Lisel Spann has dreamed only of wonderful things in her future. Living with her father, sister, and brother in a cramped apartment in Berlin, the small family shares what seems to be an unbreakable spirit of love and security. However, with the rise of the Nazi party and approaching dark clouds of war, any kind of future grows increasingly uncertain. Knowing little of hate and destruction, Lisel is ill prepared as the storms of battle erupt in full fury and loved ones are taken from her as her beautiful city is reduced to rubble.
With fear and despair rising within, it is through her quiet, compassionate father that Lisel discovers faith and hope. Now, in a desperate journey to find her sister, Lisel and her neighbor flee Berlin and the advancing Russians for Frankfurt, a city under the protection of the Allies. But their flight to safety is filled with pain, hunger, and terror. However, with spiritual lessons and blessings from her father, the support of departed loved ones, and her tried but undying faith in a loving Heavenly Father, perhaps Lisel can emerge like the fireweedâ€”rising strong and beautiful from scorched earth â€”transforming bitterness and despair into a charity that never faileth.
Terry, what makes you passionate about writing?
Telling a story that helps a reader think about a concept from a different perspective. Perhaps that perspective affirms her own beliefs about herself or her world or someone elseâ€™s world. Perhaps it doesnâ€™t. Maybe she gains understanding and develops a clearer vision because sheâ€™s seeing it through the eyes of a character sheâ€™s never encountered before. What I love is helping someone turn over a few rocks and looking underneath.
Do you have a writing routine?
Some days I do but sometimes that doesnâ€™t work out the way Iâ€™d like. Now, writers have to do so much more than write. There are promotional things, like blog interviews, websites and author pages to maintain and press releases. There are discussions with people in the industry and meetings to attend. Then, there is the market news to keep up with. If only it was just writing!
The routine I do try to maintain is built around what is going on in my family. Meals, dishes, laundry, school attendance and activities for the littlest kids. Plus, our daughter is a cancer patient and requires quite a lot of tending. Itâ€™s just hard sometimes to keep to a routine.
What is the title of your book?
Fireweed. With a subtitle of A Novel of World War II.
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical Womenâ€™s Fiction is the one I use most often to describe it. It is also a coming-of-age story of a teen-aged girl so it could be Young or New Adult. Or, maybe just General Fiction, if that exists anymore.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Fireweed is the story of an LDS German family trying to survive in Nazi Berlin during World War II.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I suppose any story that is set against a backdrop of war and concerns the challenges of being a woman in that place and that time.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I was doing research on the evacuation of American LDS missionaries from Nazi Germany at the time Germany invaded Poland during the first week of September of 1939. When I interviewed some of those evacuees, they had family members sitting in on the interviews and some of those family members were Germans who had lived in Germany during the course of WWII. Frequently, I asked a question the interviewee couldnâ€™t answer from his/her memory. Theyâ€™d excuse themselves to go into the next room to retrieve a journal or an album. While I was waiting, the German family members or friends would say, â€œNow, let me tell you what happened to me.â€ A writer never lets anything go to waste so I began taking another set of notes from the stories I heard. That led me to believe there was a story to be told about the LDS Germans living in Nazi Germany during the war.
Oh, the book Mine Angels Round About, which is the compilation of stories from the missionaries evacuated out of Nazi Germany will be available in the next few months. If youâ€™re interested, watch for it at Amazon.
Great, thank you. What else about your book might pique the readerâ€™s interest?
Itâ€™s not hard to find a story about World War II, told from a male soldierâ€™s point of view and especially one from an American viewpoint. This story is told by, first, a teen-aged German girl, then by her maturing self as she sees her country and people destroyed and vanquished. It shows how she comes to the conclusion that the worst thing her countrymen ever did was to themselves through arrogance or ignorance. She also learns that hope endures, love endures, and family connections endure. Self endures.
Where can we find your book?
You can pre-order a print book through Amazon now for the release on October 5. Iâ€™m told a Kindle book will also be available soon. (Iâ€™m only the author and donâ€™t get to hear these kinds of things. J)
Tags: American LDS missionaries, coming of age, Fireweed, general fiction, Historical Womenâ€™s Fiction, LDS author, LDS German family, Mine Angels Round About, new adult, September of 1939, story of a teen-aged girl, War Ya, World War II, ya, young