Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome Tracy Groot to Dishin' It Out

My guest today is Tracy Groot, author of Flame of Resistance, and the ARC is in my bulging TBR pile.   Since I've been sidelined from keeping up with reviews, I invited Tracy here today to share the inspiration behind her novel.  Now that I've read her post, I'm even more jazzed to savor her work.  In the meantime, I'm honored to present her and her latest release, which is published by Tyndale House Publishing.  They have some awesome authors signed there.  Ladies and Gents...I proudly present today's guest:

Tracy Groot
 Thanks for having me, Ginger!

            Flame of Resistance was inadvertently inspired through a favorite series, HBO’s Band of Brothers. The series made me want to read the book by Stephen Ambrose, and the style of Ambrose made me a fan. So, hooked on Ambrose, I picked up one of his lesser known works called Pegasus Bridge, a fascinating account of the spearhead action of D-Day, as fought by the British Sixth Airborne Division. This bridge in Benouville, Normandy, was crucial to the D-Day plan; if not taken and held, Rommel could have used it to send his 21st Panzer Division down to the Normandy beaches. The book is all about the Allied plan to take and hold the bridge. It also talks about the French side of the equation, through the eyes of many Benouville residents who worked with the French Resistance to get bridge intelligence to the Allies. Ambrose mentions, in passing, a French brothel set up in war-time Benouville for German officers…and that’s when the story came.

            What if one of those prostitutes was sympathetic to the cause? What if she were willing to risk her life to help the Allies take France? What if there’s a downed American pilot, and a French Resistance worker, and…

            With a story idea generally in place, and preliminary research for WWI and II laid down, my husband and I headed to Normandy, France, in the summer of 2010. We hung around the little village of Benouville until the locals got to know us quite well--at a local museum, one of the curators called a café/bike place to reserve touring bikes for us; when he told them our names, the guy said, “Ah yes, the Americans. They come every morning for breakfast.” Apparently, not many Americans hang out in Benouville for days on end, asking questions and snapping photos!

            Jack and I visited every place in France and England that had relevance for the story, including the American Hospital in Paris, (where we got yelled at for asking questions and snapping photos…) and the Molesworth RAF base not far from London. When we got lost on a long walk in France, I worked it into the storyline; I thought I was following the signs for the cemetery we wanted to visit: we ended up at a cimenterie--a cement works! (So much for my high school French.) Determined to get mileage out of this half-day-long mistake, I worked the cimenterie into the plotline, and it became the family business of Monsieur Rousseau.

            While a strong sense of place was needed for the story, I also needed insider information. I interviewed a lot of elderly folk who had either flown P-47s over the beaches on D-Day, or lived through the German Occupation of France and the Netherlands. It made the story close to the bone for me, as I placed my characters into the real situations lived by so many. Many fascinating books were quite helpful to get the feeling of early 1940s France and Netherlands, including Things We Couldn’t Say, by Diet Eman, Outwitting the Gestapo, by Lucie Aubrac, and Americans in Paris; Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation, by Charles Glass.

            Stephen Ambrose got the ball rolling. That’s why I find history books so fascinating. You never know what little piece will break off and find a home. For me, all he had to do was mention a brothel. Could’ve been something a little more noble, like a church or a children’s hospital, but there ya go--inspiration sometimes comes calling in bright red lipstick.

Here's the book blurb:

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause.

D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

This book is slated for a June 2012 release, but If you'd like to read a free sample, you can find it on Amazon.

 Note from Ginger:  I'd like to thank Tracy for taking time to guest here today.  I urge all of you to read the sample of Tracy's work.  She writes with description and emotion that readers appreciate, and I'm pretty sure you'll feel just like I do...can't wait to finish the whole book.  (big grin.)

1 comment:

Anita Davison said...

I admire the extent of your research Tracy - and all the 'What if's' that inspired the story. Definitely one for the 'To Read' pile.

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