Please help me welcome today's guest, author Marilyn Baron.
Marilyn, what can you tell us about the time period and setting for your novels?
Under the Moon Gate, available now on Kindle and for full release on August 9, 2013, by The Wild Rose Press, is set in contemporary and World War II Bermuda and the prequel, Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story, scheduled to be released on September 11, 2013, is set in the 1600s.
Do you have any special connection to the period? Family history?
I am obsessed with books set in World War II, especially spy novels. So is my husband. So, if I want him to read one of my books, I have to set it during that time period.
We just have this fascination with World War II, almost as if we had lived back then, although we were both born in the 1950s right after the war was over. We prefer the music of the ’40s, too. As far as family history, my father was a top turret gunner in a B-17, based in England, and flew some 30+ missions over Europe. I had always been surrounded by icons of the war, his pressed and plastic-encased uniform and medals, books about the period, and his personal diary from his missions. Every year, until very late in his life, he and my mother attended his bomber reunions all over the country. So the war was a big part of his life. I was very proud of and intrigued by his service and I always thought I’d like to write a book about his experience as a tribute to him. He is no longer alive, but I like to think he would be proud of this book since he was the inspiration for it. My uncles also served in various branches of service during the war and my husband’s uncle, who he never met, was killed at the Battle of the Bulge.
What appeals to you about this period?
The excitement, the danger, the human pathos, the infinite variety of stories that are told about WW II. No matter how many there have been, original stories are surfacing all the time.
|Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story|
How much time did you spend researching each book?
I looked back at my computer files and found that I started on these books as early as 2004. The manuscript was originally called The Bermuda Triangle: A Love Story. It was initially set in three different time periods. But it was too ambitious a project and the three intersecting love stories were unwieldy. So I cut out one love story and edited it down to two time periods. I left the project alone for about five years. All in all, it was in process for almost 10 years. Now the story will be released in two separate books—Under The Moon Gate, a romantic thriller set in contemporary and WW II Bermuda and a prequel—Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story. Both are labeled as historicals. The prequel contains the earlier romance between the 17th century ancestors of the main characters at the time Bermuda was founded. As far as actual research time, I’d say several months although I was researching as I wrote. The book has been through many iterations, but it’s apparently a story that wants to be told.
Do you tend to research before you write, or more as you write?
I’ve been steeped in WW II history and stories my whole life so the interest was always there. In the case of these books, I did do a lot of research about World War II Bermuda before I started writing.
I have been to most of the locations where the book is set or locations that are referred to in the book, just not in the historical time period. For example, I’ve been to Bermuda about 10 times on family vacations; Berlin; London, to The Churchill War Rooms/Imperial War Museum; to Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s retreat in the German Bavarian Alps; and Jamestown. I did not go to Dresden, but we passed it on our way to Prague. Visiting these locations gave me feel for the story.
Do you tend to use secondary or primary research sources?
|Under the Moon Gate|
Other than my father’s stories, since the action takes place in WW II, it would primarily be secondary research. I couldn’t find any books about Bermuda during the war, so I went to the library in Decatur, Georgia, and spent a number of weeks looking up old newspapers either on microfiche or actual physical copies (The New York Times and The Royal Gazette) from the World War II time period. I took notes, steeping myself in the times, reading ads, articles, etc. and read timelines about the war from a German perspective. Of course, I couldn’t use all the research I found, but it provided a good basis. I was always warned about the danger of including too much research in your book and originally, I may have done that, but I eventually edited a lot of it out. As far as contemporary Bermuda, I relied on the many times I’d visited Bermuda. But I started the book after my last visit, so I didn’t actually do any on-site research there specifically for the book.
Any favorite sources?
I’d have to say all the WW II books I’d read throughout my life, fiction and nonfiction. And of course, the Internet is great for research.
Have you ever found out after a book was published that you made an error with a historical fact?
I hope that doesn’t happen, but of course, I have to be prepared for that. And facts change. When I calculated the value of gold in the book, gold was hovering at nearly $2,000 an ounce. Once the book was approved, gold plummeted.
Which authors in this time period do you enjoy? Who inspires you?
The authors and their works that stand out are Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and War and Remembrance, books by Leon Uris, Ken Follett, James Michener, Alan Furst, and my favorite WW II movies, like Casablanca. Books by Hannah Arendt and other books about the Holocaust made an impression on me. And being Jewish, I couldn’t read enough books about the Nazis and what Jews had to endure through during those dark times. My husband loved to watch The World at War, a 1973–74 26-episode British television documentary series chronicling the events of the Second World War, which was a good indoctrination to the times.
What else have you published?
My books and short stories are listed on my Web site at www.marilynbaron.com.
Your story ideas seem very unique. What can you tell us abut how you get your ideas?
As I said, I’ve always been fascinated by World War II and Bermuda is one my favorite places to vacation, so I decided to combine those two loves. The result was these two books. When I started doing research for the book, I came across this passage, which sparked the idea:
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bermuda was surrounded by German U-boats. Although the move cut off vital supplies, the islands were never invaded.
Why did the Germans stop short of capturing that tiny speck in the ocean, when the value of controlling such a strategic possession could have altered the course of the war? Under the Moon Gate is my fictional account of why Bermuda was spared.
The title was inspired by the beautiful Bermuda moon gates – circular openings in garden walls that act as passageways – all over the island, which figure prominently in the story.
What genre do your books fall under?
Historical romance. I wrote Under The Moon Gate as a romantic suspense, but The Wild Rose Press bought it as a historical and is calling it a romantic thriller. Destiny is purely a historical. My editor at The Wild Rose Press said it has the flavor of a Jack Higgins book, especially his books set in World War II. I take that as a great compliment.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The parallels drawn between the multi-generational characters in the two love stories; the excitement of the war; and the blurred lines between good and evil. The contemporary story is also very humorous and that’s one of my favorite things about the book.
How can readers reach out to you if they want to learn more?