Friends & Enemies by Terri Wangard

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 | 3 comments

Friends & Enemies by Terri Wangard

I know you’ll enjoy meeting my guest today. Terri Wangard’s debut novel, Friends and Enemies: A World War II Romance (Promise for Tomorrow) (Volume 1) is based on letters discovered in her family research. Don’t forget to leave a comment and sign up on the Rafflecopter at the bottom for a chance to win an e-book copy! 



Fabulous Fridays

Welcome, Terri! Congratulations on your debut novel, Friends and Enemies: A World War II Romance (Promise for Tomorrow) (Volume 1)! Tell us something about yourself and how you started writing.

In grade school, I wrote little stories in notebooks, which (thankfully) were not saved. My first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. In the 90s, I toyed with the idea of writing and took a couple courses from Long Ridge Writers Group. I wrote a contemporary novel in the early 2000s; a publisher had it for a year before rejecting it. In 2008, I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, about a group of women who determine to fulfill their bucket lists. That inspired me to write again.

Although Friends and Enemies is your first published novel, you are not new to writing and have already won some awards. For all the aspiring writers out there, explain how your awards helped you on your journey to publication.

I had gotten a professional edit of my second manuscript (No Neutral Ground, releasing May 3, 2016) in 2012, and the editor was absolutely scathing. At the same time, No Neutral Ground made it to the Genesis finals. How could something so bad be a finalist? In 2013, Friends and Enemies
won the Writers On the Storm contest and Soar Like Eagles (releasing Sept. 6, 2016) won First Impression. Those are kicks of encouragement to keep at it. Someone sees something good in my writing.

I understand some family history inspired Friends and Enemies. Since I’m a Friends and Enemiesgenealogy enthusiast myself, what part did your own family background play in your book? Are there parts that are true?

I have a bundle of letters written in 1946-48 by distant cousins in Germany who were receiving care packages from my grandparents. I used what I gleaned from those letters to create the heroine and her family. The cities where they lived (Hagen and Bickenbach), the family factory that produced heating and cooling apparatus and used slave labor, an uncle who was a POW in Russia, and living in North America for three years in the mid 1930s are all true.

How did you design your characters and how much of yourself is written into them?

I gave them humor. Even in war, people still laughed. I created them the way I would like to be. Heidi attended a Confessing Church in Germany; that took courage, knowing how vicious the Nazis could be. Would I have done that? Or would I have quietly gone to a Nazi-controlled church? I gave them talents I wish I had. In the second book, Jennie is an artist. I live through my characters more than my characters resemble me.

What is your favorite period in history and why?

Medically speaking, now! Seriously, I wish I could experience my characters’ lives in World War II. Watching the squadrons of B-17s take off, hundreds of engines roaring; the anxiety of waiting for them to return, wondering if your friends made it. I’d like to try to do grocery shopping with rationing. I’d like to observe a Nazi rally. Even to experience seeing enemy bombers overhead in England, the dread as buildings collapsed and you could feel the vibrations. Looking at pictures, watching movies, or listening to someone doesn’t adequately put you in their shoes.

If you could spend the day with a character from your all-time favorite novel, who would it be and what would you do? 

I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite. I would love to spend a day with Carol from my third book, Soar Like Eagles. She’s a Red Cross doughnut girl who experienced the war up close. Too close, actually. She served airmen on air bases in England and with the army in France.

How do you see the importance of Christian fiction and how did you weave a spiritual thread through your book without being preachy?

Christian fiction should be wholesome and not put wrong ideas in your mind. Lately, I’ve seen some books in which a character will swear. Maybe just once, but that’s too often. It sticks in your mind, the same as watching TV shows or movies with bad language. Since I write wartime stories, I may have a character seek out the chaplain for advice on killing or the pressures of combat, or dealing with difficult family relationships. The same chaplain appears in all three Promise For Tomorrow books. I try to keep the snippets brief.

Please share the first page of Friends and Enemies with us.

Hagen, Germany

Monday, May 31, 1943

She was too late.

Heidi Wetzel paused at the corner to catch her breath. A line stretched out of the greengrocer’s market and snaked halfway down the block, ending four feet in front of her. She’d hurried for nothing.

Deflating with a sigh, she took her place at the end.

The clerk at the creamery had mentioned a delivery of fresh strawberries, her first chance of the year for the tasty treat. Her mouth had watered at the thought of biting into a plump red berry, its juice dribbling down her hand. She shook her head to dislodge the craving. With a line like this, by the time she got inside they’d likely be gone.

A small bottle of milk and a wedge of cheese resided in her shopping net. She needed to get them home, but she’d wait. Wait and hope. At least she could get the one egg allowed her during this ration period.

As her mother often admonished, she must be grateful for what she had. The war threatened to drag on a lot longer; these shortages would get worse.

The woman ahead of her raised a baby to her shoulder. Big blue eyes blinked at Heidi, prompting her smile. A tiny hand clutched his mother’s sleeve. Heidi stroked a gentle finger on the soft skin. The baby giggled.

Tears sprang to her eyes. The happy sound slashed at her soul like knives. If only he was her child.

Book Blurb:

World War II rages across Europe, particularly in Germany, claiming the life of Heidi Wetzel’s husband. In a bid to escape her grief and the frequent bombings of German cities, Heidi and her sister flee Hagen to a farm in the German countryside, where they help care for orphaned children. While there, Heidi comes across an American airman, Paul, with whom she spent time when her family was living in Milwaukee during her high school years. When Paul’s plane is shot down over Germany, his only thought is survival—until he hears God’s voice guiding him to his late wife’s friend.

Terri WangerdAbout the author:

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

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  1. I really enjoy WWII fiction! Thank you for the giveaway!

  2. I love reading books which are set in the first half of the 20th century, especially the WW2 era.

  3. I hope you have the chance to read Friends and Enemies, Beth and Mary.

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