Story behind the Story: Robert Elmer

Guest Blog by Robert Elmer – See my review of his book, Wildflowers at Terezin!

My Danish heritage has flavored my interest in writing historical fiction, and I’ve always been interested in history. Perhaps it’s that way with children of immigrants. There’s a strong tie back to the old country, and when my parents and my grandmother told stories about their life in Denmark, I knew there were things there I had to pass along somehow. What was it like during the occupation years? What was it like to be a student back then, a kid? Were there lessons for us that we need to remember today? I wanted so much to tell these stories, both in the “Young Underground” novels for kids, and now in Wildflowers of Terezin, my latest novel.

This is actually the first grown-up novel concept I had, years ago, and it was suggested to me by my writer friend Bill Myers. After the success of the “Young Underground” World War 2 series for kids, Bill asked me, “Why don’t you turn this story into a novel for older readers, Bob? It would be a natural.” It took several years of playing with different scenarios and characters, but I knew that Bill was right, and that a conflict in 1943 revolving around the Jewish deportations would be the perfect crucible for a powerful story.

The story is about faith in the face of deadly opposition, about choosing the right thing and making love work when it’s hard. It’s a challenge to complacent faith, and a contrast between those who seek safety and those who just do the right thing, period. Where is the safest place, really? I think we can all relate to that kind of challenge, even if we’re not living in a war zone or a prison camp.

Did I say how excited I am about Wildflowers of Terezin? Maybe you’ve heard other writers say about a story that “this is the story I was born to write.” Well, this is probably the story I was born to write. My heart’s all there in this one, along with my roots, my passion, and everything I know about crafting a story. I held nothing back. It’s the best I can do at this point in my career. And this is, as Romans 12 puts it, my “spiritual act of worship.” Please read it. 🙂

Robert Elmer,

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Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks