Welcome Robert Elmer, author of more than 50 books, including Wildflowers of Terezin, which I reviewed here. Here is a little about his books and writing journey.
Who are your major influences?
“Many of my fellow Christian writers have influenced my stories, people whose stories I’ve read and thought, “I’d like to write something like that!” Right offhand I think of Francine Rivers (Leota’s Garden), Lisa Bergren (The Bridge) and Bill Myers (Eli).”
What is your favorite historical era? What draws you to that era?
“I hate to use the word “favorite,” because it was an awful time, but World War 2 was a crucible of conflict and character that brought out the worst and the best in people. It’s a time I’ve always been interested in writing about.”
What do you enjoy most about writing historical fiction?
“I want my readers to lose themselves momentarily in the real world where faith matters and God is in control. Outside of my books, faith of course still matters and God is still in control. Problem is, sometimes it can get so foggy out here, it’s tough to really see. In my stories I pull away the fog and show let readers experience the world the way it’s supposed to be, whether that’s in the past, present, or future.”
Will you give me a quick synopsis of your book?
“Here’s what Amazon says about Wildflowers of Terezin: Wildflowers of Terezin is a sweeping historical novel set against a backdrop of danger. A Danish Lutheran pastor’s complacent faith is stretched to the breaking point during World War II when he meets a young Jewish nurse Hanne Abrahamsen and becomes deeply involved in Resistance efforts to save Denmark’s Jews from the Nazi prison camp at Terezin, Czechoslovakia—also known as Theresienstadt.
“Challenged by his activist brother and swayed by his own attraction to Hanne, Pastor Steffen abandons his formerly quiet, uninvolved life and hesitantly volunteers to help smuggle Denmark’s Jews out of the country before a Nazi roundup. Steffen finds that helping his Jewish neighbors is the most decent, spiritual thing he has ever done. As he actually does God’s work, rather than just talking about it, Steffen’s faith deepens and he takes greater risks in his sermons.
“When things go terribly wrong and Hanne is sent to Terezin, Steffen finds his heart fully engaged. He undertakes protests and rescues that are more and more dangerous, never imagining where it will lead him, or the ultimate cost of his decision to get directly involved.”
What was your favorite part of writing “Wildflowers”?
“My favorite part was the feeling of connection to my Danish family’s story, and in representing the courage of the Danish people as best I could. It was the story I had to tell, and it gave me the greatest satisfaction to write.”
Check back on Friday to learn Elmer’s road to publication and his thoughts on historical fiction being accurate. And look for Wildflowers of Terezin from Abingdon Press in bookstores!