Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading For Such a Time. My review can be found here.
Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed!
Embassie, I appreciate the opportunity to be on your blog today! J
What gave you the idea to write For Such a Time?
Well, Queen Esther’s story in the Bible is one of my favorites, and as I read one day it struck me how often throughout history the Jewish people have suffered, sometimes with near extinction—the most recent being the Holocaust of WWII. I began to see similarities between the wicked Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Hitler’s attempt with his “Final Solution.” As the idea grew, I began my research and found I could superimpose much of Queen Esther’s story into this more modern venue.
When you began your retelling of Esther, what elements did you feel had to be in For Such a Time?
While the novel is loosely based on the Book of Esther, I did want to include how Stella (Hadassah) goes to Aric (the King) with her Jewish identity hidden; Captain Hermann (Haman) despises Morty (Mordecai) and works out a plan to destroy the Jews. Two officers, Sergeant Koch and Lieutenant Brucker (Bigthana and Teresh) plot to kill Aric, but are found out by Morty and suffer the consequences. There are other minor elements, but the most important I think, is how Hadassah’s courage and trust in God bring about Aric’s change of heart and his desire to save her people.
How much research did you have to do for this novel?
I spent about five years (accumulatively) with research, along with writing the first draft of the novel. I studied WWII history in the European theater and the Nazi party, including Himmler’s SS. I pored through personal accounts written by survivors of the camps, including Dachau, Theresienstadt (Terezin,) and Auschwitz. I also read the memoirs of German Wehrmacht soldiers fighting from North Africa to Stalingrad. In order to portray Stella and Morty’s views accurately, I did my best to become well-versed in the tenets and traditions of Judaism. At final count, my bibliography consisted of close to thirty research books, several documentary videos and substantial online information. I felt it so important to treat this horrific period of time with the sensitivity and accuracy it deserved, while crafting a fictional romance between a Jewess and an SS-officer.
Aric was my favorite character in the novel because he was so complex. Did you have a favorite character when writing?
I confess, I always love my hero best! J But Morty was a great character to write as well. A decorated soldier in the first Great War, he was treated abominably in the second. He carried an awful burden of responsibility in the camp yet never wavered in his faith. He stood up to bullies like Captain Hermann and wasn’t afraid to look Aric in the eye. He loved his niece and believed in God’s vision. I admire his character very much.
Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
I just completed my second novel for Bethany House, another historical romance, this time set in WWI Britain. When a beautiful Suffragette meets a mysterious aristocrat, love and intrigue abound! NOT BY SIGHT will release Summer of 2015. I had fun writing the story and I hope readers will enjoy it!
More about the author:
A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was an RWA Golden Heart finalist. FOR SUCH A TIME is her debut novel. Kate’s writing journey has been one of faith as well as success; after years spent writing novels aimed at the general romance market, she finally heeded God’s call to write stories of how His love brings two hearts together. When not plotting her next novel, she loves spending time with author friends, reading from her mountain of books, or watching anything Jane Austen on BBC. Kate’s also an avid gardener and enjoys taking long walks in Washington State’s many forests. A traveler as well, she’s toured most of the country at one time or another and also been abroad–Paris, Munich, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, even a day trip to Turkey. She’d love to hear from you so please stop by www.katebreslin.com and say hello!
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28 (NRSV)