I’m often asked how much of my historical novels are birthed in fact. Here’s a bit about how Shadowed by Grace balances fact and fiction.
Shadowed by Grace transports you into a story that will captivate you from the start. A masterful blend of history, fiction, and thrilling romance.
–Jenny B. Jones, Award-winning author of Save the Date
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How did I get the idea for Shadowed by Grace?
Books are born many ways. Shadowed by Grace started when I walked by a display at our local library the summer of 2010. There a new non-fiction book stood cover out. The photo on the front piqued my interest: a clearly WWII soldier standing with a large painting. The stories I read in that book, Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel, intrigued me and made me want to learn more. Before long, characters and story ideas filled my mind, and I began fleshing out the story that became Shadowed by Grace.
The idea of an elite, tiny group of soldiers who were tasked with saving Western civilization fascinated me. Their task was compounded by the fact that WWII was the first war that involved constant aerial bombardment. What challenges would they face? Then I started looking for unique roles American women filled on the European front. The idea of a war correspondent who was a photo-journalist seemed the perfect fit. An artist in her own right, she would understand the importance of saving art. Rachel Justice and Scott Lindstrom were born and became the heroine and hero in Shadowed by Grace.
How much of Shadowed by Grace is factual?
I love history. I always have. That’s one reason I love writing historical fiction set during World War II. I also have a great respect for the men and women of the Greatest Generation. I want to tell their stories well and honor what they did. That leads me to do an abundance of research as I write. I want to incorporate as many true-to-events details as I can – even as I write fiction.
For Shadowed by Grace, I relied on numerous nonfiction resources. But the best resource I found was Florentine Art Under Fire written by Frederick Hartt, one of the Monument’s Men stationed in Italy. He published it in 1949, and I relied on it heavily to get the timeline for the last third of the book as accurate as possible. I also learned how the Monuments Men responded to the devastation in Florence. But many other books added color to the novel. For example, from Assignment to Hell, I learned how the newsroom in Rome responded to the word that Normandy had been invaded. That’s in a scene with Rachel, who is a war photo-journalist.
Because more people will read fiction than non-fiction, I strive to make my novels as true to what happened as possible. When you read Shadowed by Grace, I hope you’ll see the scope of history contained in the pages of a novel.