WWII Historical Romance: Friends & Enemies by Terri Wangard

WWII Historical Romance novel

Allow me to introduce you to a new author, Terri Wangard. Her debut novel, Friends and Enemies, released this week and Terri WangardI’m very excited for her. The story idea grew out of some letters written by Terri’s relatives during the second World War. She’s been working on this novel for several years now, and I highly recommend it. To give you a small taste of the story, here’s an interview with the book’s heroine, Heidi Wetzel. You’ll find a blurb and purchasing information at the end.


Heidi, was there any aspect of being at war that you did not anticipate?

The loneliness, or maybe I should say the aloneness. In Germany, we didn’t know who we could trust. We may have been good friends with our neighbors before, but during the Third Reich, we had to keep our opinions to ourselves. If our views did not agree with Nazi doctrine (and they didn’t), we could be denounced as traitors. If someone held a grudge against you, a trumped up charge might land you in a concentration camp with a good possibility of torture and death. Even relatives could betray you, intentionally or not. That happened to me.

What was your reaction when Hitler declared war on the United States?

Despair. Feeling sick to my stomach. Knowing for sure we’d lose the war. Being at war against England was bad enough. I didn’t know anyone there. But the United States! I knew a lot of Americans. And my generation bore the brunt of the fighting. That meant boys I’d gone to school with would be fighting us. Being at war with the U.S. meant no more mail service, so I lost touch with my American friends.

Why were you sure Germany would lose after the United States entered the war?

Common sense. Remember, I lived in the U.S. for three years. It’s a huge country, capable of massive manufacturing. America had already been helping the Allies with war material. Now they would work that much harder to supply themselves.

Hitler fancied himself a military genius, but his actions proved otherwise. When England refused to capitulate during the Battle of Britain, he quit the attack and declared war on Russia. If he couldn’t subdue one enemy, why should he think he could subdue two? Insanity. Pure insanity.

Your American friends urged you to return to the U.S. when the war began in 1939. Do you regret staying in Germany?

That’s a hard question. Life would have been easier for me. But what about my family? The children I helped care for? I believe caring for the children was my calling. I was able to do some good. What would I have done in the U.S., where I would have been an enemy alien? And if I had gone, what would have happened to Paul when he needed help?

Speaking of Paul, what about Erich? Do you think of him often?

Oh dear! I do wonder what life would be like if he still lived. I often think of how he died. That was so stupid of his commander. Diving their damaged submarine was suicidal. Why did he dive? He had no right to condemn his men like that. If he couldn’t face surrender, at least he could have allowed the crew to get off before he submerged. I would like to know what happened before they dove. Did Erich object? Did anyone? That still bothers me.

The Allies took command of the air over Germany in the years of the war. What was that like to see them overhead?

I was awestruck. That sounds horrible for a German to say, but it’s true. Those formations of bombers looked invincible marching across the sky. Oh, I saw some come down. A lot of them were shot down. But they kept coming. Since I spent much of the war in the countryside, I never experienced their bombing. Only one time was I under the bombs, and that was a British night raid.

You live in the States now. What are your thoughts about your homeland?

Germany lies in ruins, and that hurts my heart. So much was beautiful, and so much good came from Germany. The Gutenberg Bible, great hymns of the church. Now all people think of are the death camps. I don’t understand how so many people could work at those camps, agree with what they were doing. It’s unfathomable. What happened to people’s faith in God? Had it been destroyed by the Great War and its aftermath?

My hope is Germany will rise from the rubble, and work for peace, not for conquest. That great men like Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer will lead people in the ways of God.


WWII Historical Romance novel

In 1943, widowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a 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 Bradel’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 whether 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’s shocked to realize he’s 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.

Purchase the book here.

Connect with Terri here.

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Taking A Break


Dear Readers,

Apparently, I’ve not been gifted with the ability to write regular interesting blog posts while also composing a novel. For thisGone to lunch reason, I will be taking a break from this blog. I may occasionally alert you to new books from other authors, but I myself will
not be posting regularly to this page.

However, before I disappear from this stage, I want to let you in on the story idea for my new book. Years ago, I read an article in the Houston Chronicle about an elderly woman who showed up at a care facility with only her pocketbook and a jacket. She was alert and very pleasant but refused to give any information about her background or family.

The situation set my writer’s mind a-whirling, wondering who she was, why she was there, how did she get there, why she wouldn’t speak of her background or family, etc, etc. The account stuck with me and now I’m working on developing a story about a 73 yr. old woman who was a teacher in her younger life, until one day she took her class on a field trip to a large museum and one of the students disappeared and was never found. Now, thirty years later as the case is about to be solved, her husband is killed and her house burns to the ground. She escapes to hide out in an out-of-state care facility until she can figure out who’s trying to silence her.

Sound intriguing? Sign up for my newsletter (top right corner) to receive periodic news about how the story is progressing and other interesting tidbits. My newsletter subscribers get all the news first, plus a few extras. I promise you won’t be plagued with unwanted newsletters cluttering up your email. I only send them out every 2-3 months. And if you don’t like what you see, you can always use the unsubscribe option at the bottom of the page.

Until later, feel free to browse through my old blog posts if you like.

