Sunday, February 2, 2014

P.S. Duffy

P.S. Duffy is the author of The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, a debut novel that takes place during the First World War in Nova Scotia and the Western Front in France. She lives in Rochester, MN, had a long career in adult neurologic communication disorders, and now splits her time between writing fiction and writing scientific papers for Mayo Clinic. She says that at her age she is happy to have the word “debut” applied to anything she does.

From the author's Q & A at Barnes & Noble:

What inspired you to write about World War I? What is it about this moment in history that speaks to you?

Young soldiers, the "flower of youth," die in every war, as do civilians. What breaks your heart about this war is how buoyantly innocent everyone—soldiers, commanders, and civilians—was to the utter devastation to come, how almost cheerfully they took up arms and made the fatal leap from that sun-dappled Edwardian idyll into the abyss of deadened hope and churned-up, wounded earth. No one was prepared for the slaughter to come as outdated tactics (massed frontal assaults) met modern weaponry (machine guns, poison gas, mass shelling, land mines).

As I began my research, I found myself staring in disbelief at facts like this: on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 110,000 British soldiers marched in attacking waves across No Man's Land, staggering under forty-pound packs, cutting their way through the barbed wire. By nightfall some 58,000 of them lay on the field, mowed down by machine guns and shells, and some by their own barrage.

Amiens, the Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele, and on—in battle after battle, thousands of lives were lost for a few yards' gain until in the end, as was said at the time, the only winner was the war. The Cartographer of No Man's Land is not a combat novel, but it is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at P. S. Duffy's website.

Writers Read: P. S. Duffy.

The Page 69 Test: The Cartographer of No Man's Land.

My Book, The Movie: The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.

--Marshal Zeringue