Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: After the War Was Lost (Monika Schroeder)

After the War was Lost – Why I write about Post-War Germany

I have always been interested in history. Germany, my home country, has started two World Wars in the last century. Both wars not only brought death and terror to large parts of Europe but also ended in defeat followed by fundamental changes of the political system. I have tried to imagine how regular people dealt with these changes. I find it fascinating that a German person born at the beginning of the 20th century could have experienced a monarchy, a failed democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a socialist totalitarian regime and then again a democracy, just within one life span.

In my first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, I wrote about the end of World War II and how people in a small village in east Germany experienced the arrival of the red Army. This story was based on what my father had told me about the end of WWII and how his family was affected by it. My new novel, MY BROTHER’S SHADOW, is set in 1918, another important transition time in German history. I tried to imagine what it might have been like for a young man who had grown up under the Kaiser to see the monarchy disappear and be confronted with socialist ideas and women’s emancipation. The defeat in the war led to a socialist revolution in Germany. The split between those who considered this a hopeful event and those who thought of it as treason foreshadowed the conflicts to come during the Weimar Republic.

Nothing is the way it used to be for Moritz, the 16-year old protagonist of MY BROTHER’S SHADOW. His mother and sister attend illegal socialist meetings and talk about how the Kaiser has to leave and the war needs to end. His older brother, Hans, returns from the war, maimed and bitter, blaming Germany’s defeat on Jews and socialists. Then he meets Rebecca, a Jewish girl, who is also a socialist, and he can’t stop thinking about her. When a revolution sweeps away the monarchy he has to make a choice between his dangerously radicalized brother and his love for the women around him, who usher in the new democracy. Which side does he choose? Read MY BROTHER’S SHADOW to find out.

Monika grew up in Germany in a small town near the Ruhr Valley. After finishing her university education with a master’s degree in history and social studies, she worked as a research assistant in the German parliament. In 1995, she met her future husband while on a vacation in Egypt. At the time he was a teacher at Cairo American College, and in the summer of 1996 she joined him in Cairo. Since then she have taught in international schools in Egypt, Chile and Oman. In 2002, they moved to India where she first taught grade four and then was the elementary school librarian at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. Since the summer of 2011 they live in the mountains of North Carolina.

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  1. Hi Monika! Congrats again on your book. I'm always impressed every time I read your bio! You have so much worldly experience to add to your stories.

  2. I'm very intrigued by this book. I was born in Germany and have family there :)

  3. Thank you for the lovely giveaway! It sounds like a great book.

    mary_reiss @ hotmail.com