Fabulous things are happening! Remember back in March when I did a cover reveal for my dear friend Jack’s soon-to-be-published World War II book Brothers-in-Arms? Well, in celebration for her upcoming book, I got to interview her and get some inside scoops into Brother-in-Arms and her writing process. Fun stuff, people. Fun stuff!
So, without further ado, I present to you Jack Lewis Baillot!
Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.
When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.
She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.
I read a book called While Mortals Sleep. It was set in WWII Germany and it was the first time I'd ever heard of the Germans side of the war. Before that I'd assumed all Germans were Nazis and spent their days killing Jews. When I realized some of them didn't even know about everything the Nazis did I felt a spark of a story.
I kept the story at bay for years, at least ten. I refused to even think about it because I didn't want to write a WWII story. I knew it would be painful and I don't deal well with pain. As you can see, I wasn't able to keep the idea back forever.
Which of the Brothers-in-Arms characters would you say you relate to the most?
That is hard. I think I relate to both Franz and Japhet the same, but I've been told I seem more like Japhet. I guess, if I give it enough hard thought I do relate to him more. In that situation I might become more like him than Franz. (Though, personally, I think I'd end up more like Jimmy than either of them. Unless grenades were involved. Give me a chance to blow things up and I'm there.)
Who was the hardest to write and why?
When I first added Caleb to the story I had no idea how he would turn out or what his back story would become. By the end of the book I think I had used him to show how the war really effected some people. How much some suffered and lost and what it cost them to keep fighting.
Whatever the reason, Caleb showed up and left me a pile of tears in the corner.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
I don't know if I have one. I lock myself in my room and pound out a rough draft, then I let it sit in a dusty folder until I miss the characters and begin to edit. Then I whine and complain over editing and wonder what possessed me to become an Author in the first place. Then I edit even more and then some more. Then sometimes I publish. Or in this case I let someone publish for me.
When that is done, I start all over again.
What part of the writing process is your favorite (first draft, editing, polishing, being done and celebrating with cake, etc.)?
First draft. I love getting to write down an idea and not have to worry about over using “was”, or grammatical errors, or the over use of commas. I get to go on adventures with my new friends, and then I get to cringe and judge my writing later.
To be honest though, celebrating and cake rates equal with first draft. Because cake.
Do you have any authors that particularly influence and inspire you?
I had some but they betrayed my tiny trust. The ones I like now are the not so famous kind. Arthur Slade, Derriell Pitt, Jaye L. Knight, J. Grace Pennington, Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, Jessica Greyson, Stefan Bauchmann to name a few. Of course, then are the classic Authors...if that is the right name for them? C.S. Lewis who continues to inspire me, and J.R.R. Tolkien. These are all Authors who have done things which shouldn't have worked in books, and managed to make them work. For that, I admire them
Brothers-in-Arms is of course set during World War II. What made you decide to write a WWII story? And what other time periods do you enjoy? Do you have any more delicious historical fictions cooking up?
Just the fact that I wanted to tell a WWII story from the Germans side. I wanted to show that not all of them were on Hitler's side, determined to kill anyone they saw as less than perfect. There were those who stood up and fought against him, in spite of the grave danger this put them in. Then, the more I read about the men and women who lived during that time period, the more I wanted to write about it. Hence, the appearance of Jimmy and Danny. (That and I've always loved the Tuskegee Airmen.)
The other time period I enjoy happens to be Scotland in the late 1200's and early 1300's. (The days of Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.) I enjoy stories about the pioneers as well.
Yeeeeeeeeeees, I do. My next book might be another historical fiction in fact....
For us aspiring writers, what has been your favorite part of getting traditionally published thus far? What about least favorite?
Getting an editor 8-D. Finally, someone to help me with that dreaded task. (Editing and dyslexia don't mix.) The least, not being able to work at my own pace. While it is nice to have someone take care of that for me, I sometimes miss being able to decide when things will happen – such as release dates, cover reveals, and so forth.
What sort of themes will we find in Brothers-in-Arms?
Pain? Tears? Oh wait....you didn't mean that? How about...AGONY! (Prince Charming and his brother can show up and sing for you if you like.)
Okay, seriously now. Friendship is the obvious one, but also family. How God helps us through the hardest times in our lives. Standing up for right no matter the cost.
(Also tears. It is my wish all readers will cry. Since I cried while I wrote it and edited I feel I shall only be happy if I pass on all the pain and tears to the rest of you.)
Finally, but most importantly, what do you fuel yourself with while writing? Coffee? Tea? An entire bag of potato chips (not that *I* would ever do anything like that *cough*)? All the above?
Hmmmm...potato chips. I don't typically like them, but I kind of want some now...
I drink a ton of tea. And I mean a TON. More than the Doctor when he's in England. I also have a special coffee. I call it my BIA coffee. It is mostly sugar and flavoring with coffee on the name, but I can call it coffee if I wish. I had a cup every time I worked on the book. Along with green olives. (Fellow Authors likely understand.)
I have a bad habit of munching when I am sad. Therefore, I did a lot of munching with this book. I didn't really care what I ate, so long as I ate. So I tried not to buy sweets but healthier things. My fuel turned out to be dried banana chips, nuts, carrots, apples, and then whatever I could find in the back of the cupboard.
Thank you for having me, Christine! It was fun!
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Thank YOU for agreeing to be interviewed. I am so honored to have you here! And now even more anxious to get my hands on Brothers-in-Arms! Even though there shall be so much pain. (Like we’d want it any other way.)
Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?
Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.
With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.
With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.
But there’s more! The release date for this fabulous book has been announced. Get your copy of Brothers-in-Arms on. . .
Just a few short days away, people! AND if you hop on over to Jack's blog you can enter a GIVEAWAY to win a SIGNED COPY, as well as find links to the other spots of the book tour. Obviously you need to get yourself over there immediately.
What do you think, guys? Does this story whet your
appetite or what? Do you have any more questions for
Jack? Don’t forget to check out her blog for the giveaway!