Emily, welcome back to Homeschooled Authors. What have you been up to since the last time you were here?
Thank you! Since I was last interviewed on Homeschooled Authors I’ve penned two more books—a WWII novel entitled RESIST and an epistolary novella, AIN’T WE GOT FUN, that I co-authored with Emily Chapman.
You did a lot of research for Resist. What were some of the most helpful resources you found?
Since Resist is based on a true story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, one of the most helpful resources I found was the book The Diaries and Letters of Hans and Sophie Scholl. Reading their words helped to bring their story to life and keep my interpretation of them as true to reality as possible. I also purchased non-fiction books about them so that I could underline passages and keep the historical details straight. I read poetry Hans and Sophie would have read, drawing on their love of the written word as quoted in their letters. Pinterest boards for novels are always helpful as well. When you're creating characters from scratch, it's easy to picture them in your head as you please, but when they're real people it's necessary to study their faces and expressions. You can check out my Pinterest board for Resist HERE. I also used YouTube to take virtual research trips around Munich. I’m thankful for people who record their travels!
What was the hardest part about writing Resist?
Emotionally, the hardest part was the research and the ending. I think I cried the most while doing the research because the story was still new and fresh to me. Maybe the writing didn’t make me cry as much because I put myself in Hans’ place for the entire novel … maybe some of his courage was passed on to me. “I knew what I took upon myself and I was prepared to lose my life by doing so …. please don’t be too grieved that I have to leave this earth so soon .... please know that Sophie and I couldn’t have acted in any other way.” But I can’t deny that the ending was hard and I had tears burning in my eyes as I wrote the final words.
Historically, the hardest part were the chapters on the Eastern Front. Hans was a German medic serving in Russia in 1942, and although I had his diary entries from this time, I wanted an even deeper understanding of everyday life as a medic so I could make the front come alive. Between Hans’ diaries and another first-hand account of a German doctor, I was able to understand it better.
What was the easiest part?
The beginning came really easily to me. It was one of those wonderful and rare times when they words just flow and won’t stop.
What are some fictional books set during WWII that you have enjoyed?
The Wall by John Hersey
Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Under a War-Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott
Soldiers Boys by Dean Hughes
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
When I was researching Resist, I noticed something similar in all the books I was reading—The White Rose leaflets were always in the back of the book. I'm sure there are people who read them, but I imagine there are many readers who don't. So when I began writing Resist, I didn't want to just stick those amazing intellectual works in the back. I wanted them to be a part of the story because Hans, Sophie, Alex, Christl, Willi, Professor Huber ... they all died for these leaflets. I incorporated the six leaflets into the story and I hope readers will take a moment to soak in their words. The White Rose resistance group believed in their cause so much that they were willing to risk their lives to write and distribute these leaflets. We should take a minute to read them.
Where can people get it?
It’s available in paperback, ebook, and audio on Amazon.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for having me on Homeschooled Authors!
Emily Ann Putzke is a young novelist, historical reenactor, and history nerd. She's the author of IT TOOK A WAR, RESIST, and co-author of AIN'T WE GOT FUN. You can find out more about Emily and her books at www.authoremilyannputzke.com