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Abandoned by his part-Cherokee Ma, Charlie Kincaid escapes servitude with his uncle. He jumps a boxcar, accompanied by his schoolmate, Roxy, who is escaping troubles of her own. Charlie becomes a US Navy diver.

Mattie Blanc is from a genteel New Zealand family. But when her brother’s friend persuades her to take a ride, it all goes horribly wrong. Desperate, she flees her family’s stifling expectations for a new life in Auckland.

After the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, Charlie sets sail for Auckland aboard the USS Rigel. And there she is, the girl of his dreams. Mattie is everything that Roxy isn’t—sophisticated, tender, and patient. But the war intervenes… Rigel embarks for the Pacific war zones.

Charlie’s letters are sporadic. Mattie is tormented by doubts; did he truly love her, or was it only a dream?

Author L. M. Hedrick answered a few questions for The Big Thrill about her new military and historical thriller, THE RIGEL AFFAIR:

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I discovered that I am a pantster writer. I also learned a tremendous amount of historical facts regarding WWII. For example, Charlie was on the USS Rigel at Pearl Harbor during the famous bombing, but the Japanese only lightly damaged the Rigel and concentrated on the battleships. Little did they know that the repair ship, USS Rigel, was one of the most valuable ships in the harbor because now the navy could repair quickly and launch forward with counterattacks.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

This project started with the reading and study of my mother’s (Mattie) 30 letters from her WWII beau, US Navy diver Charlie Kincaid. So the main characters shaped first, but also the plot shaped concurrently as framed by these letters.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

The plot and main genre of WWII thriller with subgenre romance was almost pre-determined by the stories from my mother, Mattie, and Charlie’s activities in the US Navy aboard the USS Rigel.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

The biggest challenge was researching WWII for battles that Charlie could have faced. The US Navy assigned us a liaison officer who provided the exact position of the USS Rigel every day of the war, and also some of Charlie’s orders so we could place him in likely events that actually occurred.


Lynette grew up listening to her mother Mattie’s stories about her WW2 love for US Navy diver Charlie. She used Mattie’s 30 letters from Charlie, and together with her insightful editor/advisor husband, Bud, they completed extensive research to give reality to The Rigel Affair. Lynette has published multiple short stories for NZ magazines. Both Lynette and Bud have completed numerous creative writing courses at Auckland University. Lynette is an accomplished expressionist artist, with works sold internationally.

To learn more about Lynette, please visit her website.


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