Over the years, as I was writing Immigrant Soldier, friends and acquaintances would ask me, “What is your book about?” I prepared what is called an “elevator pitch”—a synopsis short enough to recite on a ride between the stops on an elevator. Often, to set the stage, I would say, “It all begins on Kristallnacht in Germany.” Several times I was surprised when my listener would question, “But, what is Kristallnacht?”

I had read so much about the Holocaust and done so much research on the WWII era, that the knowledge I had gained seemed inborn to me. But I realized that some my contemporaries, even my literate and educated friends, and certainly many younger people as well, did not know about Kristallnacht, other details of the growth of the Nazi party in Germany, or events surrounding WWII.

At about the same time, I struggled with a difficult decision—whether to attempt a complete rewrite of my finished, middle-grade/YA nonfiction manuscript and change it into a historical novel for adults. One of the deciding factors that propelled me to tackle this daunting task was that I felt a novel could present less known facts as part of a dramatic story, thus bringing them to the attention of general readers. Of course, In the process of rewriting as fiction, some chunks of straight history had to be removed because they slowed the action of the plot. Often I could only allude to the barest facts surrounding the event. Even the glossary, which I carried over from the nonfiction manuscript, had to be shortened and abbreviated for the fiction version.

For readers of Immigrant Soldier who would like to know more about the background history, I will write occasional blog posts based on my research and expand on the facts presented in the book. The first few I want to share, and which will be posted shortly, will be:

  • Kristallnacht: The Ugly Night of Broken Glass
  • Who was vom Rath?
  • The End of the Beginning, or What Came After


  • How to Lose your Citizenship: The Nuremberg Laws of 1935

Dear readers, Please, if you have any particular historical questions you would like to know more about or if you have questions you might ask at a reading or author event, do contact me..

You can contact me by commenting to this blog post or through the contact option on the author biography page.  All questions will be considered, and wherever possible answered here and directly to the reader who submits them.


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