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I am starting to hear chatter about Terri Wangard’s new novel, Friends and Enemies, and it’s all good! 🙂 Today we have the privilege of visiting with Terri, but before we meet her, here’s a quick look at Friends and Enemies.
In 1943, widowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a rural farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo.
Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he returns to B-17 “Flying Fortress” Bomber navigator training but he’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies. When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance: Find Heidi.
When Heidi stumbles into a man she recognizes, she is shocked to realize he is a friend from her high school days in the United States, and the husband of her best friend Rachel. Aiding an enemy downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help.
Then they’re betrayed.
A war-time adventure with romantic second chances.
Welcome, Terri! Wow — what an intriguing story! So that we can get to know you a bit, could you share five fast favorites?
Favorite color? Blue, usually, followed by purple, red, and pink.
Favorite season? Spring is my favorite season with all the colorful blooms bursting to life, especially the daffodils.
Cats or dogs? Because of my dad’s asthma, we never had pets while growing up. I have several dog “friends” I see while out bicycling. Cats I rarely see, which I guess is good, because I’m allergic to them.
Sports or music? Since I grew up in Green Bay, I am naturally a Packer fan, although at the time I wasn’t. We’d have glorious Sunday afternoons, but everyone was inside watching the Pack. Musically, I listen mostly to movie soundtracks, and my favorite Christian singer is Junko.
Favorite movie? A timeless movie favorite is The Sound of Music. I also like old Disney movies.
Those are favorites at my house, too. What inspired you to write Friends and Enemies?
I have a collection of letters written to my grandparents in 1947 and 1948. They were sending care packages to distant cousins in Germany after World War II. I learned a lot about their life in postwar Germany, but next to nothing about during the war or their beliefs. Did they support Hitler and the Nazis? Were they ever bothered by the Gestapo? What about the Jews? With no answers, I created a story for them.
What a great launching point! Have you done any travel for research? If so, could you tell us about it?
I wish. I spent twenty years globetrotting and visited several places where my stories are set, but at the time I didn’t know I’d be writing. I wish I’d had more time in Germany. I came so close to Bickenbach, my ancestral hometown which is featured in Friends & Enemies. I also spent a lot of time in Sweden, where my next book No Neutral Ground (releasing in May) is set. As for England, where all three in the series are set part of the time, I’ve only seen London and Dover. Everywhere I’d been, I should have taken more photos.
Even without pictures, I’m sure these experiences helped as you imagined the scenes you were writing. Can you give any hints about what you are working on now?
Friends & Enemies is book 1 of my Promise For Tomorrow series. No Neutral Ground comes out in May of ’16 and Soar Like Eagles in Sept, ’16. My work in progress became a work on hold as I’ve been busy with edits and marketing plans. When I get back to my WIP, I’ll have to reread what I’ve got! I can say that it’s about a seaman, his Rosie the Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot.
Wow, you have been busy! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
Germany. I’ve been to Berlin twice, both one-day stops. I’ve been on a Rhine/Mosel river cruise and came within twenty miles or less from my ancestral hometown, but didn’t get to visit. Three quarters of my ancestry is German. I’d love to spend time where my ancestors lived. Of course, it’s changed a great deal since the last of my ancestors emigrated in the 1880s. And some areas are now in Poland. And I don’t speak German.
I spent some time in Germany many years ago, and I really enjoyed it! I hope you do have an opportunity to go back and spend a longer time. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? Why is that one special to you?
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I took that as my verse before heading out on my first solo trip, an Alaskan cruise with Insight For Living. I had decided if I wanted to travel, I’d have to go on my own, not wait for a husband or a friend with enough spare change. I’d still be waiting. This was an organized group; all I had to do was show up on time. Still, it was daunting to head out into the world on my own. Verse 6, particularly, really helped. God was with me. He is with me. That made all the difference.
What a neat experience that must have been. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Terri!
More about Terri:
Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.