Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Amanda Barratt & My Dearest Dietrich

Posted June 7, 2019 by meezcarrie in Amanda Barratt, Author Interview, Christian, giveaway, historical, romance / 55 Comments


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.

Connect with her at www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor and visit her online at amandabarratt.net.

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance/Biographical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Kregel
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2019
PAGES: 352

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.

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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.

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What about you? What interests you the most about this book?

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55 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Amanda Barratt & My Dearest Dietrich

  1. Amanda Barratt

    CARRIE!!! Oh, what a joy it is to share about My Dearest Dietrich on your wonderful site!! Thank you, thank you for all you do to spread the word about stories! You’re a gem, my friend! <3 <3

    BTW, that candle sounds amazing! 🙂

  2. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for the interview with Amanda Barratt and the information on “My Dearest Dietrich”. I love inspirational historical romance! I could get lost in history – the people, what it was like to live then, events of the day. Add to that the romance and inspirational messages to it and I’m hooked – hook, line and sinker. I’d love the opportunity to read this fabulous sounding book.

    Enjoyed learning about the German tradition on no engagement ring and then wearing the wedding band on the right hand. I’ve learned my bit of trivia for the day. Let’s play a game so I can use it! 🙂

    • Amanda Barratt

      Oh, you’re a reader after my own heart, Kay! <3 I totally agree! There's just something about historical novels. Transporting you to another world, one populated by people that are really not so different from you and I.

      And yay for learning a bit of trivia! I actually didn't discover they don't do engagement rings in Germany until after I'd written the first draft of My Dearest Dietrich. I was so glad I could edit the parts written through my Americanized lens. 🙂

  3. Winnie Thomas

    Thanks for the wonderful interview and spotlight, Carrie and Amanda!

    I’m SO looking forward to reading this, Amanda! I’m behind on my reading, but I’m hoping to get this read sometime during the next week. I just read The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke and love it, but I need to decompress and read a couple of lighter books before I start on yours! I might have to make a run to Sam’s Club to stock up on Kleenex, too! Your next book sounds amazing, too!

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Winnie! The Medallion is SO high on my TBR! I’ve been eagerly anticipating that one ever since I heard it was set in World War II Poland.

      I totally get needing to decompress between intense reads. 🙂 In the midst of book release busyness, I’ve been crashing in front of the TV at night watching cheesy Hallmark movies. 🙂

  4. Elizabeth Litton

    I’ve always loved Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story, but I never heard about Maria von Wedemeyer. I definitely can’t wait to read this book!

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I’m thrilled you’re looking forward to reading My Dearest Dietrich! It’s such a joy to introduce readers to Maria! She was such an incredible woman!

  5. What a great interview! I am looking forward to reading this book! 🙂 I’m amazed at how much I have in common with the author!

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you so much, Kathy! How fun that we have so much in common! I love it when that happens with reader friends! 🙂 Blessings!

  6. Emilee

    I think it’s the setting and time period that most interest me with this book. I am looking forward to reading this new-to-me author!

    • Amanda Barratt

      I too love learning about different time periods in history, Emilee! There are so many lessons we can learn from the past. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

  7. I cannot wait to read this book. I have read a few nonfiction books over him and they were so interesting. Schlinder’s List is the best music.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you, Rose! I love, love the music from Schindler’s List! I listened to the soundtrack on replay while writing this novel, and my next one. The composer is absolutely brilliant!

  8. Perrianne Askew

    I enjoy historical fiction because I can always learn something. I found history in school boring but historical fiction is very enjoyable.

    • Amanda Barratt

      That’s the power of story, Perrianne! I too found reading history textbooks in school dry and boring. It was when I discovered the stories of the people who lived then, that I became captivated, and wanted to know more.

  9. Anne L. Rightler

    I love historical fiction and I have often thought about Bonhoeffer’s life and how it ended. His biography by Metaxas is my ‘bathroom’ book (and I don’t spend much time there so it is taking me a LOOONNNG time to read it!) Looking forward to reading this book.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Your comment about Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer being your “bathroom book” made me laugh out loud, Anne! 🙂 You’re way more academic than I am! I usually scroll social media! 🙂

      So glad you’re looking forward to reading My Dearest Dietrich!

