I have always been fascinated by the WWII era, and one of my goals as a writer has been to write a novel set during the war. Frankly, I did not expect to write the novel so early in my author career, but a friend challenged me to write a piece of flash fiction set in the war. That piece of microfiction grew into a novel that I cannot wait to share with you.
I grew up hearing my grandparents’ stories from the war. My great-uncle was a medic in the European theatre, and I made the mistake of asking him for his stories only once. His eyes welled with tears, and he stood up, walked out the front door, and disappeared for the rest of the day. My grandparents’ stories were of hardship and sacrifice and courage. My great-uncle’s silence told of the utter horror of the war—grim, countless tragedies that still resonated in the mind decades later. Those stories, and perhaps even more so my uncle’s silence, inspired me to explore that era in fiction.
I fell in love with France when I was eleven years old. My father had been in the country for several months with work, and in his last weeks there, my mother, sister, and I joined him. I vividly recall the food, the romance of the buildings, the wind at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and the old woman in a shadowed little shop who helped me pick out my first chapeau and écharpe. And I remember how I sauntered down the street calling “Bonjour!” to everyone I passed with the guileless cheer of a young American.
I have been back to France numerous times, but my fascination with the country was cemented with that first trip. I love the language, the culture, the architecture, the food, the wine, and the fashion. I have always known that I wanted to set a novel in France, and the country’s tumultuous and controversial history during WWII made it the perfect setting for ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH.