Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ny first publication

My first publication:

I wish it were as simple as putting pen to paper and creating a masterpiece of literature.
I joined Romance Writers of America three years ago and quickly learned there was a lot to learn. Our chapter was invaluable with the workshops and business meetings. Our guest speakers shed light on different aspects of the craft and made the writing better.
The chapter members themselves are a constant source of support. I had a head bursting with story ideas and worked on about four projects at one time. I decided I had to commit to a manuscript, see it to “the end” and get with my critique partner.

The story facts are researched. Is there a murder? Brush up on police procedure. Is your heroine in bank security? Learn her job. Details make the story believable and put the reader in the characters shoes, experiencing what they experience.
The idea for my story came at a random moment. I read about a man asking if the Kindertransport could be included in a holocaust memorial, and he was told “I never heard of you.” this piqued my interest. I read more about the transport and researching led me to Grafeneck castle. An interesting place with its own a history. My story would take place in pre war Nazi Germany.

I knew my heroine right away. A nurse brought up to be compassionate. An innocent girl tossed into a circumstance beyond her control. Her faith challenged, she had to make a choice. Erika Lehmier learns Grafeneck castle is going to be changed from a monastery housing handicapped children to a killing center bent on destroying “useless eaters.”

My hero was more elusive at first. I thought American right away but the historical timeline wasn’t right. The story is set in 1939. American involvement wouldn’t happen for another two years. British? Possible but the last transport happened before the war started. My hero needed to be home grown. Nazi’s aren’t generally romantic heroes but what if he had an agenda? My decision to keep the story first person kept us out of our hero’s head but kept the heroine always wondering about him.

There were some challenges in writing about a place I had never been during a time before I was born. I interviewed a couple of war brides and read “Inside Nazi Germany.” to find out what life was like for the average person in 1939.

The word “honey” was never used in Europe. This term of endearment was an American import adopted by Europeans during the war. Being a southern girl, it was very difficult not to use the word. Of course, American slang and culture based expressions had to go. Germans are not “off base” nor do they “drop the ball” when they make a mistake. No Americanisms allowed. You don’t realize how often you use colloquialism until you have to go back and delete them all from a 300-page manuscript.

I wrote, rewrote, and reworked the story over again before I submitted. After torturing my critique partner, and a thousand rewrites, I was ready to submit my manuscript. I worked on my query letter and synopsis, and then I submitted. I got a very nice rejection recommending changes to make and a request to resubmit. I followed her instructions and resubmitted, it was then accepted.

I got to work with an editor and spent more time “fluffing and folding” until the manuscript was ready for print.
The book cover is beautiful. Grafeneck castle is seen in the background while the edelweiss flower is in the foreground, a faded swastika behind it. The symbolism of the edelweiss flower dominating a fading swastika: pure love’s domination over evil. Nicola Martinez is a wonderful artist.

Kindertransport is released on August the seventh from Wild Rose Press.


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