HEATHER BELL ADAMS is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, but she’s got a particular love for Savannah that has made its way into her newly-released book, The Good Luck Stone.
“The book is about a Savannah society woman, Audrey, who’s 90 years old,” Bell tells Connect. “She’s kind of a well respected society figure. The story really kicks off when she disappears, suddenly, because a secret she’s kept since her time in the South Pacific in World War II has started to unravel.”
In the book, Audrey receives a letter from someone she knew during the war, which begins a journey that extends throughout the book. There’s a dual timeline in the book: present day Savannah and 1941/42 in the Philippines.
“The present day portions of the story are narrated by Audrey and Laurel, her caretaker. Laurel is brought in by Audrey’s family, who thinks she’s not able to take care of herself anymore. Audrey would disagree with that,” Adams says with a laugh.
The book doesn’t just use Savannah as a location, it makes several references to local streets, businesses, and more that will surely make residents feel even more connected to this unique story.
“In chapter one, she attends an exhibit at the Jepson Center,” she says. “I had fun with that kind of thing. [Locals] will see these little easter eggs.”
Adams has family in Savannah, and has visited numerous times—so much so that she felt compelled to use the city as a key setting in the book.
“My family and I have vacationed in Savannah for over twenty years. I actually worked there one summer in law school, and we have an apartment on Perry Street,” she says.
“We have a lot of fondness for Savannah, and we’ve always loved walking around the historic district. I’ve always been fascinated by the beautiful homes, and always wondered who lives there and what their story is.”
The Good Luck Stone took nearly two years to get from idea to the final product, which she says took some edits from her publisher and a few drafts to complete. The biggest challenge in this story was to manage the dual timelines, which Adams says stays chronological in both time periods but doesn’t remain particularly linear throughout.
“It’s not a strict alternating chapter schedule or anything. It’s more that as things come up for Audrey, she would be reminded of something in the past. Each storyline is chronological, but we might get a longer storyline at one point or another,” she says, adding that an inspiration for her in terms of accomplishing the structure she wanted was Susan Meissner’s Secrets Of a Charmed Life.
Adams says that part of her inspiration for using both Savannah and the Philippines as settings in the book was the fact that so much of the literature that exists around WWII is set in Europe, and there aren’t many books that explore other parts of the world during this period in time.
“They’re wonderful; I mean, there are so many good ones,” she says of some of the other WWII fiction books throughout modern history. “But I really wanted to set my story in the South Pacific. I think we’re long overdue for that to be the next wave of World War II fiction.”
Heather Bell Adams’ The Good Luck Stone is available now.