Friday, May 18, 2012
Back to 1942
I started my new book yesterday. Technically, I haven't finished the last one, as I'm still working on the final draft of book #5 of The Righteous series, before sending it to my agent and editor for feedback. But it's close enough that it's a mop up effort at this point. I'm quite pleased with how this one has turned out and feel like books 4 (The Blessed and the Damned) and 5 (Destroying Angel) are the strongest of the series, with enough resolution to hopefully satisfy readers looking for closure of the main plot, but enough left at the end to pull us into the next series of three books if we can come to an agreement with the publisher about an extension. I think we will; sales have been strong. But back to 1942. I'm starting in Amsterdam this time, not Occupied France, like in The Red Rooster, but I'll probably venture across Occupied Europe as the story plays out. I'm drawing on my recent travels to Holland and Italy as well as a pile of memoirs and historical non-fiction about the war years I've been reading lately, including a compelling, but awful book about Himmler. Digging so deeply into these stories is troubling, and the entire milieu weighed like a shadow on my mind while I was writing The Red Rooster. I expect more of the same, for better or worse. It's certainly a palate cleanser from the cloistered community of Blister Creek. Here is my blurb, although I should warn you that it will be some time before you can read this. First, I have to write the darn thing, and then I have to get together with Thomas & Mercer and decide if they want to tackle the project or if I should publish it on my own. I wouldn't mind doing that; I enjoy the direct connection with readers and the ability to find my own cover artist, editor, etc. Jim Heydrich is the Canadian-born nephew of one of the most feared men in the Gestapo. When his mother dies and his father returns to Germany just before the war, Jim arrives in the Third Reich as a young, sensitive theater student, both protected by and encumbered by his famous relation. Resisting an invitation to join the Nazis, he instead finds himself a member of an English-language theater troupe working in Occupied Europe. Unbeknown to Jim, the leaders of the theater troop, Nigel Burnside and his daughter Margaret, are not the English fascists they appear, but members of the British Secret Service, using the theater troupe to recruit spies from among the Anglophile German officers who come to their productions. Disillusioned with both sides of the war, Jim is trying to defect to neutral Ireland when he stumbles into one of Nigel and Margaret’s most closely held secrets—a Hungarian physicist they are smuggling out of Europe. While trying to extricate himself from this unwelcome knowledge, he manages to both draw the attentions of the Gestapo and to convince the British Secret Service that he is a Nazi spy, a threat to their plans who must be eliminated.