – there are no such things as ‘ordinary’ people. The book also shines a bright light on a lost form of communication – words written on paper and preserved for posterity.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Website

Elmer Odell and Virginia Schill were high school teenagers from separate “sides of the tracks” when the first chapters of the Second World War began to be written. They would become a part of that narrative as they grew to adulthood and joined the Greatest Generation. As Elmer flew combat above the battlefields of Europe, Virginia wrote newspaper stories about life on the home front. Between 1939 and 1944, Elmer and Virginia exchanged hundreds of letters, which sat in shoeboxes for decades. Here are the best of them. These missives vividly chronicle their separate odysseys and their growing love for each other. To open this book is to follow them through the turbulent years of World War II.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on August 6, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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