  10. Pam K.

    It will be interesting to learn more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer. I really enjoy learning about history through story.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you, Pam! Story, whether fictional or real, is my favorite way to discover the past.

  11. Faith Creech

    I am really looking forward to reading this book. Was so interested in reading about all the research you did. It was so intriguing to read about the men in the Nazi party who were Christians. I never knew that before. Thanks so much for the chance to win your book.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Faith! I didn’t know much about the role of German Christians during World War II until I began researching this book. It was fascinating, and also very sobering to read about how they lived out their faith in the midst of Hitler’s dark regime. Many of those who took action or became involved in the resistance paid the ultimate price. It was definitely a time when those who were serious about their relationship with Christ were forced to stand alone.

  12. Andrea Stephens

    I always love your author interviews, Carrie.
    This book. Oh, this book. It lingers in my heart.

    • Amanda Barratt

      You’re the best, Andrea!! I’m truly blessed Dietrich and Maria’s story touched your heart! <3 So thankful for your encouragement!

  13. Brenda Murphree

    Everyone talking about it first interested me then I started reading about it and I like the time period.

  14. Rachel Taylor

    What really interested me about this book is that it is written about a real historical figure that I’ve heard nothing about. I don’t know much about German culture.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! Until a few years ago, I didn’t know much about Dietrich Bonhoeffer either. Which, thinking back on it, fascinates me, as I’ve grown up in the church. His story is truly an incredible one. Though he wasn’t perfect, he sought to seek God during a very dark time in history. I’m forever inspired by him!

  15. Rachael de Klerk

    I can’t wait to read My Dearest Dietrich! I absolutely love historical fiction, WWII being my favorite time setting 😍. I’m soo excited about this book📖✨. Thank you for the international giveaway 🤗💖!!!

    • Amanda Barratt

      Oh, your excitement for this story is a joy, Rachael! <3 WWII is such a fascinating time in history to study. I always come away heart-heavy because of the tragedy and suffering, but also moved to look at life as a gift, and to be a light to the world around me.

  16. Kim

    This book sounds so good! It’s very interesting to know that Germans do not wear engagement rings and wear wedding rings on their right hand. I’d love to know why.

    • Amanda Barratt

      Thank you, Kim! And yes, German engagement and marriage customs are fascinating. I believe wearing the wedding ring on the right hand is somehow symbolic. I’m not sure why they don’t do engagement rings. It would be fascinating to research further.

  17. Connie Scruggs

    I love reading books set during the WWII time period, so I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  18. Alison Boss

    One of my favorite genres to read is Christian historical fiction, and I enjoy reading about WWII. I am excited to learn more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his one true love, Maria von Wedemeyer. My Dearest Dietrich sounds amazing and I am looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the chance to win a copy, Amanda!!!

  19. Vivian Furbay

    I have heard about Dietrich Bonhoffer and that he was hanged by Hitler because he was a critic of his and faithful to God.

  20. Brittaney B

    I love reading fictionalized accounts of real historical people. It helps to contextualize them for me and makes them come alive in my head.

  21. Lisa Hudson

    I keep reading more & more good things about My Dearest Deitrech. Each time, I learn new facts that put this book at the TOP of my TBR List! I can’t even fathom the vast amount of research that went into the writing of this book! Talk about a labor of love! I’ve always been interested in Bonhoeffer. I also have Metaxas’ excellent book on Bonhoeffer. WWII is one of my favorite genres as my Daddy, three of his five brothers & one of my Mother’s brothers were all WWII Vets. All but one are still living. Daddy is the oldest at 94! I had two Great Uncles who were POWs in a German camp. One spotted the other across the barbed wire fence of his camp. One managed to escape & stayed hidden until a group Americans came by. He was so weak they had to help him get in their armored vehicle. He was 6’ tall & weighed less than 100 lbs. My other Great Uncle was freed. Another Great Uncle was a Navigator in a Higgins Boat at Omaha Beach on D-Day. He passed away at 96 & none of us knew of his service at D-Day until I typed his obituary.

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