1. What kind of research did you do for the "One Year in Berlin" and "Foreign Bride"?
I tried to be diligent about research but, after all, both of these works are fictional. Even those things that were inspired by real events have been fictionalized, so, basically what I’m saying is, don’t quote my work in your history and/or sociology term papers.
“One Year in Berlin”—I visited Auschwitz many years ago, so I kept the visual alive when I was transcribing the nightmare scenes. I also did read up on the Holocaust, as that chapter in history has always been of interest to me. A friend of mine is very knowledgeable on the subject of WWII and the Holocaust, so I asked him plenty of questions. Thank you, Michael! In similar vein, I watched documentaries on the Lebensborn program. Also, I researched Berlin’s geography somewhat. While I did not name the numbers of the U-Bahns/S-Bahns and trams/metro-trams that Rachael was taking, figuring that those things tend to change, I had her routes mapped out with legit maps of Berlin’s equivalent of the MTA. In addition, there really is a Lidl in Hohenschoenhausen (and the Stasi Prison is also there; if you’re visiting Berlin, it’s an interesting site to visit if you’re interested in the former East Germany).
“Foreign Bride”— I visited quite a few mail-order bride type websites to see how the agencies operate. I also watched more than one documentary about these “meet and greets” throughout the former Soviet Union, where I saw interviews with the “brides” (many clearly too young for marriage under any circumstances) and the “grooms” who’ve come to meet them (flashing stacks of photographs of their houses). In addition, I watched interviews with families that were born out of such courtships and who are currently living in the United States, as well as in Europe, either together or apart, depending on their levels of success.
2. Please describe your writing process.
I start out with visualizing a scene and first have to write it down in its entirety. From there, I take a step back and then slowly start plotting out and outlining my characters and storylines. I go through many (MANY) drafts and rewrites, layering and editing. And that’s before I send a draft to be proofread/edited. The process, for me, is very slow and tedious because I try to deliver a product of which I can really be proud.
3. Are your characters based on people you know?
Absolutely not. All of my characters really are fictitious. None of them are even remotely inspired by anyone I actually know (not even myself).
4. Why can't I find your books in my local book store?
I am an independently published author. Currently, my book is available exclusively via Amazon (though it is available in electronic format for your Kindle, as well as in paperback). Please visit our Store tab for more info.
5. Who did the cover art for "One Year in Berlin/Foreign Bride"?
A wonderful artist named Rahul Philip worked on it. I highly recommend working with him. Check out his website! http://www.rahulphilip.com/wordpress/