Happy Veteran’s Day
Today I am grateful for all those who have served in the armed forces. To help celebrate, today I am featuring a novel set around the time of The Great War, Broken Lines, by author Kelsey Gietl.
The start of the Great War looms. German born Amara Mueller sets her mind to stay safe in America, separated from her family in Germany, serving on opposing sides. Amara takes her brother’s suggestion to heart and works to secure a husband. But will heart lead her astray and into the arms of a man who’s less than suitable?
Emil Kisch, an oxymoron, being a morality officer by day and a wastrel at night, can’t hide that fact that underneath he’s a caring man. Amara and Emil become entangled, but it’s anyone’s guess as to where their hearts will end up.
Will Amara rise above her past abuse at the hands of her prior fiancé? Will Emil see through the facade of a close friend, who works to keep Amara and Emil apart. Most important of all, will the would be lovers be able to break through their lines of allegiance to form a new bond?
Readers of historical fiction and historical romance will savor this wartime romance told with flare.
Gietl excels at writing romantic banter between the characters. The story of Amara and Emil pulls the reader in and keeps them turning the page to find out what happens next. The story flows easily through this well-wrought, opening tale of a wartime saga.
I recommend this wonderful novel to readers of historical fiction, clean romance, and wartime fiction.
My Interview With Kelsey:
1. When did you seriously start writing fiction? I wrote my first full length novel in middle school, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I began writing my first published novel, Across Oceans.
2. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey.
I’ve always loved books and writing. My mom was a teacher so I grew up reading books before I could even walk. Throughout elementary school, I wrote short stories, poems, and even two novels with the goals of becoming a published author. Somewhere along the way though as high school then college then career and family came along, I forgot all about it. It wasn’t until 2014 when I ran across one of my old manuscripts that I decided to knock the dust off my dreams. Originally, I assumed that meant traditional publishing, but after my first eye-opening PennedCon writer’s conference, I realized that self-publishing was exactly where I wanted to be. I loved the idea of having creative control over every aspect and it’s a decision I’m glad I made.
3. What inspired you to write Broken Lines?
I came up with the initial idea for Broken Lines while writing my second novel, Twisted River. I wanted to take two of my minor German-American characters and give them a story of their own; however, I wanted their story to be theirs and not merely a continuation of Twisted River. Therefore, I decided to have Broken Lines take place five years later in 1917 right in the heart of World War I. When I began researching the impact of World War I on German-American immigrants, I discovered stories of harsh descrimination due only to the fact that Germany was America’s enemy at the time. It was a time of great division with friends being encouraged to turn against one another and free speech no longer free, but carefully tailored to fit the mold. It struck me as a time that many can relate to even today and made for the perfect plotline I had been searching for.
4. How much research on WWI did you do? What were your best sources?
When I first had the idea to write a World War I novel, I knew very little about the details behind The Great War. Like most people I know, we never discussed it in school as World War II took the primary focus. So, I spent months reading books, newspaper articles, and first-hand accounts in subjects from life on the homefront to military tactics to enemy occupation on the Western Front. My novels are primarily character driven, so I wanted to provide a realistic look at life during that time without overwhelming the reader or making it feel like a historical data dump. Like so many other authors I know, probably only 20% of what I researched actually made it into the book, but every detail helped round out my characters’ story. Some of my favorite sources were the Missouri Historical Society Soldiers Memorial (https://mohistory.org/exhibits/wwi/), the Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/topics/world-war-i/), the International Encyclopedia of the First World War (https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/home.html), and the book St. Louis and the Great War by S. Patrick Allie.
5. What kind of books/genre do you enjoy reading the most?
Historical Fiction, especially if it has an inspirational, romance, or time travel aspect to it. I also enjoy clean contemporary romance and young adult fantasy.
6. What author has inspired you the most in your writing career?
This is a terribly difficult question! There are so many authors who have inspired me. From the World War I perspective, I would have to say Kate Breslin. Her historical fiction novels offer some fabulous perspectives on the Great War from lesser known viewpoints while incorporating intrigue, romance, and faith.
7. Who’s your favorite character in Broken Lines? Why?
My favorite characters in books and movies are often the ones that need the most redemption (Kylo Ren, anyone?). Therefore, I would probably say that, although I share more in common with my female lead, Amara, my male lead, Emil, was my favorite character to write. Having lost his brother on Titanic five years prior, he now spends his time as a morality squad officer, using his position to break the rules, drink himself under the table, and verbally fight anyone who looks at him the wrong way. Life is about having fun and war isn’t a problem he cares to dwell over. At least until one poor decision changes everything. Emil’s personality is drastically different from mine, and I liked the opportunity to look at the story from a new perspective. I also believe that every person has the ability to redeem themselves, and one of my favorite parts of writing is the ability to see that play out.
8. What would you like your readers to take away from reading Broken Lines?
There’s a quote from Broken Lines that I really feel sums it up so well: “Even if you feel broken, you are still beautiful. Life isn’t finished with you yet.” Like my characters, I feel that we’re all a little (or a lot) broken inside and sometimes that brokenness overwhelms us. When that happens, we have to remember to keep going. In Broken Lines, the characters endure many of the same challenges we face and overcome them, showing how we can learn from the brokenness of the past in order to create a more beautiful future.
9. Are you working on a second book in the series?
Yes. I am about halfway finished drafting Unsettled Shores and plan to publish in late summer or early fall 2021. This novel will travel from New York to London to occupied France, following the exploits of a secret letter delivery organization.
10. Name five titles and five adjectives that best describe you.
Titles – Author, Wife, Mother, Catholic, St. Louisan. Adjectives – creative, inspired, devoted, petite, artistic
Thanks so much, Kelsey for being a guest author on my blog today. It was a pleasure to read and review Broken Lines and feature you and your wonderful book.
Readers: Do you have a favorite wartime novel? Let me know in the comments.