Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Story Time . . . WILDFLOWERS OF TEREZIN - Interview & Giveaway
A special Story Time Tuesday treat for y'all today—an interview with multi-pubbed author Robert Elmer about his newly released historical novel, Wildflower of Terezin, which looks absolutely amazing.
Robert has graciously offered a giveaway, so as usual, leave your comments below along with how we can reach you if you win. Enjoy!
About Wildflowers of Terezin
Wildflowers of Terezin is a sweeping historical novel set against a backdrop of danger. A Danish Lutheran pastor’s complacent faith is stretched to the breaking point during World War II when he meets a young Jewish nurse Hanne Abrahamsen and becomes deeply involved in Resistance efforts to save Denmark’s Jews from the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia—also known as Theresienstadt.
Challenged by his activist brother and swayed by his own attraction to Hanne, Pastor Steffen abandons his formerly quiet, uninvolved life and hesitantly volunteers to help smuggle Denmark’s Jews out of the country before a Nazi roundup. Steffen finds that helping his Jewish neighbors is the most decent, spiritual thing he has ever done. As he actually does God’s work, rather than just talking about it, Steffen’s faith deepens and he takes greater risks in his sermons.
When things go terribly wrong and Hanne is sent to Terezin, Steffen finds his heart fully engaged. He undertakes protests and rescues that are more and more dangerous, never imagining where it will lead him, or the ultimate cost of his decision to get directly involved.
Robert Elmer (www.RobertElmerBooks.com) has written more than 50 books for youth and adults, building on his experience as a news editor and reporter, advertising copywriter, teacher, and assistant pastor. When he’s not writing (or sailing) he’s a mentor and editorial board member for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, and has spoken to young audiences across North America. Robert and his wife Ronda live in the Pacific Northwest.
What's your latest book?
Wildflowers of Terezin came out from Abingdon Press in May 2010.
What's your favorite part of the story?
One of my favorite parts is… uh-oh, if I described it to you I would be giving away one of the most important plot twists. Sorry! It has to do with… oh wow, I really can’t say anything about it. You’ll just have to read the book all the way to the end to find out what my favorite part was. J (Sorry, I really wasn’t trying to be coy. But it’s true. That scene at the end where… oh, never mind.)
LOL. We'll just say “the end,” then. What was the hardest part to write?
The hardest part was one of the scenes in the prison camp, when Hanne is taking care of a sick little girl she met. It reminded me of the quote from Robert Frost, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Well, I think there were tears with the writer in those scenes, and others.
Take note of this reader—a man, admitting to tears! Okay, so I admit it, I don't think I've ever cried when writing . . . I'm weird. Anyway. What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?
I want my readers to lose themselves momentarily in the real world where faith matters and God is in control. Outside of my books, faith of course still matters and God is still in control. Problem is, sometimes it can get so foggy out here, it’s tough to really see. In my stories I pull away the fog and show let readers experience the world the way it’s supposed to be, whether that’s in the past, present, or future.
Beautifully put. Is there a theme to this book?
The story is about faith in the face of deadly opposition, about choosing the right thing and making love work when it’s hard. It’s a challenge to complacent faith, and a contrast between those who seek safety and those who just do the right thing, period. Where is the safest place, really? I think we can all relate to that kind of challenge, even if we’re not living in a war zone or a prison camp.
Very true. I'm currently exploring that in a WIP too. It really stretches your own faith to explore that through your characters, doesn't it? But let's keep going—is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?
All the months of preparation and writing that went into “The Young Underground” also went into this book. I’ve poured through stacks of old Danish books, looking for the best information from original sources. Good thing I read Danish!
I'll say! I had a professor in college who learned to read Danish solely so he could read Soren Keirkegard's original Fear and Trembling. That earned a big “Wow!”
from me. What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?
I think there are a lot of challenges common to most authors. Dealing with schedules and the business aspect of writing is one of the largest challenges, actually. Keeping our stories fresh. That’s why I’m so excited about Wildflowers of Terezin. This is a story I’ve been dying to tell for a long time. Many writers call it the story “I had to write.”
And those are so rewarding for both writer and reader, once they finally come to reality. Do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?
I was in the shower when my wife Ronda came running to me that Bethany House wanted to contract my first children’s book, A Way Through the Sea. (The editor had telephoned us.) That was in the early 1990s, and it had the same setting as my newest book! Anyway, everybody started screaming.
Well, thank you so much for visiting with us, Robert! Readers, you'll want to check out Robert's website at www.robertelmerbooks.com.
You can purchase Wildflower of Terezin at Amazon or CrossPurposes.
Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered confirmation of your eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 5/31/10. Winner will be given two weeks to respond before a new one is selected.