Sept. 1, 1939, marks the day generally accepted as the beginning of World War II. Seventy-one years ago, Germany began an aggressive showing of brute force by invading Poland, an unpunished act that eventually plunged the world into a second Great War. Though it would be years, Dec. 8, 1941, in fact, until the U.S. declared war on Japan and officially relinquished its neutral status, military intelligence was at work long beforehand.This mission to create a series of European safe houses for U.S. citizens and, eventually, allied communications is where S.A. Williams’ novel “Anna’s Secret Legacy” (Infinity Publishing) begins. U.S.N.R. pilots Doug Conyers and Lenny Anderson are sent by President Roosevelt to gather information via a series of sojourns with British and French intelligence elite. While navigating through European countries that fall to German militia, Conyers and Anderson meet Anna, a beautiful research scientist, and her hemophiliac sister, Britta. Their escapades soon entail not only gathering intelligence but also safeguarding Anna’s secret discovery — the molecular sequence needed to replicate the protein in a super-powerful sulfur water, native to her Russian homeland. Healing water may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it might be less fictional than the reader may assume, as Williams discovered in a happenstance encounter. At an event, Williams found herself in the company of Dr. Richard A. Lutz, science director of the IMAX film “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea.” Lutz shared the story of how, in 1977, a group of scientists found hot-water springs enriched with sulfur compounds on a volcano located a mile and a half below the ocean’s surface. Microbes existed in the previously thought uninhabitable environment, opening the door for further research. Williams first became interested in potentially healing formulas and antibiotics when her brother was involved in the incident that initiated our current warfare climate. “My brother escaped from 9/11,” says Williams. “When he got to Staten Island, they immediately gave him Cipro.”
The Freedom of Information Act gives the public access to vast amounts of knowledge, and Williams has used the opportunity to research penicillin and other World War II-era facts. As Hitler began amassing valuable research by horrific means, many European scientists sought to escape before being forced to work for the Third Reich. Working alongside the character of Anna at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, real-life Nobel Prize winner Dr. George de Hevesy makes an appearance in the novel with an interesting suggestion regarding his ability to separate gold from other elements. “Should those Nazi devils plan on coming here — well, they would think nothing of a plain jar with a yellow solution containing hydrochloric acid. In fact, I will label it ‘Urine,’” writes Williams as Dr. de Hevesy. Although it is a fictional account, several historical facts are key to the success of Williams’ story, but this vast knowledge was not easily attained. “I gave up my life,” says Williams of the seven months she spent hibernating in research mode. “It was so exciting, though, that it gave me energy!” Sheer excitement was not where this project started, however. A Blue Bell resident, Williams was educated in Europe and spent years at boarding school, which was the original setting for her book. “It started as a 1969 story of four girls in a boarding school at an old chateau.” Remembering the secret passageways where the girls used to hide cigarettes led Williams to consider what else may have passed through the corridors. Soon, four boarding school characters turned into World War II soldiers and scientists and “Anna’s Secret Legacy” was well under way.
An accomplished media-buyer by trade, Williams also began the project as a video. Thinking in terms of visual graphics, Williams created a DVD to pitch the idea to various studios. She even wrote a screenplay to accompany the novel. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Williams is willing to risk failure to pursue her ambitions. With her command of visual stimulation and interactive electronic environments, Williams created a website that complements the novel. “The site is getting hits from 27 countries,” says Williams. With a grass-roots website and social media presence, Williams is taking her World War II novel into cyberspace. Already at work on a sequel, Williams’ own legacy is well under way.