I’m welcoming Terri Wangard, WWII novelist! So happy you’re here today, Terri. Readers don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win No Neutral Ground.
After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he is troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.
Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie assists the OSS at the American legation in Sweden. She thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.
How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?
Buy her book here: Amazon
Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?
I enjoyed writing in grade school, but didn’t keep it up. I love books and got a Masters of Library Science degree. I read Christian romances from the church library and found many to be so similar, as if they were written by formula. I decided to try writing my own story. That was in the early 2000s. A publisher had the manuscript for a year before saying no thanks. I put writing aside until 2008, when I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes. That prompted me to start writing again.
What is the message(s) in the book you’re promoting today? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? Can you give us a very brief scene (paragraph) as an example?
When I wrote No Neutral Ground, I didn’t have a theme in mind. I didn’t plot it out, but wrote more as a pantster. God as the Father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) turned out to be the book’s primary verse. Here’s a snippet:
Rafe nodded. “My grandmother told me to think of God as my father after my dad rejected us. I wanted Dad’s approval so badly, it hurt. But when I pictured God putting his hand on me in place of Dad, I felt assurance.”
That’s a very good one! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it? J
Rafe and Jennie meet when they cross the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary. Interest is there, but they go their separate ways, unlikely to see each other again. But then they do, under circumstances that are less than favorable.
Much of the story takes place in Sweden, which isn’t well known for its role in World War II. My website banner says History That Entertains and Enlightens. I hope that is how readers find No Neutral Ground, an enjoyable story in which they also learn something.
Give us three items about yourself: hobbies, loves, fun or weird habits, food/snack kicks you like, what would you be if not a writer–that sort of thing.
- I used to do a lot of cross stitch. If my spare time wasn’t consumed by writing, I’d take it up again, although there’s no more room on the walls to hang any more of my “masterpieces.”
- Because of my dad’s allergies, we never had a dog. I’d look at all the breeds under DOG in the World Book Encyclopedia and dream of what kind of dog I’d someday get. I made a friend who lives across the lake after seeing her walk her dachshunds while I was bike riding. I stopped to pet her dogs.
- I love chocolate, but I’m allergic to it. There’s an advantage to that. I can eat chocolate sparingly without ill effects, but I don’t dare eat a lot. And that’s good. Once on the lips, forever on the hips, you know.
Oh, my, I agree! Lastly, share an incident when you’ve been very happy/excited or very disappointed/depressed during and because of your writing career? How were you able to get past the bad and move on to the good?
I had a professional edit done on No Neutral Ground. It was scathing. I couldn’t believe it. Nothing I had written was right. The editor suggested I should be writing for children. My main character was selfish and shallow for laughing at a joke. (What? People didn’t laugh during World War II?) This was the year No Neutral Ground was a Genesis finalist.
I went to the ACFW conference in Dallas and, during a mentor appointment, I shared the first few pages with Gayle Roper. She didn’t agree with all the comments and encouraged me not to take them all too seriously. I did evaluate the remarks. Some I ignored, some I acted on. And I never went back to that editor.
I love Gayle Roper and the way she encourages beginning authors. (Did so to me, too!) And thank you so much for joining us.
Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer.
- These days she is writing historical fiction, and
- won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and
- 2013 First Impressions, as well as
- being a 2012 Genesis finalist.
Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
What fun, Terri, to ride in that WWII bomber! So glad you joined us.
Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win No Neutral Ground!