Subtle, as most of you blogophiles already know, I don't do. Gentle hinting is not my greatest strength.
That said: READ THIS BOOK! Its title is A VALLEY OF BETRAYAL. Tricia Goyer wrote it. I almost resent this book for being so good--it takes me away from my slow-going WIP, which we won't talk about right now because I think y'all should Read This Book!
Tricia kindly asked me to participate in her blog tour. While reading (did I mention you should do the same?) I got curious: how does a 21st century lady get interested in the Spanish Civil War, of all things?
Here are my curiosity-bits and her answers:
1. What was the toughest piece of research you did for A VALLEY OF BETRAYAL?
The most difficult parts are those dealing with the political climates of that time. One of my characters, Deion, is part of the Communist party. Today's reader has one view of what that means, but in the 1930s there was hope found there. In a country that was still segregated, the idea of "equality of men" was a huge draw, especially for African Americans.
2. How did you get into the mindset of the early Hitlerites?
Good question! My "research" into the mind of Hitler's soldiers started with my first novel, From Dust and Ashes. Starting with that novel, I've always included the point-of-view of the "bad guys." I suppose I wanted to figure out what made them tick. Research REALLY got involved in my second novel, NIGHT SONG. It was then I saw the Nazi beliefs as a religion. They saw Hitler as their savior and were determined to follow him ... no matter the cost. And, if they didn't, they lost their lives, and the lives of their families. That's a pretty good motivator!
With these things already in mind, I looked into the motives behind the earliest pilots who flew over Spain. I read books written by some of the pilots and tried to figure out what made them, personally, tick. I discovered that it was a great honor not only to fly, but to serve in the military. As you may know, after World War I, Germany was not allowed to have a military. So, in Spain this was their way of once again gaining respect after feeling as if their country had been disrespected for so long. There were also individual motives, but mainly these men felt they bore the worth and strength of Germany on their shoulders.
3. Did you travel to Spain to research there?
No, I wish I could have! Instead I dove into the books. I was also blessed to interview men who were there, and get the help/insight from a missionary friend who currently lives in Spain. When I was researching for my novel, ARMS OF DELIVERANCE, one of the autobiographies I read was from a man who was a B-17 bomber pilot over Europe--but before that, he was an American volunteer for the Spanish Civil War. I had never heard of this war before, which happened right before WWII in Spain. I started researching and I was soon fascinated. Some people call it "the first battle of WWII" because it's where that Nazis first tried their hand at modern warfare.
For this series I dove into the lives of an American artist, a few international volunteers, a Basque priest, and a German pilot. I research the real people first, and then the plot for my novel builds. Soon, I have to make myself stop researching to start writing. Research can be addictive!
4. What aspects of the politics of 1939 seemed most foreign to you?
All of the politics! Things were VERY confusing in Spain in the late 1930s. There were a group of people (the rich, the military, the state church) who liked how things were. Then there was a group that didn't ... everyone else. These others searched for answers in democracy, communism, and numerous other political systems. It took a LOT of research and study to get everything straight in my head who was on whose side, and why.
5. Do you plan on telling more of Sophie's story?
Yes, my second novel A SHADOF OF TREASON comes out this fall. In fact, book #2 picks up the very day where book #1 left off. It continues on in Spain in the lives of these characters, and ... well, soon they discover that more is at stake than what any of them originally thought. It's also published by Moody and it will hit store shelves September 1, 2007.
Generation NeXt Marriage will be released in January of 2008 and My Life unScripted, a teen devotional for girls, this summer. And, of course, I've got several other projects in the works, including A Whisper of Freedom, which is the next novel I have to write.
Those are Tricia's answers. The aspect of the book that gets my highest thumbs-up is her marvelous flair for description. You can almost sense yourself walking down the street of the French/Spanish border town, taking in the flavor of the breeze, sensing the fears of the people.
If I ever write a historical, which at this point doesn't seem terribly likely since I'm bogged down with my contemp, this is the flavor I'll be shooting for.