2017 National Indie Excellence Award
"This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as "Diary of Anne Frank" and "Man's Search for Meaning". It is truly that amazing!" InD'taleMagazine
SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author's own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.
When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also looses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family's ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.
As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter's lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father's last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal--always just one step away from execution.
When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother's severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor's grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.
What Fame and Fortune?
I recently read an article on Writer Unboxed (WU) about the life of an author and money and feel the urge to piggyback onto it. I agree with the writer that there is a lot of misconception out there, not only among readers and the general public, but even authors themselves. It’s human nature that we most remember the big book deals where a debut author is handed a six-figure check, then sells the movie rights and becomes filthy rich overnight. If you’re a reader or have an author in your family or among your friends, don’t assume s/he makes huge amounts of money. Most authors never quit their day jobs for a reason. If you’re an aspiring writer/first-time author and expect such success, you may want to put down that pen or set aside that typewriter.
I’ve got news. You’re in it for the wrong reasons. While immediate success does happen once in a great while, it is rare. Most authors never see close to those figures, not even with their second, third or fifth books. The publishing climate has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and the sheer number of books published makes it hard for authors to be discovered. In 2016 more than 3,500 books were published on a daily basis which amounts to more than 21,000/week. How many books can the average reader consume? One a week? Two? Many readers probably manage closer to one a month. I read somewhere that the average income an author makes off their book is less than $150/year. Which brings me to the main reason for my blog. If you’re considering the career of an author, you’ll want to dig deep into your soul and find out if you’re passionate about spending thousands of hours researching, writing, editing, discarding and restarting.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely cool to write a book. But to write a good one, you’ll need to pay your dues and that, my friends, takes time. There are always exceptions like ‘Fifty Shades of Gray,’ but I wouldn’t count on it. What I’m trying to say is that a true writer doesn’t care so much about the money. It’s great when it comes in, but it is not a determining factor to be a writer. Ask a painter why he paints, ask a musician why he plays, they’ll tell you because they must. It’s no different for an author. We must.
So while it’s wonderful to envision fame and fortune, I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone and write another novel. Something set during the prohibition. Not sure yet, but my brain will lead me there. Ask me in a few months.
About the author:
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was elected to IWIC’s Hall of Fame and won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha, in Bloomington, Ind.