World War II love story finally makes it to print


Brevard County resident Jill Wallace, the author of recently published “War Serenade,” signs copies of her fictionalized true World War II love story which is “a story for the ages.”

Photo Angie Spaulding

Jill Wallace, the author of  “War Serenade,” said her real estate career supplements her “writing addiction.”

As a child in South Africa, the 61-year-old Wallace fondly recalls her mother telling a story about war-torn lovers who were under prisoner-of-war conditions in World War II.

“It was a true story told in lieu of a bedtime story,” said Wallace, who resides in Melbourne. “The couple in the story were close friends of my parents.”

The story of the lovers stirred in Wallace’s mind for decades.

“It was a movie in my head,” she said.

When she was 46, she began writing it.

“I first wrote an essay and then wrote a script,” Wallace said. She took it to Hollywood.

After multiple pitch sessions, the script was optioned by an independent film company, but not before a rewrite for more requisite conflict.

Wallace said of the characters, “I fictionalized the true story and was able to take the story to extremes, making him more of a bastard, her a little edgier and more risqué.”

Unfortunately, the producer died shortly after green-lighting the film. Although the script was optioned a second time by another independent film company, it did not make it to production.

A friend suggested she rewrite the script as a book. Wallace, a member of Spacecoast Authors of Romance (STAR), a chapter of Romance Writers of America, took her suggestion to heart.

“War Serenade” was published in the spring of 2018 with editorial and design guidance from Chris Kridler of Sky Diary Productions. Kridler is the president of STAR.

“I would never have had the courage without her,” Wallace said.

Wallace is writing another fictionalized true story, which will be published under Tsotsi Publications next year. It will be about her  husband, Athol Wallace, 71.

“It is a collaboration with my husband based on the story of his life growing up as a white boy in a remote hotel in the mountains in South Africa,” she said. “The man who looked after him was a young Zulu, from whom he learned about the Zulu way of life.”

That way of life is sewn into the work-in-progress and will be, according to Wallace, “the story of friendship.”

And, of course, the requisite conflict.

“They meet on the battlefield — one facing the other on opposite sides.”