Thursday, November 8, 2012

Author Guest Post: Traveling in the 1980s by Lisa Maliga

Please help me welcome back Out Of The Blue author Lisa Maliga, who is here today with a guest post!! Thanks for coming today Lisa! Be sure to check out yesterdays author interview with her to win an ebook copy of Out Of The Blue! 

Sylvia Gardner is a na├»ve cashier who lives with her mother in Richport, Illinois. Upset with being dumped by her first boyfriend; she later falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a TV show. For two years she researches Alexander Thorpe's life and career, saving her money to travel to his Cotswolds village, intent on meeting him. Staying in the village's only hotel, she gets room and board in exchange for working at the Windrush Arms Hotel. Complications ensue when the drunken hotelier, Harry Livingstone, takes a fancy to Sylvia. As in her fantasies, Sylvia and Alexander get together—but with unexpected results.

Traveling in the 1980's

My novel takes place back in the 1980s when a person could board a flight with just about anything in their carryon bags [which didn't cost extra money]. Back in the era where in-flight movies were shown on a big pull-down screen and they shut the lights off in the cabin. Back when they issued silverware with meals, and you didn't have to pay for those meals as they were included in the cost of your boarding pass. The days when people could actually smoke on airplanes, although they were confined to the back of the plane—but the smoke always had a way of blowing up front.

In November 1989, I went to England for the first time. I remember the perfect landing the plane did at London's Heathrow airport. Everyone aboard the plane applauded. Whether in relief of landing safely or due to the smoothness of the landing, I wasn't sure.
Customs consisted of being asked why I was in England, and how much money I had. The cheerful gentleman didn’t even bother to see the traveler’s checks and wished me a happy holiday.

Traveling around was easy to do as I was able to take BritRail—and received a nice discount because I had an old student ID. I visited Cornwall and saw Pendennis Castle, which was built by Henry the VIII. In the Falmouth Sainsbury’s, I was surprised to see the supermarket cashiers sitting down on the job, they didn’t stand like they do in America. Visiting a small Cornish town, I discovered the local Jigsaw Puzzle Club that met every Tuesday afternoon in the library's upstairs reading room. Smoking permitted!

In Plymouth, I stayed at a B&B [Bed and Breakfast] for only seven pounds. In the empty  dining room the next morning, I saw metal toast racks that reminded me of napkin holders but with more compartments. Staying in London was too expensive so I went north – to the Cotswolds. There I stumbled upon a small village inn that served as a model for the Windrush Arms Hotel. 

The village did boast a “television personality” a man nearing retirement age who had once upon a time been in two long-running British telly shows. I'd never heard of him but the way he was treated by the locals clued me in that he was “somebody.” The barmaid was a young Italian woman who was also traveling around and improving her English. I later learned that she took up with the “television personality” but I never learned their fate. I wondered what if the actor was a little more known internationally? And what if the young woman who was interested in him was American? Thus, the beginnings of “Out of the Blue” were born.

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Author Bio:
Lisa Maliga has been writing ever since she learned how to put crayon to paper back in kindergarten. Since then, she has learned to type and uses a laptop, citing it as way more convenient.
A fan of taking digital photos, you will find some of them on her website and in her nonfiction books. The masthead is a shot of the Pacific Ocean taken at sundown. Variations of this photo are seen on the covers of North of Sunset and her short story collection, South of Sunset. As an avid squirrel-watcher, all photos in Squirrels in the Hood were taken by the author.

Where to Find Lisa: