As some of you know, I’ve been working on a historical novel, The Winds of Change, for the past couple of years. The Winds of Change—the first book in a two-part series—takes place in 1915 and 1916 during World War I. The story is set in New York City; on the luxury liner, RMS Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German submarine, killing nearly 2,000 men, women and children when it sank; in Queenstown, Ireland, where both the survivors and bodies of the dead were taken; and in England and Scotland.
The novel is currently with editors, and I’m beginning the process of finding a new agent. Thus begins the next step on the ladder to publication. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, while researching the book, I found so many fascinating details that wouldn’t “fit” into a work of fiction, I’ve decided to share them with you in a Blog. For example, in the early 1900s, a German professor at Harvard University, Eric Muenter, killed his wife, disappeared for years, and then showed up again in 1915 when he committed numerous acts of espionage in New York City. I’ve included Muenter in my novel and the true facts that on July 3, 1915, he set off a bomb inside the U. S. Capitol building. From Washington, D.C., he took the train to Long Island, New York, barged into J. P. Morgan, Jr.’s mansion, and shot the millionaire…twice. I’ve inserted my male protagonist, Curtis Carlson, into that horrific scene, so we can experience what happened through his eyes. The life of Eric Muenter will be one of many thought-provoking Blogs, and perhaps, even a great nonfiction book. Hmmm….
Other Blogs will include interesting life stories about many of the people who died on the RMS Lusitania. I hope to eventually put these accounts into a book called Voices from the Lusitania. I’ll also write Blogs about the underground German spy network in New York City and the fact that they planted explosives on countless ships traveling from New York Harbor to England. Did you know that German spies brought germ warfare to the U. S. to kill the horses and mules being sent by ship to the Allied troops? Ever heard of Mata Hari, the seductive woman spy who was convicted and hanged in 1917. Was she truly a German spy, or was she innocent. There are tons of great stories to share with you.
I was a history major in college, and WWI was barely mentioned. And yet, the impact of the war, the millions of people who died, and the resulting repercussions changed the course of world history. Most importantly, even though Germany lost, the terms of the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles, France in 1919 were so severe, the result was a growing resentment among in the German people, allowing Adolph Hitler to come to power. (Incidentally, did you know that Hitler fought as a soldier on the battlefields of France and that his life was spared by a French soldier, who chose not to shoot the “young German” who had run out of ammunition?) Can you imagine…?
Please join me for my next Blog, which is scheduled for Friday, June 2. I’ll begin with the why, where, and how there was a First World War. Here’s an often-over-looked fact: Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in June 1914. But what most articles don’t mention is that his wife, who sat by the Archduke’s side in the carriage, was also shot and killed by the assassin. Who was she and why has she been forgotten. And how did their deaths prompt Germany and Austria to declare war on France? The story will be on my website: www.colleenfliedner.com. I look forward to meeting you and discussing your questions and comments.