From the Ashes Will Be Released in July

24 Jun

While I don’t know which day, I can now say with (reasonable) certainty that my first Alternate History novel will be released sometime next month.

For those wishing to know a little more about the book than what’s in the back cover blurb, here’s a look at the Author’s Note, which gives some of the history and evolution of this project:

This book began more than twenty years ago, when I saw a documentary on Simon Wiesenthal, that described Himmler’s plan to create museums of dead races.  I immediately saw the possibilities for an alternate history story (at the time I naively believed it would be a short story!)

Soon after that, in another documentary, I learned of how Joseph and Magda Goebbels poisoned their six daughters before killing themselves on the day Hitler died.  I knew at once that my protagonist had to be the grandson of Joseph Goebbels: propagandist, fanatic, the kind of man who could murder his own children rather than let them live in a world without Hitler.  (Admittedly later, when I learned more about the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers against German civilians, I began to see the Goebbels’ actions differently.  When my mother compared their actions to Masada, my perception did a complete turnabout.)

My first problem, however, was how to keep Adolf’s last name Goebbels, since the documentary had clearly stated that all six children were girls.  After agonizing with me for some time, my husband suddenly shouted: “If Joseph and Magda didn’t die, they could have had more children!”  Yes!  Perfect!  After all, the youngest was only four when she died in 1945.  So I invented Wilhelm Goebbels, who became Adolf’s father.  Then, after about twelve years, several rewrites and the invention of the internet, I learned that Goebbels actually had five daughters and one son.  (A member of my writing group thoughtfully sent me several web articles and a whole batch of pictures.)

After uttering a few words which will not be printed here, I sat down to begin the next rewrite.  It wasn’t that big a deal, I told myself.  Just hit Ctrl F and Ctrl H:  Find Wilhelm; replace with Helmut.  Except it was a big deal.  Bringing a nine year old boy back from the dead so I could turn him into a convenient villain became a very big deal to me.  Maybe that child would have grown into the tyrant he is in this novel.  But we’ll never know, because he never got the chance to grow into an adult of any kind.  In an effort to show respect for this little boy, and his sisters (who do not appear in this book) I learned all I could of the real Helmut Goebbels, and incorporated all five sentences into this novel.  So little, and yet it speaks volumes.

Also included are several stories people have told me over the years.  Within the pages of this fantasy of what might have been, I have incorporated all the reality I could, even the most obscure bits.  And if you are one of the people who told me one of those stories, my short “Acknowledgement” section is not nearly enough to express my thanks.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: