Hello! Thank you for having me back! I sometimes think I won't get invited back to places as I have a talent for creating national disasters. (World domination schemes gone wrong.)
Aw, what have I been up to.....I have the grand scheme this year of accomplish more with my writing. Therefore, I have been devoting myself to tormenting the characters who thought it would be fun to subject themselves to my pen. The biggest undertaking at the moment is my Historical Fiction WWII book, Brothers-in-Arms.
What inspired you to Brothers-in-Arms?
Germany's role in WWII. I read a book about a pastor who tried to save three boys from the Hitler's Youth. The book shocked me. Before I read it I had been convinced all the Germans did - every one of them - was kill Jews and sit in dark corners shooting Americans. I had no idea before that that some Germans stood up to Hitler and fought against him. (Since then I have read many stories and learned of many men and women who risked their lives in Nazi Germany to save the lives of Jews.)
After reading the book I was filled with the desire to attempt my own story of Germans who knowingly put their lives on the line to fight against the evil going on around them.
Your new book, Brothers-in-Arms, is a historical fiction. Tell us about what all went into the research for this book?
During the first draft all I did was google things as I wrote. When I went back I wanted more information on the war, time period, and the people who did what was considered impossible. This lead me to a stack of biographies I have been devouring. I have learned of so many amazing men and women during my reading. That is a very short answer....the actual research took much more time. I am still in the middle of it and my stack of books I am reading only grows. But reading the biographies is about the extent of it. I wanted to get first hand stories into what was going on, and to remind myself of why I was writing my book. I can't pretend I am going to come away with a story as amazing as the ones which were true, but I hope in some small way I can remind others of the men and women who never wanted to tell their stories.
What drew to World War II?
For years I refused to have anything to do with WWII. All of the pain and evil which took place during that time frightened me. Hitler still gives me a creepy feeling. However, once I read the book which inspired mine - it is called While Mortals Sleep by the way and I highly recommend it - I felt like there was no turning back. That book showed me that, while it was a time of great evil and suffering, it was also a time of courage. A time when people united to fight for and save those who needed them.
What draws me to WWII now are men like Louis Zamperini, Russell Allen Phillips, Charlie Brown, Franz Stigler, Mathe Cohn, the Tuskegee Airmen, and others. I am drawn to the people who fought when the odds seemed impossible, and kept going because they couldn't stand back and do nothing as millions were slain.
Who inspired the characters of Japhet Buchanan and Franz Kappel?
This is kind of awkward, but Steve Rogers and James Buchanan Barnes. While I was writing I had just seen The Winter Soldier, and their friendship and loyalty to each other sparked my life long love of friendship stories and moved my book along. So while I hadn't heard of all the friendships which I've stumbled upon during the research stage while I wrote the rough draft, I took inspiration from a couple of fictional characters. (I also gathered inspiration from my friendships which grew between myself and some very dear friends of mine. When I went back to edit I also added in things which myself and my best friend would do. The catapult scene is one.)
What was the hardest part of the book to write?
The ending. I don't want to give much away, but I dreaded that part long before I got there. The interrogations the Nazis put people through frightened me and I sometimes felt sick just thinking of the idea of writing one. I toned it down as much as I could, but I didn't want to do it too far as I wanted to show readers what it was really like for Jews who were taken by the Nazis. The things Japhet goes through were nothing near as bad as what the real life Jews went through, and reading about some of the tortures for research often had me curled up at my desk crying.
Who do you think will enjoy this book.
I'd like to say everyone. Because it is fun to shout. "EVERYONE!" But I am hoping anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Anyone like me, who likes that genre but can only seem to find romances which have the same plot and would like a new plot and story line. And hopefully everyone who likes WWII.
What is next for you as a writer?
This question made me laugh. After all the tears I put into Brothers-in-Arms I told myself I would never write another WWII story. I have a couple of big projects going on now - the completion of my Steampunk series and finishing my fantasy series this year - but somehow, a possible new WWII story has jumped into the mix. I don't know if I want to admit this too loudly, but there is a good chance the book will be written, so it looks like Brothers-in-Arms was only the start.
Where can readers connect with you?
My website, Facebook, and Twitter.