Happy Landings: The Life Behind Emilie Loring’s Stories
Emilie Loring started in her mid-fifties and wrote thirty novels that sold more than thirty-five million copies. At her peak, she had full-page ads in the New York Times and ranked above Agatha Christie on best-seller lists.
I was ten years old when I read my first Emilie Loring book. I read every one, and then I read them over again, at least once each year. I identified with Emilie’s sunshiny personality, and through more than fifty readings, her books became so familiar that my sister could read a line, and I would tell her the next from memory. But I couldn’t say much about their author.
When I learned that Emilie Loring belonged to the generation of my great-grandparents and did most of her writing in her sixties and seventies, I was surprised. I had always imagined her to be young, like her characters. Then I learned that some of her books were not her books at all, and that was troubling. I had looked through Emilie’s eyes for nearly forty years, but there was so much I didn’t know. Who was she? What did she do in the years before she wrote? How did the false books come to be? How much of what I believed about her was real?
I searched libraries, archives, and personal collections throughout New England. Emilie’s grandchildren gave their full, unrestricted support to the project, including access to the family’s documents, photographs, memorabilia, and remembered stories. I researched each stage of Emilie Loring’s life, as well as the lives of her ancestors, grandparents, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, neighbors, and best friends. My notes expanded from a manila folder to forty-five handwritten notebooks sharing space with Emilie’s originals and an ever-expanding collection of “background” readings. I spent time at each place she lived, met the descendants of her contemporaries, cooked her recipes, and read the books she read. Emilie Loring’s story is so much more than I ever imagined it would be, more than can fit into a single book.
As we await her biography, Happy Landings: The Life Behind Emilie Loring’s Stories, join me on my blog. I can’t wait to share more about Emilie, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.