I love history. I always have. That’s one reason I minored in history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It’s also why 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.