History, Fiction, and World War II
ODIN’S PROMISE was the result of a process that spanned many years. The original urge to write stories of Norway during the German occupation came from visits to Ytre Arna. During those visits I had the joyful privilege of meeting many (eventual friends) who had lived through those experiences. Their stories reflected justifiable pride in standing up for Norway’s true heritage in the face of propaganda, coercion, hardship, and even threats.
Years of research followed, interspersed with full time teaching and other writing. I had no doubt that the anecdotal stories deserved to be set within the real world as it unfolded, a time before I was born and about which I had never previously learned. With the eventual development of the internet, online services to access out-of-print books, and a more recent upsurge in interest by researchers/writers, I eventually found an approach that led to ODIN’S PROMISE.
The next two titles, taking fictional Mari and her family through to the end of the war, required another deep dive into research. With such a strong headstart from the first book, I didn’t need to spend 25+ years on that, thank goodness. The several years of writing, reading, and researching that were required included many public appearances for ODIN’S PROMISE, at which I met more people with personal or second-hand stories to tell. Those lent the human side to my historical facts and to my fictional characters’s survival for four more years of occupation.
One of the highest compliments I receive about these books is that readers are learning about a place and time that was completely unknown to them. The teacher in me delights in those comments, especially when readers pursue recommended titles from the books to learn even more and to discover other authors that are new to them.
Sorting the factual aspects of the book from the fictional ones matters to me all the more, though, knowing that readers are moving into uncharted territory. That’s especially true when the baseline of background knowledge is low and the story reads credibly, weaving personal anecdotes into an entirely fictional plot and characters while historic events are deeply affecting daily life.
That’s why I generated this chart to allow readers to sort fact from fiction and also trace the unfolding of the occupation years. I’m inserting an image of the resource, but the detail is hard to capture in a screen shot. For a pdf of the chart, here’s a link.
If you’re new to this story, the colored links in my post above will take you to prior posts about research, travels, and other background on writing this trilogy. And thanks for coming!