Readers frequently ask me why I write historical fiction rather than works set in the present (both my books — DEVIL’S DEN and TIME FALL — center on historical events.) I suppose much of the reason is simply my personal passion; I’ve been intrigued by the past for much of my life, and I’m constantly astounded by how much we can learn from the past (if we would only pay attention). Those time periods that engage me most at present are the US Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the 1920s.
Writing historical fiction is very challenging, as I care deeply about history and strive to ensure the accuracy of every detail. But I find the research almost as fulfilling as the writing. My readers are also expert, I know, and I do my best not to let them down. For example, in TIME FALL, I had to research every detail of weapons and equipment that would have been carried by US Army Rangers in combat in 1945. I even had to get the wording on their “dog tags” right, as patterns changed during the course of the war. I also spent time learning how American soldiers spoke in the 1940s (WW II veterans alive today actually use different expressions than they did in their youth). I learned about the culture of the 1930s and 1940s by closely observing the movies, songs, books, radio programs, news reels and written materials that soldiers in the Second World War – both American and German – would have grown up with.
I feel quite fortunate to have found this marvelous outlet for my own obsessions. I currently live in France, and every day I encounter direct reminders of both WWI and WWII, and I learn more about the personal toll each war took on the individuals and the countries. Sharing the emotional and intellectual impact of those experiences, and putting them into a fictional context, rife with what I hope are compelling characters and events, is immensely satisfying for me and I hope enlightening to my readers.
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