Do you have a favorite character in The Discovery? Why?
I suppose it’s Ben. As I wrote this, I really found myself “getting in character” with him. I kept trying to imagine what it would have been like to be put in this terrible spot. But the real heroes of the story, to me, are Claire’s parents. Even though I agreed with the incredible sacrifice they had to make, I’m not sure I could have done what they did.
How much research did The Discovery take?
Quite a bit, but all of it a labor of love. Of course, writing in the WW2 era is not difficult for me. My first 2 novels are set there, and I did a lot of research when writing them. It’s perhaps the one historic time period where if traveling back in a time machine I could make a go of it.
The research for The Discovery had to do with all the specifics related to Ben’s dilemma, the FBI (very different then under Hoover), Nazi spies and U-boats, as well as recreating the Daytona Beach area in the 1940’s.
How much of the story is based on fact?
The entire Nazi spy sub-plot was based on fact, including the FBI aspects. In June 1942, eight Nazi saboteurs were rounded up by the FBI after landing onshore in Florida and Long Island. And, of course, all the background details in the book are as accurate as I could make them. I essentially took the factual parts and imagined a plausible what-if scenario to create the storyline.
What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Discovery?
One big thing was the sheer volume of German U-boat attacks right off our shores. In the first 18 months of the war, up and down the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico (often within sight of the coast), almost 200 American ships were sunk and thousands of merchantmen died. Most of these attacks were not reported in the news. Our leaders didn’t want to create a panic, or let the Germans know how effective their attacks had been.
I also learned the Coast Guard actually patrolled our beaches every night on horseback, trying to keep more saboteurs from landing.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
I suppose it would be managing my time. I thought when I went fulltime, this challenge would end. But I’m writing 2 books a year now and, with the 1-year pipeline between the time I finish a book and when it comes out in stores, things get a little tricky. In the same month, I can be juggling tasks for 3 previous books, while writing the one I’m working on now.
Add to that, all the things a modern-day author needs to do in terms of marketing and social networking and the to-do list can get pretty full. But hey, these are good problems. Being a busy writer is a gift from God.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
That’s simple. I love the writing itself, and I love getting with people to talk about it.
What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
I’m a member of ACFW, on both the national level and part of a new local chapter formed in central Florida. I also attend a monthly Word Weaver’s critique group (WW’s are part of Jerry Jenkin’s Christian Writers Guild). And I’m part of a published Christian author’s fellowship called Chi Libris.
What new projects are on the horizon?