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Friday, August 28, 2009

Returning to our roots

     In July 1994 when I first learned of the White Rose, my only interest at the time was to write a creative nonfiction novel targeting high school and college students. And after that, to move on to another interesting topic. I was actually more interested in writing creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction) novels than in German resistance during the Shoah.
     And indeed, the first several drafts of my work - all the way through 1997 - were creative nonfiction novels.
     It was only when publishers kept telling me 1) that White Rose had been sufficiently covered by Richard Hanser; and 2) that my story was too different and therefore too unbelievable - only after hearing these two things over and over did I decide to nail down the White Rose story once and for all. With cold, hard facts.
     Even that decision was not final-final. Because as thoroughly footnoted as my White Rose histories are, people still would not believe me. That is how thoroughly entrenched the Scholl legend has become. We had to publish primary source materials in English translation before readers would believe what I wrote. And even now with all these materials readily available, there are still those who prefer to believe the sugary, fluff-legend.
     I cannot do anything else to make them listen. They are now consciously choosing to believe lies.
     That being said: I'm now returning to that fifteen-year-old project, the creative nonfiction novel about the White Rose. It is in the form of a letter/diary-novel, so each person speaks or writes in first person. In their own voice.
     The five people I've chosen to tell the White Rose story - to get the most comprehensive points of view - are:
  • Sophie Scholl, first because she is the best-known of the White Rose group of friends, and second because her internal battles are well worth considering;
  • Willi Graf, because his moral backbone is inspiring, and also because Willi's real-life diary recorded on an almost daily basis what they did;
  • Gisela Schertling, because her Gestapo interrogation transcripts let us know the most about what they did from January 6 to February 18, 1943, and because she was firmly and enthusiastically Nazi (she is the antagonistic voice in the novel);
  • Wilhelm Geyer, because he mentored Sophie and Alex, and even Katharina Schueddekopf, and because he is an older voice, a person who admired what these much-younger students were doing; and,
  • Traute Lafrenz, the strongest woman in the group, because her moral fortitude will leave you in awe of this young woman.
     We've added this novel to our online catalog. Please click here to order.

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