New Project: An Emotional Immigration Story

The idea of leaving your country and what it does to you has been with me since I left German in January 1987 to spend 30 plus years in the U.S. A sense of feeling lost, of not belonging, of struggling to fit in, missing your family, and searching for friendship accompanied me until my return to Germany in 2017. I had the means and opportunity to return, many others didn’t and don’t today.

book cover WWII novelI wrote about losing your home and being forced to resettle in a new place in my WWII novel THE SCENT OF A STORM. Between 1944 and 1950, more than ten million Germans lost their homes, land and belongings permanently. Many lost their lives fleeing from the Red Army in the spring of 1945. Many more were forced to move after the war until 1950. The descendants of those families all carry stories of their parents, many still feel displaced or at least restless today.

Another major emigration wave happened in the 19th century. All of us have heard of the potato famine in Ireland, when millions of Irish died of starvation and those who still could, left the country in search of a better life. The vast majority settled in America. In the German states and kingdoms, people were also starving. Potatoes rotted, crops were lost, a population boom sent many to the cities without the means of supporting themselves. In Germany, this era of abject poverty was called pauperism.

Using this historical background, I’m writing a two-book series – book one is complete – about a young German woman, Mina (Wilhelmina) Peters who is married to Roland, a no-good husband. When he returns one night, having been involved in a crime, he forces her to leave on the spot. Together, they travel to Bremerhaven and then via ship toward America, financed through the redemptioner program, a type of slavery. On a water stop in Liverpool, Davin Callaghan, an Irish man from Skibbereen boards with his family. THE LIFE WE REMEMBER is a complicated story of love, hatred, revenge and forgiveness, a story of two immigrants who are both married and have all the odds against them. The cover of book one will be forthcoming.