Title: Lydie of Peruwelz
Author: Richard Burack, Sr., MD
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1839, Lydie Fougnies, 20 years old, is attractive, refined, and educated. Her father is a well-to-do businessman. She meets Felippe Van Hendryk, single child of wealthy aristocrats. They fall in love and a two-year chaste affair leads to talk of marriage. However, his class-conscious, bigoted mother severs their relationship because Lydie is not from high society. Unhappy Felippe is sent to university in Switzerland where he marries, and divorces, the wanton daughter of a wealthy Swiss banker. Lydie is angry and resentful. She is a victim of emotion and, bent on revenge, she cannot think rationally. Believing she can wreak revenge on Mme Van Hendryk by proving her worth only if she belongs to the aristocracy, she directs her attention to Count Hippolyte de Bocarmé, a farmer who lives in a dreary, desolate 16th century chateau. Unschooled and crude, his size and strength seduce her. Certain that the rustic, prodigal son of a fine family can easily be led to the altar, she mentors him in reading, writing, and manners. Never does she suspect that he’s a conscienceless psychopathic felon. He conceals his craving to know her sexually, and plans to steal her family’s fortune.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I used the name of the main character and where the story took place. Lydie was born and educated in the small town of Peruwelz in central Belgium. Peruwelz remains a pleasant, progressive, small city.
What is your writing environment like?
My computer is on a crowded desk in my study located in my house on a mountain top in New Hampshire.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
I didn’t use anything modern other than a word processing program on my computer. Other tools were old versions of a dictionary and a thesaurus.
What inspires you to write?
I’m a pedant at heart. I needed a project to occupy me in retirement.
Did you learn anything while writing this book?
It taught me to use my imagination to weave a story based on historic facts and avoiding medical jargon. The stubbornness of habit. I learned a huge amount about 1800s and early 1900s medical research; human behavior, and especially domestic violence, which haven’t changed; power of money, the ubiquity of domestic violence, and modes of cruelty then and now.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I like to think that I’m objective. I make decisions based on facts and data.
Richard Burack has a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He served as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific Theater during the Korean War. In 1960 he was appointed to the pharmacology faculty at Harvard Medical School, and later practiced internal medicine before embarking on a career as a medical director for two U.S. non-pharmaceutical corporations. In retirement, he was a part-time physician at a charity hospital in St. Lucia and has devoted himself to writing. In 1967, Dr. Burack published The Handbook of Prescription Drugs, alerting doctors and the public to the availability of less costly generic medications. Fifty years later, the public buys the majority of its prescription drugs as “generics.” He and his wife, Mary, reside in New Hampshire. They have five children and ten grandchildren.