Blog Tour—Comes A Horseman; by Anne Barwell
Today’s guest, Anne Barwell, hails from New Zealand. She is wonderful story teller and an even better person. Anne’s giving nature comes through in the passion she brings to her writing and the way she works to give the readers all that she can. The Echoes Rising is a terrific historical fiction series and I hope everyone reads on to learn more (and of course get the books!)
Working With History – Anne Barwell
Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter. DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.
One of the daunting things about writing an historical is the research involved. But, on the flip side, often real events can inspire plot, and even get the characters out of a corner. In Shadowboxing, the first book in my WWII Echoes Rising series, I needed to get my characters out of a heavily guarded building, and couldn’t figure out how. History came to my rescue! I adjusted the dates in the story by a few weeks, and the Allied bombing of that area at the time gave my characters the break they needed. Sadly one of their own lost his life as well.
Historical events play a big part in Comes a Horseman. When I started writing the series, I knew I wanted it to finish with D-Day—the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6th 1944. The lead up to that event is well documented too, so my timing had to be just right. I needed to have my Allied team in Normandy so they’d be there to hear the original coded broadcast to the resistance on 1st June so they knew the invasion was coming. I also had to get the weather right, as that impacted the date which originally was going to be a couple of days earlier. Not only that, but I needed to find out when the area was bombed and the specific times—as well as dates—of the crucial events leading up to, and of, the invasion.
When I started reading up on D-Day I discovered a rather cool coincidence. The Paul Verlaine poem which was broadcast over the radio as the coded signal to the French Resistance contained a line about the “heavy sobs of autumn’s violins”, and one my characters—Kit Lehrer—is a violinist. It was as though everything fell into place and not only that, had meant to be this way all along. I’d love to say I planned it that way, but I didn’t.
The attitude of Standartenführer Holm towards the imminent invasion is taken from historical accounts too. The Germans weren’t expecting an invasion in Normandy, so their attention was elsewhere. And the idea that the Allies would broadcast to the resistance on the B.B.C.? Ridiculous.
The timing of the action of the last few chapters of the book was crucial. I needed to have the bombs drop on my characters at ground zero so the timing was historically accurate. I wrote those last few chapters with an historical timeline written in my notebook for the series, and adjusted the timeline of previous chapters so that everything meshed. It also solved several problems the characters needed to figure out in order to complete their mission the way they’d decided it needed to play out.
I’ve learnt a lot more about WWII while writing this series than I ever thought I would, and despite the work involved, I’ve really enjoyed it. I still have a notebook, a folder, and bookcase full of information about the period, and although this team’s story is told, I wouldn’t be surprised if that information proves useful in another story sometime.
There’s always newsletter free stories and the ilk too. I’ve spent so many years writing these guys, I doubt they’ll disappear altogether. I kind of hope they don’t.
Comes a Horseman – Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet
Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.
Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.
When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.
Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.
The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.
Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.
On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.
Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.
“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.
Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.
Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.
He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.
Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.
Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.
Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”
Other Tour Stops:
July 25 – MM Good Book Reviews
July 31 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One
August 1 – Top to Bottom Reviews
August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews
August 2 – Love Bytes Reviews
August 3 – Andrew Q. Gordon
August 3 – DSP Publications Blog
August 4 – Nic Starr
August 4 – Alpha Book Club
August 7 – My Fiction Nook
August 8 – Divine Magazine
August 9 – Aisling Mancy
August 10 – Lucy Marker
About the Author:
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
Where To Find Anne: