Described as a rip-roaring wartime romance with chilling danger unknown to most, The Rigel Affair is the true story of Mattie Blanc and her love for US Navy Diver Charlie Kincaid. Metropol talks to local author L M Hedrick about this epic novel.
When did you first become aware of Charlie Kincaid?
When I was a child. The war bought Charlie Kincaid to my mother’s doorstep and the war sent him away. No one understands how situations outside of their control changes peoples’ lives. My mother (Mattie) could never find an answer. She married my father, Syd, and I was their only child. Mattie would pull the box of Charlie’s 30 letters down from the top of a bedroom cabinet and tell me their story like she was crying out to be heard.
What was it about their relationship that moved you to write their story?
Mattie pined for her fiancé, Charlie. It was like two lost souls who had the same story in different worlds and a love that would never die.
Is Mattie still alive?
Sadly, both Mattie and Charlie were long-since deceased when we decided to write The Rigel Affair. It’s a work of fiction, based upon true events. When my husband, Bud, read Charlie’s 30 letters, he said, ‘You must write this story’. So, the project began. This is a story of dedication of one woman and one man whose love transcended the war. It was heartache not only for her but for Charlie – a heartache that spurred his endurance to stay alive and fight the most horrific war in history.
In reading Charlie’s letters, did you begin to see your mother differently?
My mother would show me Charlie’s letters, but never read them to me. Only when Bud saw the letters did we read them. I now have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of my mother’s love for Charlie Kincaid.
What do you hope readers will take from this novel?
Beginning our research, we discovered interesting, exciting events that had never really been properly told. It became a historical feeding frenzy! We hope readers will enjoy the Mattie and Charlie story, but equally important is their historical journey through exciting and true wartime events.
What’s next up for L M Hedrick?
We’re about 50,000 words into The Rigel Affair sequel and I have a crime novel ready for the final edit and formatting.
When did your love affair with writing begin?
From an early age. Being an only child, the world of make-believe filled my senses. When Bud and I decided to write The Rigel Affair, we both attended numerous creative writing classes at Auckland University in order to learn the craft. Bud’s five years in the US Coast Guard after university saw him working three years as Operations Officer on a buoy tender. This tender was 1940’s vintage, so Bud has intimate knowledge and experience to portray life aboard the USS Rigel.
The Rigel Affair is available and in hot demand at Piccadilly Books.