Happy Landings: The Life Behind Emilie Loring’s Stories
Emilie Loring started in her mid-fifties and wrote thirty novels that vaulted her onto nationwide, best-seller lists. At her peak, she had full-page ads in the New York Times and headlined author and society gatherings across New England. Fans read her books over and over again and waited for the next story to appear.
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: Emilie Loring’s Life and Best-Sellers, join me on my blog (here.) I can’t wait to share more about Emilie, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.