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In Conversation With Martha Bolton and Linda Hope Authors of Dear Bob: Bob Hope's Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War ll
From:
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Sunday, March 7, 2021

 

Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guests Martha Bolton and Linda Hope authors of Dear Bob:Bob Hope's Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World Warll.

Martha is a prolific author of 88 books, an Emmynominee (Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics, 1988), a DoveAward nominee (Children's Musical, 1999), and a "with"author on three New York Times bestselling books. 

Shewas nominated for a Writers' Guild Award for her work on theEmmy-winning Bob Hope--The First Ninety Years

Shewas Bob's first full-time female staff writer, and wrote for histelevision specials (over 30 hours of prime time programming andfifteen years of his personal appearances and special events). As astaff writer for Bob Hope, She had the opportunity to write scriptedlines for a virtual Who's Who in entertainment, sports, andpolitics.

She also wrote for Phyllis Diller for many years,and her series of books for those over fifty include, Didn't MySkin Used to Fit?, Cooking with Hot Flashes, and The WholeWorld is Changing and I'm Too Hot to Care. 

She hasalso written for many Christian comedians such as Mark Lowryincluding parodies and co-writing his Piper the Hyper Mouse series),Chonda Pierce, Jeff Allen, and numerous others. 

Martha'sstage work includes writing the script for The Confession,based on Beverly Lewis' best-selling Confession trilogy; co-writing both Half-Stitched, based on Wanda Brunstetter'sbestselling book The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club and OurChristmas Dinner with director/composer Wally Nason; Josiah forPresident and BGM's newest musical, The Home Game.  BothJosiah for President and The Home Game haveaccompanying novels penned by Martha, and were adapted for the stageby the Blue Gate Musical's creative team. 

Linda is theeldest daughter of Bob and Dolores Hope. She is the Producer of theEmmy Award winning TV Special: Bob Hope: The First 90 Years.She also wrote My Life in Jokes, a collection of jokeshonoring her father's 100th birthday. Linda produced his TV shows forover 20 years, ran Hope Enterprises and has spent the last twodecades perpetuating her father's legacy.

Good day Marthaand Linda and thanks for taking part in our interview.

Norm: Linda, how did you become involved with co-authoring DearBob: Bob Hope's Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World Warll, what purpose do you believe your story serves and whatmatters to you about the book?


Linda: I guess youcould say the initial idea began as far back as high school formyself, when I was given an assignment to write about something thatintrigued me, and I thought about all these banker boxes that Iremembered seeing. I asked Dads assistant, Miss Hughes, what theywere and she said, "Those are history."  Years laterwhen I was producing Dads' shows, we did a tribute to the service menand women of WWII and those letters became a big part of that effort.As people read the book, I hope that they come to realize orre-realize what Bob Hope meant to the American G.I's, especiallyduring WWII, when communications were very limited.

Norm:Linda:  If you could relive a moment in your life with yourfather Bob, which moment would you choose and why?

Linda:That's an almost impossible question to answer, but the memory thatactually stands out in my mind at the moment for me was when I wasolder and met dad at the airport to bring him home. He had heard thenews that Bing Crosby had died and dad became unusually vulnerable -It was a very tender moment. His life had been so wrapped around notbeing vulnerable, especially when he was attending to the wounded orvisiting those in the hospital. He seldom let his guard down like hedid that day and I felt privileged to be part it.

Norm:Martha, how did you go about co-authoring the book with Linda? Didyou each choose to deal with specific sections? Please summarize yourwriting process.


Martha: The origin of this book datesback to when Bob Hope was still alive. I talked to him about thepossibility of putting some of these letters into a book. Hesuggested I meet with Linda and we started working on it. At thattime the letters were at his house. Meanwhile, other projects andshows came and went, and sadly Bob passed away in 2003.

A few yearsago, Linda emailed me and asked if I was still interested in writingthat book. My answer? Absolutely!  I couldn't wait to get backinto it. By this time, the letters had been given to the Library ofCongress, so I would go there to do the remainder of my research. Asthe process went along, I would send the manuscript to Linda and shewould make wonderfully helpful comments and suggestions.

She wantedus to take the reader back to that time in our country's history, andto underscore the difference in communication back then andcommunication now. I like to think we were successful in doingthat. 

Norm: Linda and Martha:  Did both of youlearn anything from writing the book? If so, what was it?

Linda:Its not that I learned anything new, but I was reminded again at thescope of dad's involvement with the men and women he entertained,both at home and especially abroad and how that relationship reallycolored his entire life.

Martha: I already knew that Bob Hopeand the G.I.s had a special connection. You could see it whenever hewould interact with a veteran, either at one of the show tapings oron location somewhere. But until reading these letters, I had no ideaof the depth of that connection. These men and women in uniform werehis best friends, his buddies, his "sons and daughters," ashe referred to them in letter after letter. I think that is whatimpressed me the most.

These are no ordinary fan/celebrity letters.When the G.I.s  wrote to Bob, they shared their hearts, theirrequests, and their heartfelt gratitude for all he had done and wasdoing. In his personal replies (and he answered as many as he could),he gave them laughs, news from home, and an abundant supply ofhope.

Norm:  Linda and Martha: What did both of youenjoy most about writing this book? 

Linda: In truth,Martha really wrote the book, doing the yeoman's research and puttingit together. I was basically an editor and helped Sheppard it throughgetting done. I, of course, wrote the forward. I found it very movingto re-read these letters again. Because it had to have been 20 or 25years or so since we had worked on the 50th anniversary of the end ofWorld War II and now here we are, having just passed the 75thanniversary. I was very disappointed that all the tributes that wereplanned in 2020 and that the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation hadsponsored last year had to be abandoned, due to covid, because thoseolder men and women deserve to be applauded and honored for what theydid and they are certainly set an example that a more of us couldstill learn from today.

Martha: Getting a first hand look atBob's commitment to the troops. His heart comes through in thoseletters. After reading this correspondence, you understand why he didit for fifty years. I also loved the playfulness that went on betweenBob and the G.I.s. For those brief moments when they were writing totheir "buddy", they could joke around and talk about otherthings besides war.

Then, there are the letters that pull at yourheart. Those are some of my favorites, too. The whole book takes youon an emotional journey and leaves you appreciating the sacrificesmade, not only by Bob, but also by every G. I., as well as those athome.

Norm: Linda and Martha: Where can our readers findout more about both of you and Dear Bob: Bob Hope's WartimeCorrespondence with the G.I.s of World War ll?

Linda:Well, you can get the book on Amazon. In fact, I was very excited tofind out that the book has become the #1 New Release in LiteraryLetters on Amazon. You can also visit us at the Bob & DoloresHope Foundation Website
Martha:My WEBSITE  The book is available atmost bookstores and online book sites, and from the publisher,University Press of Mississippi.

Norm: Thank you somuch for taking the time to answer my questions. It's been anabsolute pleasure.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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