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.
Savanna: Welcome to the blog, Terri. We’re so glad you could join us today. Congratulations on your new release, Friends and Enemies. I just started it over the weekend and I’m hooked! 😉
When did you first get the idea for this story and how long did it take you to write it?
Terri: I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes in 2008 (about fulfilling your wish list) and decided to write again after having started and stopped a few years earlier. My earlier efforts had been contemporary, but this time I decided on a historical. I have a batch of letters written in 1946-8 from distant cousins in Germany who were receiving care packages from my grandparents. The letters don’t share much about their experiences during the war or what they thought of the Nazis. So I wrote a story for them. I started in the fall of ‘08 and finished the following spring. I later rewrote it with some significant changes, but the German family stayed pretty much the same.
Savanna: Without giving too much away, what was your favorite scene in the book to write?
Terri: In the original version, the main characters were high school sweethearts, so their reunion scene was poignant. It’s still special, but lost a bit of its punch. The shenanigans in the ruined castle were fun to write.
Savanna: Ah, can’t wait to get to that scene! 😉 Can you share with us a small piece of fascinating history that you learned during your research that did not end up in the novel?
Terri: I spent a lot of time studying my favorite U-boat website finding just the right sub for Heidi’s husband: when it sank, why, where. I couldn’t use much of that because Heidi wouldn’t know about it. That sub was the first U-boat to be sunk with a new, secret weapon.
Savanna: What’s one of your favorite things to do, besides writing of course! 😉
Terri: I love visiting other countries, but haven’t done so in recent years. The hassle of getting there with security constraints and long uncomfortable flights, the high cost. Now I visit Florida. I love walking the beaches and looking for sea shells.
Savanna: That sounds really nice right about now. It’s pretty cold here in Missouri this week. 🙂 Any words of advice for aspiring authors out there?
Terri: I started writing in the fall of ’08; I signed my contract in March of ’15. Six and a half years. Use that time to learn all you can about writing. Attend conferences. Join critique groups. And stay patient.
Savanna: Yes, it’s a long road for writers. What a special journey, though. Thanks for sharing with us today, Terri. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Terri: Friends and Enemies is Book One of the Promise For Tomorrow series. I hadn’t planned on a series until an editor told me I probably needed a series to sell. I knew a lot about the Air Force, so the B-17 navigators became the common thread. Paul’s friend Rafe stars in No Neutral Ground, which releases May 3, and Chet’s story is in Soar Like Eagles, releasing September 6 this year. I’ll be a one-year wonder!
Savanna: Wow! Talk about a busy year. 🙂 That’s exciting. Congrats, Terri. Hope it’s a blessed year in every way!
Terri has graciously offered to give away 1 copy of Friends and Enemies to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be you!
Thanks for entering! Contest ends January 19, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!