Thursday, April 1, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Terri Wangard!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Terri Wangard!

Linda: Congratulations on your upcoming release The Storm Breaks Forth. What was your inspiration for this story? 

Terri: My last book, Roll Back the Clouds, was about the Lusitania disaster. The main characters lived next door to Peter and Maren Bloch, who lent themselves very nicely to this story. I’ve wanted to do a story with German immigrants to Wisconsin, as so many of my ancestors were. They came mostly in the 1870s-1880s, but this story still allowed me to explore the German heritage of Milwaukee. 

LM: Set during WWI, the book explores the anti-German feelings that were prevalent in the U.S. at the time. Race and prejudice are currently hot topics. Did you set out to address those themes, and how can readers relate your historical story to today? 

Terri: I wasn’t thinking of the political mayhem so much when I started, but it certainly mirrors the times. While I was writing, the Covid pandemic began. That echoes the Spanish flu pandemic which is featured in The Storm Breaks Forth. The good news is, the flu pandemic died down and life continued. The political situation eased in the 1920s, but I don’t see a parallel with today. 

LM: Research is an important aspect of writing, especially historical fiction, and you obviously take it seriously, having flown in a WWII B-17 Bomber. What sort of things did you do to research The Storm Breaks Forth? 

Terri: Nothing as exciting as riding in a Flying Fortress! I found excellent books about Milwaukee and
the Wisconsin National Guard in World War 1. I read a lot about before America joined the war, when there was so much static trench warfare, that gave me a real flavor of the war. I saw the movie 1917, which allowed me to see an underground bunker. That was so helpful. 

LM: How did the pandemic impact your writing? 

Terri: It barely did. I’m naturally isolated, working in a home office. The library did close for a while. That hurt, because I needed one of my main sources to verify events. When curbside service was offered, I was first in line, and I kept renewing that book until I finished writing. 

LM: Your Promise for Tomorrow series is set during WWII, and your last two books are set in the era of the Great War. What differences do you see between the time periods? Similarities? 

Terri: Clothing, hair, and opportunities are the big differences for women, who didn’t have the vote yet. Also, the army relied on horses and mules for transport in WWI. Women worked in factories in both wars. And both had rationing. I think the nation pulled together more in WWII than WWI. The country was a lot more fractured by the war hysteria. German-Americans were tarred and feathered, hounded by vigilantes, even a lynching. 

LM: What is your favorite time period and why are you drawn to that particular era? 

Terri: My first book is set during WWII because I based it on family history. Plus, I enjoy reading WWII books. I switched to WWI because the Lusitania fascinates me, and The Storm Breaks Forth is a natural extension to Roll Back the Clouds. And with Storm, I’m imagining what life was like for my family in Milwaukee. Family history in other time periods also tempts me to write in those settings (although I doubt I will). So, family history is my pull. Leaving the family out of it, I think I’m more drawn to WWII and am now exploring a new writing project in that era. Why? Maybe because I’ve read more and watched more movies and TV shows on WWII. 
LM: How do you juggle working full time with your writing career? 

Terri: My writing takes place on weekends. During the week, I’ll research. If I wake up in the middle of the night and a scene starts unfolding, I’ll write it down because I’ll be sure to forget otherwise. But I can’t write for an hour early in the morning or at night. Just doesn’t work for me. I spend enough time on the computer during the day. 

LM: What is your next project? 

Terri: Next is a novella that was partially published. It started as a short story in The Hope of Christmas historical collection. Then known as “The Christmas Typhoon,” it featured a sailor’s point of view, with letters from his girlfriend. Now Evelyn’s point of view has been added. Rather than being a Rosie the Riveter, she’s a Winnie the Welder, building submarines. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Twitter: @terriwangard 
Instagram: @terriwangard 

About The Storm Breaks Forth: 

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German-born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. 

Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance.

Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.

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