This week is the blog tour for author Jack Lewis Baillot’s new release: Brothers In Arms, and I’m participating today with a guest post from Jack. The topic: how she went about research for her WWII novel!
We’re glad to have you on the blog, Jack! Welcome!
How One Author Went About WWII Research
“Greetings to everyone. I am the Author known as Jack. I write books and eat cookies, and today I am here on Rawl’s blog because I have a book escaping my folders and fleeing into the world.
My book, Brothers-in-Arms, is a WWII historical fiction, and Rawls thought it might be fun if I did a post on the research I did while writing the book.
When I first started I had no idea where to begin the research. I knew a lot about WWII from my history book – well, the over view of everything such as when the war took place, who fought on which side, and who won. But, like most of my history books growing up, I knew little about the people. And that was why I wanted to write my book. I didn’t so much want a book which went into detail about the battles and politics, but the people who lived through it all.
After I invaded the library and picked up a couple books which would give me the basic information I would need – who was where at what date, when the allies made it into Germany, and more details on dates – I went on a rampage to find other, more helpful information. Armed with the knowledge I would need to keep my book accurate, I now wanted actual real life stories. Thankfully my best friend was reading a lot of WWII books at this time and was able to set me in the right direction.
I first ventured into the biography section and stayed there until I finished the book. (Okay, so I went home a lot in between, but I went back there about every week and checked out another stack of books.)
I soon discovered I had gotten on to something.
Reading biographies not only gave me first hand accounts of the events of the war, I got to see into the minds of the men and women who lived in that time period. I came to realize how their mindset was, how they thought and felt, how they acted. This led to some changes in my book when I went back to edit.
I came to see that men back then, though I wouldn’t call them gruff or aloof, were less open about their fears or sorrows. While they suffered, and so many did, the men and women who went through those events didn’t let their emotions show too often. They kept things to themselves and pushed through. Of course they were effected, they were hurt and came out on the other side with scars, but I believe because of their mindset they were able to make it through the other side. They did care about their loved ones, but they also knew what had to be done to survive and sometimes that meant not giving into their fears and to keep going.
By the time I had finished the second draft of my book I came to realize this has been the best means of research I’ve ever discovered and when I do more historical fiction I plan to carry out the research in the same manner. It is clearer and gives the right feel when you see the world through the eyes of those who lived through it.
So no, I didn’t use a lot of facts in my book. I did when I needed to make sure it kept true to the events in WWII, but mostly my research involved meeting me like Louie Zamperini, Charlie Brown, the paratroopers, and others. And I hope that, because of them, my book has the right 1940’s feel.”
Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler’s Germany?
Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.
With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they’ve always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet’s heritage a secret. Taking his best friend’s safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.
With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can’t be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.
Available May 31st!
Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.
When Jack isn’t writing, which doesn’t happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.
She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn’t quite equal to Prince Adam’s but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.
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Follow along with the Blog Tour on Jack’s Blog
Be back this Friday for #FishingForAnswers where we’ll discuss villains in our favorite series!
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