Sometimes after publishing a book, a certain inertia sets in, a kind of lull. Some authors don’t experience any pauses, others take months or even years until they return to writing. For meÂ this ‘phase’ typically doesn’t last very long. Very soon, I’m antsy again and my brain searches for the next great story.
After publishing my seventh novel, and while I’m still researching my next project, I took advantage of the lull by deciding to repurchase the rights to my time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, from my U.K. publisher, Lodestone. Very soon I’ll share the new covers I’ve ordered. All three books will be republished as second editions.
Surviving the Fatherland Interview
Last month I had the honor of being interviewed about my award-winning true story, Surviving the Fatherland, on ManyBooks. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
What inspired you to write a coming-of-age love story set in WWII Germany?
Growing up, I always felt there were a lot of stories hidden in my family. Iâ€™d hear bits and pieces, brief references or watch my parents nod at each other in silent understanding. As my interest in history grew, my curiosity grew with it. So in 2002 I asked my parents to share their stories. I spent several weeks visiting them in Germany and recording their memories. I remember one afternoon we were in the basement while my mother ironed. Iâ€™d ask questions and sheâ€™d tell me about the way her mother treated her. I still have those tapes though itâ€™s hard for me to hear my motherâ€™s voice. She passed away in 2004.
My mother always insisted that my father was the better storyteller. And while I agree that his activities were quite adventurous, my motherâ€™s quieter side offered a lot of depth. And so I think the two characters balance each other out nicely.
We most often hear WWII stories from the allies’ side. Why did pick the “wrong side” of the war as the backdrop for your book?
Initially, I had planned to write short stories so my children could remember their grandparents. But then I realized there were few if any stories about Germanyâ€™s war children and the civilian side of WWII. Of course, we have excellent and moving stories about the Holocaust and the soldierâ€™s war. There is no shortage of battle scenes. Yet, many battles were fought at home. They werenâ€™t drawing as much attention, but they were just as heroic. I wanted to add complexity to the stereotypical portrayal of Germany during the Third Reich.
This book has received multiple awards. What has the experience been like?
Humbling. Iâ€™m super happy Surviving the Fatherland has been so well received. I just wish my mother couldâ€™ve been here to witness the wonderful response to her life story.