Measure of the Moon by Lisa Preston was inspired by a vintage late 1930s Kodak Bantam Anastigmat, leading two stories, one from now and one from WWII, to intertwine.
About ‘The Measure of the Moon’ by Lisa Preston
After falling and being abandoned by his horse far away from home in the Washington wilderness, eight-year old Greer Donner stumbles upon a man beating a woman half to death. He bravely saves the woman from the violent attack but before he can get away, the assailant threatens to kill young Greer’s entire family if he ever speaks of what he has witnessed. Afraid for his loved ones, the young boy is determined to do whatever it takes to protect his family and keep this terrifying secret.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in Seattle, photographer Gillian Trett finds a mysterious photo in an antique camera of frightened boys in the forest that she cannot get out of her mind. Hoping to advance her career and desperate for a distraction from her troubled marriage and disturbing childhood memories, Gillian throws herself into unraveling the history behind the haunting image.
A horrifying revelation entangles Gillian’s path with young Greer’s as each confront the terrible power of harbored secrets.
Passing on the Past by Lisa Preston
Before the fall of the Berlin wall, I was tooling around Europe, itching to go behind the Iron Curtain, when an antique camera in a storefront caught my eye.
The Kodak Bantam Anastigmat, vintage late 1930s, was one of the first compact cameras. It fits in a shirt pocket. Push a little button and a bellows thrusts the lens out. Flick a tiny tab on top and the viewfinder springs up. Fold these two features back into the body and its slim profile is restored.
I’ve done some time in the darkroom, love film processing, and couldn’t help wondering: what sights might that camera have captured? What if a World War II photo was salvageable inside, waiting decades to be discovered?
My mind went to more than film rescue, to the human rescues of that terrible time — the Schindler sort of saving that could, once known, get a tree planted, earn recognition by Yad Vashem.
Remembrance. To paraphrase Frost, life depends on everything’s recurring till we answer from within.
Does history repeat itself? Are those who do not remember the past condemned to relive it?
The obstacles that keep people from making the kinder choice, the more generous response, in a given situation may be concrete, manufactured, or in between. Certainly, different people will choose and act differently in similar situations. It is this disparity that I find enthralling, horrifying and human. Little antique camera in hand, I knew someday I’d write about a latent secret. With The Measure of the Moon, I created a 75-year-old mystery waiting to be solved. Through the entwining magic of six degrees of separation, the old mystery is connected to a painfully similar repetition in present day.
After it sparked, the story came together with all the human drama and evocative exploration I imagined. We are linked, past and present, every generation, across continents and decades. If we are condemned to try again and again, so too may we be honored, until we get it right.
About the author
Lisa Preston is the author of Orchids and Stone as well as several nonfictions books on animal care. Her experiences as a mountain climber, fire-department paramedic, and police sergeant are channeled into fiction that is suspenseful, fast paced, and well acquainted with human drama. She has lived in Arizona, California, and Alaska and now makes her home in western Washington.