Open-Air Reading, Award News and a New Release

woman reading from a book outdoors
Photo credit Martina Hörle

Last Sunday, authors and guests met for a hike and some readings in an area known for its heathers and bogs. This was only the second event since Corona began and it felt amazing to be outdoors sharing my WWII novel WHEN THEY MADE US LEAVE. The great Michael Völkel entertained us with medieval music and ballads, carting his strange looking instruments all over the trails.

man playing with two recorders
Photo credit Martina Hörle

This event just emphasized for me that we must find opportunities to come together despite the Corona cloud hanging over our heads. It’s been a tough six months, much tougher in the U.S. than here in Germany. Still, the widespread restrictions of our lives, the many sick and dying/dead, are heartbreaking. I’m thankful my father can remain in his home and not be locked away in some retirement facility.

skoutz award silverSkoutz Award

The German version of SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND has made it into the finals for the Skoutz Award. The final voting has ended. Normally, I’d have been invited to the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the largest in the world. But again, thanks to Corona there won’t be a large event, rather, winners will be announced online in a small virtual ceremony. In the end, my parents’ story is already a winner, having found 70,000+ readers, having learned new details and potentially gained a deeper understanding of German history.

book cover for WWII novella with ravenNew Release of WWII Novella “A LIGHTNESS IN MY SOUL”

I’m very excited to share the news about my upcoming release. This story is based on true events and takes place in the first months after the war ended in Germany. My friend brought this story to me after meeting an elderly man in a car repair shop. He told her a story he’d never shared with anyone.

KLV Youth Camp – Bundesarchiv

A Short Intro

Researching this story, I reviewed documentary material from the U.S. liberation of Dachau, including U.S. Army reports, images, eyewitness testimonies, etc. Though I write plenty about wars and am used to harsh narratives, this story was difficult to research and write. I had to take breaks and let the information settle. Of course, I knew the story of the concentration camp Dachau. As a German pupil in high school, I watched movies and studied history, detailing the actrocities, the Hitler’s Third Reich bestowed on minorities and six million Jews. Yet, this project was different because I not only read and watched what took place there, I had to place my protagonist and his sidekick into this environment. I so to speak took this story into my mind to envision and develop.

Still, like with SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND and WHEN THEY MADE US LEAVE, I built in friendship, hope and redemption. I also added a touch of the metaphysical to lighten the gravity of this tale and make it entertaining at the same time. A LIGHTNESS IN MY SOUL is only about a third in length of my typical books, yet it is densely packed with story.

I hope you will agree.

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