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Author update Summer 2018

My blog has been somewhat neglected for the last couple of months because I have become involved in two exciting new projects, at the same time as releasing my second book in the Pepys Trilogy.

Black DeathThe Black Death

I am collaborating with a group of historical fiction authors to bring you tales from around the world about the Black Death.  My story is finished and you will be able to read ‘The Repentant Thief’ along with the other stories in our anthology soon.

The Repentant Thief

Edinburgh 1645
When 12 year old Irish immigrant Finn O’Donnell steals from his neighbours, he knows it is a sin. So when his father dies of the plague, and his family are cast out from their home, he fears he is to blame. For didn’t the preacher at the kirk warn him that sinners’ families would be visited by famine and pestilence? Determined to save the rest of his family, there is only one thing Finn can do — he must brave the plague-ridden city and return the stolen goods.

The Resistance in WW2

Darkest HourThe second collaboration is with a group of nine authors writing in the era of WW2. Here is our website for The Darkest Hour:  https://thedarkesthouranthology.com.

Do go and take a look, and you’ll find my novella The Occupation, set in Jersey, listed there, along with its own book cover. Some of the novellas are not ready yet, so their individual covers are still to come.

The Occupation

When Nazi forces occupy Jersey, Céline Huber, who is married to a German, must decide where her loyalty lies. Love for her island, and fear for her Jewish friend Rachel, soon propel her into a dangerous double life.

The Darkest Hour is currently available for pre-order at Apple Book store. Because proceeds from this anthology of novellas will go to the Washington Holocaust Museum, we want this anthology to reach as many readers as possible and not only those on Amazon. If you’re interested in reading this or supporting our contribution to the Holocaust Museum, I encourage you to pre-order a copy now. The more copies we can sell on book stores outside of Amazon, the more it will help us to reach a wider, international audience. You can pre-order the copy by clicking here . (On our website you’ll find details of how to get an alert when the book is on general release to other retailers.) Pre-order price is 99c or 99p (for ten novellas!) and the price will increase after the book is released.

The Launch of A Plague on Mr Pepys

A Plague on Mr Pepys - newA Plague on Mr Pepys is out, and the irrepressible and ambitious Bess Bagwell has sprung to life, along with her mild and long-suffering husband Will, her feisty mother Agatha, and Will’s scheming cousin Jack. And Pepys too. Who could possibly forget him?!

‘A novel that transports readers with astonishing and engrossing detail’ Reader’s Favorite 5*

For the launch I have been zipping around the virtual world guesting on other people’s blogs, and you can read just a few of my posts here,  collected together for your interest:

An Interview about A Plague on Mr Pepys

Seven Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Money and House Ownership in 17th Century London

The Institution of Marriage in 17th Century England

Quackery and 17th Century Medicine

A Plague on Mr Pepys: Read a Review and an Extract

BUY THE BOOK

My schedule has quietened down a little now, and I am editing The Occupation as I’m working on the third in the Pepys Trilogy, Entertaining Mr Pepys. Of course I have another life as well as my writing life, and some of the other things I’ve been doing are playing with my drumming performance group, running a Tai Chi Summer School, teaching Yoga and learning to dance Rock n’Roll.  Writing is such a sedentary life that I fill the ‘away from the desk’ hours with as much physical exercise as I can. And my husband and I will have a walking holiday in Wales very soon, so here’s hoping the good weather holds out for us.

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Love and Resistance in WW2 Germany

 

German August-Landmesser-Almanya-1936
A lone man with his arms folded as hundreds around him perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the Horst Wessel, 1936. Picture from Wikipedia

I’m delighted to welcome Marion Kummerow to my blog to tell us about her series of books based on the true story of her grandparents.

Deborah: I’m interested to know more about your grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. They died before you were born, so how did you uncover their story? Was it through letters or stories?

Marion: The “Love and Resistance in WW2 Germany” – series is as true to reality as possible.

What happened to my grandparents Hansheinrich and Ingeborg Kummerow was a big, fascinating mystery when I was a child. Their names were rarely, if ever, mentioned in my family and my sister and I only knew they were dead and had been “spies” for the Russians.

During the Cold War they were still considered traitors, because of their communist/social ideals. But after the German reunification in 1989, the political climate changed enough to acknowledge also the German resistance, people that had worked with the Soviets, for the heroes they had been.

Several years later, a student of political sciences visited my parents’ house to write a bachelor thesis about my grandfather. Her work unearthed a lot of documentation that had been collected in the Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand in Berlin.

And, because my family is one of collectors and keepers (you’ll know this from Q in the book Unrelenting), all their letters, and the many letters between Q’s mother and Hilde’s step-mother were still in our possession. Most of my knowledge about Q’s and Hilde’s lives is based on those letters.

In ‘Unrelenting’, the character of Q is a scientist. How did you go about researching the sort of work he did, and why did this work make him a target for the Nazi regime? Were other scientists targeted in this way?

I don’t think his work made him an explicit target for the Nazi regime. Every scientist who could make a useful contribution to the war effort was confronted with tough decisions at some point in his career.

Albert Einstein had to emigrate (he was a Jew), but many Aryan scientists i.e. Thomas Mann decided to emigrate, too. Not out of need, but out of conscience. During the Nazi times it was “Who’s not for me is against me”, there was no other way.

The character of Hilde resists being drawn in to the Nazi propaganda which is popular with her peers. What made the propaganda so powerful for young Germans, and what gave Hilde the inner strength to resist it?

Hitler unfortunately was clever. He grabbed the people at their vulnerabilities. He promised to make Germany great again, to give the people jobs, food, and money. It was the time after the Great Depression (which also swept over Germany), so there was a need for promises of a better future.

Later the propaganda gave the young people a feeling of belonging. Group activities, sports competitions, all this leads to powerful communities. People don’t think straight when they’re in a mass of like-minded people. You can observe this in any kind of sports event nowadays.

Tell me a little about your writing life, and what you plan next.

I usually write in the morning and do all other publishing related work in the afternoon, before I have to drop everything at 3.30 p.m. to fetch my daughter from daycare.

Now, that I’ve finished the third book, Unwavering, in the Love and Resistance in WW2 Germany series, I have planned another series in the same time period. The War Girl series will have at least four books and features three sisters in Berlin of 1943 and onwards.  If you read Unwavering you’ll already meet two of the sisters. Prison guard Ursula Herrmann and nurse Anna Klausen.

The “Blonde Angel” Ursula was mentioned in one of my grandmothers letters, but the new series is entirely fiction, as the only reference to a real person is her nickname. I was thoroughly intrigued by the idea of a friendly prison guard and that led me to decide to write a book about her. War Girl Ursula will be published in May or June 2017.

KummerowUnrelenting by Marion Kummerow

I admired the way that the novel shows us the drama of living in pre-War Germany, a side of the war not often seen by English readers. The couple, Marion’s grandparents, Q and Hilde, meet in this part of the trilogy. Q is a scientist and a communist with ideals about serving humanity, and Hilde, unlike her peers, does not agree with the bullying tactics of the Nazi propaganda machine. As a couple, their falling in love is portrayed with touching sentiment. The book brings home the reality of the persecution of scientists and intellectuals in this era, and the fear that gripped Germany as the true nature of Hitler’s regime began to bite. Parallels to politics today are unavoidable, but do make the book more interesting! I knew very little about the collaboration of Germans with the Soviet Union, so this has been an eye-opening read. I would class it more as a memoir than a novel, as much of the narrative is told rather than fully envisaged, but the truth of this story is its strength, and I would  recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Germany at this time.