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RUN–A New Book for Middle Grade Readers

Author-Glenn-2014-JPEGThis week, I’m excited to introduce a brand new author. Glenn Haggarty and I met through an online critique group when we were both starting out writing middle grade fiction. I owe a part of my successful publishing to his critiques, and I was certain his story would be published one day. RUN was released earlier this month, and if you know of any tweens (ages 10-14), consider putting this book in their hands. It has a lot of good messages for boys and girls. But for now, let’s talk with Glenn and have him tell us about the book.

Glenn, what led you down the path to creative writing?

I’ve always loved reading and would often find myself daydreaming about a book and then taking it on a tangent. But I never considered writing. I didn’t think I was good enough for that, and between family, my business and ministry I didn’t have the time—writing was out of the question. But Glaucoma changed all of that. Suddenly I had lots of time but had to figure out—really find grace to navigate a new situation. I began telling stories to my children . . .

 Always a great place to start. What inspires you when you write?

Several things: Reading books that I really like by other authors—C.S. Lewis has had a big impact on me—but there are so many great books out there, I’d leave too many out if I started listing current authors! No phone and no to do lists. Exercise—I often get some great ideas and insights as a ride my stationary bike. And prayer—definitely.

 Describe your writing “den.”

I need a quiet comfortable place to write, and am blessed with an in home office, with my adaptive equipment I needed a little space. I also have a sturdy chair and large screen raised to eye level (I’m tall) and that helps me avoid a wicked crick in my spine.

 What is your current work in progress?

Working title, Hyde. This is a fun adventure set in Boca Raton Florida which is by the way my first non fictitious setting. I’ve researched the Spanish Gold Fleet of 1715 that was destroyed by a hurricane leaving the wrecks of 12 ships scattered from the Florida Keys to the Sebastian Inlet on Florida’s east coast. Two of the ships are unaccounted for . . . So we have modern day pirates, a couple of nosey oceanographers, and of course some fun loving teens who are yet again in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 Tell us about yourself.

Complications of glaucoma forced me out of the business world. Following a year of adaptive training through Vision Loss Resources I entered Bethel Seminary and graduated with a M.Div. degree in 2005. Now, I combine my love for God’s word with my passion for compelling fiction. I love my family, my wife, Linda of 37 years, my six children and six grandchildren. And I am also blessed to have both parents still with us, seven wonderful siblings, twenty-two awesome nieces and nephews—and too many cousins to count.

 What is your favorite writing fuel, food and beverage?

I love great coffee, strong, and dark roast but with cream and sugar. Our Keurig makes a fast fix, but if I’m desperate, a shot of espresso and hot chocolate in a cup of skim milk. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are of course the best writing fuel food.

 RUN Cover FinalNow tell us about RUN. I love this cover.

Run is the story of a thirteen-year-old boy from a Christian home trying to find his way. Wanting to hang with the cool crowd caused Tyler to make some bad choices that mushroomed into a huge mess. A family relocation gave him the opportunity to start over, but he’s not a fast learner . . . Everything seems stacked against him, including a nasty run-in with some very bad men. But Tyler still wants to do things his way. Slowly he begins to trust in God again, and things begin to change. And it’s a good thing, because he’ll need God to make it through what lies ahead in this intense action thriller.

 How’d you get your idea for Run? 

Abandoned houses in the woods have always fascinated me. Such mystery! My imagination just runs wild, especially when I remember those times I was brave enough to poke around in the ruins. This was the germ for the story.

 So Run’s target audience is mainly boys age 10 to 14?

Yes and no. It’s true that the protagonist and most of the secondary characters are boys, but I’ve received a number of rave reactions from tween and teen girls as well. In book two of the series, one of the girls from Run, Audrey, is a main character. And both women and men enjoy RUN, it brings a certain nostalgia I think.

 How did you come up with the title for RUN?

I suppose most book titles go through a metamorphose, that was definitely true with Run. It started as “Dark Forest,” then, “The Plumber” and finally “RUN.” I was influenced by some other single word titles on the market, but I’d say the final inspiration just came to me. One of those God moments I think.

 Run is the first book in your Intense Series. Tell us about the series.

Here is my description: Whether in his small town, in the wilderness, or in the tropics on vacation, danger stalks thirteen-year-old Tyler Higgins like mosquitoes after exposed skin. Don’t miss the prequel,Escape,  Book Two, Chase and Book Three, Hyde, in the Intense Series, which combine teen issues like friendship, bullying, drug abuse, parental divorce and first crushes with heart pounding adventure and suspense. Join Tyler as he applies faith to life and goes nose to nose against the dark side of society.

 When do you expect the next book to be released?

The prequel, ESCAPE is in what I hope is the final round of editing, and I expect it to be released in ebook version wihin the next 30 to 60 days. It is a novella, and will be offered for free to my special readers. Book 2, CHASE, is tentatively scheduled for January 2016.

How kids can find healthy friendships?

J. Kessler used to say “if you want a friend, be a friend.”

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (Philip 2:3 NLT).

This is the “lesson” Tyler learns throughout the book—his character arc.

How can parents help their kids find healthy friendships?

Connect to good church youth and children’s groups. If they don’t have one at your church, find one that does. Get involved with the programs. Create opportunities for your children to meet like minded kids and with similar interests. Other ideas are, Home School groups, athletic, music, drama, and other social organizations for kids.

Sounds like a great book. You can find it on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

Be sure to check out Glenn’s website where he reviews Christian books for middle grade and up. You can also connect with Glenn on Facebook and Twitter.

BTW, if you’re on Goodreads, enter the drawing for one of 25 print copies to be given away. (USA only) Click RUN to enter.

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