Today’s guest is one of the sweetest young women I know! I’m delighted to have Amanda Barratt back on the blog, this time to chat about her new novel – the novel of her heart – My Dearest Dietrich!
ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. Her novel My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love, released from Kregel Publications in June 2019.
She’s also the author of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey, as well as seven novellas with Barbour Publishing. Two of her novellas have been finalists in the FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.
Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance/Biographical Fiction
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2019
A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison
Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.
Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.
Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.
With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.
Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.
Hi my sweet friend! Welcome back to the blog! Thank you for joining me today!
Amanda: Thank YOU, Carrie! The very first time I visited Reading Is My Superpower, I knew I’d found a place dear to my bookish heart. It’s a joy to be here celebrating the release of My Dearest Dietrich!
Amanda: At the risk of sounding un-writerly (is that a word??), I’m going to go with tea. Though I do treat myself to an occasional coffee, an excess of caffeine keeps me awake at night. I love decaf green tea in a special mug. It’s so comforting!
Carrie: I think i would have been disappointed if you hadn’t said tea!
Amanda: Music! Though I love audiobooks, I can read much faster on my own, so have only listened to a couple. But I listen to music all the time—Christian radio in the car, soundtracks and other songs while writing, and fun, motivational music while cleaning or working out. My favorite is anything from the 1930s and 40s—Glenn Miller, Billie Holiday, The Ink Spots. I’m a vintage gal at heart!
Carrie: I feel the same about music vs. audiobooks. Music is almost always on around me 🙂
Amanda: Soup. I love a big, bubbling pot of potato soup or chili during the long winter months. It’s so nice to come home to after a busy day.
Carrie: Yum – now I’m craving potato soup! So comforting, isn’t it?
Amanda: Anything that requires me to make use of the random plethora of facts I’ve gleaned while writing books set in a variety of eras and locales. LOL. I love trivia games. I also love the game Balderdash where you make up definitions and descriptions for words. It’s a fun way to think creatively!
Carrie: Balderdash is such fun! Have you ever played Beyond Balderdash? It takes it to a new level lol
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. I know I’ve asked you this before but if YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Amanda: Time travel! That way I could make sure I was getting all the facts right in my books. It would be so much easier to walk 1940s Berlin and sketch a map of it, rather than hunting all over the Internet for one. I’d have to be able to bring it back with me though. 🙂 It would also be wonderful to meet Queen Victoria and Charlotte Brontë. And Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of course!
Carrie: Oh wouldn’t that be amazing?? One day we’ll get to meet Dietrich Bonhoeffer ♥
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Amanda: I love getting lost in a bookstore! Shopping for books is such a low-stress, happy event, unlike shopping for clothes or shoes. Ahhh…bliss. Especially if the bookstore has a coffee shop in it, because then the air smells like books and coffee. <3 I typically head first to the Christian Fiction section to try and spot friends’ new releases. And to see if they carry any of my novels, of course! Then I make my way to the history and biography area. I do a lot of “window shopping” there, jotting down titles to order through my local library. It’s always such a thrill finding a book I haven’t heard of on a topic I’m currently researching. I also love browsing for new historical fiction. I could spend all day in a bookstore, and not get bored!
Carrie: Girl, me too! One of my favorite candles is Bookstore from Frostbeard Candles – it smells exactly like what you described – books and coffee.
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Amanda: I’m sure most suspense authors have me beat on this one, but I have Googled how long it takes to die from a stab wound, and where is the most lethal place to be stabbed. Needless to say, I completed that Google search away from prying eyes. No need to make anyone nervous…
While writing My Dearest Dietrich, I spent a lot of time Googling German culture. One of the things I learned was that they don’t do engagement rings in Germany. I had no clue! In my first draft, I mentioned an engagement ring in a couple of scenes, so ended up changing it to simply a ring. Imagine all the money it would save if we followed this practice in America! They do wear wedding bands though, but on the right hand instead of the left.
Carrie: how interesting! I wonder what the reasoning is…
Q: Were there any songs that inspired you as you wrote My Dearest Dietrich?
Amanda: It took two years to write My Dearest Dietrich, and I listened to tons of music throughout the process. I wrote the prologue and many other scenes while listening to the theme from Schindler’s List. I also listened to the soundtrack from the movie Valkyrie for some of the more suspenseful scenes. Another song I wrote to a lot was Solveig’s Song sung by Sissel Kyrkjebo. It’s an inspiring, beautiful piece.
Carrie: i love the variety of those pieces!
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from My Dearest Dietrich & why do you love it?
Amanda: One of my favorite quotes in the book is actually one I didn’t write. 🙂 It’s from the poem Who Am I by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer wrote this poem after he’d been imprisoned for over a year. During his imprisonment, fellow prisoners and guards had come to see him as a source of strength and comfort. In Who Am I, Bonhoeffer grappled with the self he presented to the world, and the frail, flawed human he saw himself to be within. The final stanza of the poem is this:
Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?…
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine,
Whoever I am, Thou Knowest, O God, I am thine.
This moved me to tears. It’s the essence of what My Dearest Dietrich is about. No matter what we endure on this earth, we can rest in the truth of belonging to God and God alone. He holds our future, even if we don’t know what the future holds.
Carrie: that is so beautiful. Amen.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Amanda: In 2020 I have another World War II novel releasing with Kregel, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s based on Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance group—German college students who took a stand against Hitler. Researching Bonhoeffer led me to Sophie, and I’m beyond excited for readers to discover the story of this amazing young woman in a new way.
Carrie: eeep! Excuse me while I muppet-flail! YAY! can’t wait 🙂
Amanda Barratt is offering a print copy of My Dearest Dietrich to one of my readers! No shipping restrictions. Open to everyone 🙂 This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you the most about this book?