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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Terri Wangard

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a friend of mine. We met at my first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in Indianapolis, IN in 2009. We've stayed in contact throughout the years.

Welcome, Terri Wangard. What is the farthest place from home that you've traveled?

Australia. For twenty years I globetrotted. Mostly cruises and a few tours. One cruise was New Zealand and Australia. That plane flight is one long time to sit. Fortunately, I was able to use my miles and upgrade to business class. The day we visited the New Zealand fjords was rainy, so instead of seeing the beautiful vistas, we saw lots of waterfalls. And the sea was so rough while crossing the Tasmanian Sea, we had to skip our stop at Hobart, Tasmania.

Wow! That looks like fun. I've always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. How did you develop a 'love of story'?

Before bed, my mom would read to us. That instilled the love of books in me. One of my favorite things to do while growing up was visit the North Branch of the Green Bay library. I think it may have been a Carnegie library. That building is long gone, but I can still see it. In the door, around the bookshelf to the left, and there was the children’s section. I loved the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books. I never outgrew my love of libraries. In fact, I have a Master’s of Library Science degree, although I no longer work in a library.

I think most writers have a love of libraries. :) Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?

For my debut novel, I used a batch of letters written in 1946-8 from distant cousins in Germany who were receiving care packages from my grandparents. The letters don’t share much about their experiences during the war or what they thought of the Nazis. So I created a story for them, using what I did know, such as the city they lived in, the factory they owned, two girls and a boy in the family (although I changed their ages), and the uncle who was a POW in Russia.

I hadn't realized you based it on part of your family heritage. That's really neat. What is the genre you write in?

Historical. On the cover of Friends and Enemies, a subtitle reads A World War II Romance. I’m not too comfortable with that. I wrote the original version of F&E as a historical romance, but got clobbered in contests. “That’s not a romance. They have to be together most of the time.” When I did the rewrite, I deliberately held it to just a touch of romance. After all, the main characters had recently lost their spouses. Book Three in the series could go either way.

That sounds exciting. What do you plan to work on next?

All three books in my Promise For Tomorrow series release this year, in January, May, and September. I’ll be a one-year wonder! Meanwhile, I’m writing another WWII story about a seaman, his Rosie-the-Riveter wife, her WAC sister, and a grasshopper pilot. After that I intend to switch to an earlier era.

You'll have a busy year! Where do you get ideas?

All three books in my series featured the B-17 Flying Fortress. I opted for B-17s because I needed an American in Germany before the army invaded in late ‘44. The only Americans before then were shot-down airmen.

When I wrote the next books in the series, I kept the B-17 for continuity. All the male heroes are navigators. For the women, I wanted something that hasn’t been done. For No Neutral Ground, she’s an American in neutral Sweden and in Soar Like Eagles, I have a Red Cross doughnut girl in England and France.

Sounds like a great series, Terri. :) What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

I don’t have one favorite. One of my favorites is the verse used in Friends and Enemies. Psalm 31: 14-15 “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” God is in control. Knowing that makes all the difference in the world.

Amen. Is there something about you most people wouldn’t know?

I used to be a competitive swimmer. During my junior high years, I was on a YMCA swim team. I did well in the state, and missed the nationals one year by one second. Nationals were held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and a side trip to Disney World was planned. I wanted to go! And I did, but not as a competitor. My dad drove the bus to Florida, so while my sister and the rest of the competitors had to practice, the rest of my family and I spent time on the beach.

 So you were able to have fun with your family. :) Thanks for stopping by today, Terri.

Next week Amanda Cabbot will be here sharing about her writing life. Don't forget to leave a comment for your final opportunity to win this month's giveaway.

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