Shannon here: Debut author, Aubrey Taylor shares her inspiration for her Historical Fiction title, Sani: The German Medic. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an ebook or paperback copy. Two winners will get free copies. Deadline: May 28th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Aubrey:
“You’re invited to experience the Second World War as never before. Deeply entrenched in their family’s military tradition, and yet men of character and strong faith, the Schmidt boys try desperately to hold on to each other, the women they adore, and their love for Germany during the nation’s volatile 20th Century.”
This is how the summary for my Gott Mit Uns series appears on Amazon.
One year ago, I had just completed my first novel, Sani: The German Medic. I sat at the kitchen table of my aunt’s two-hundred-year-old farmhouse, staring out at the field and the neighbor’s idyllic red barn, chattering incessantly about my ideas for all the other novels I now wanted to write. As I was writing Sani, I realized that God did not just give me one character, but a whole family of characters whose stories I was eager to tell.
When I finally paused, my aunt asked a question that I suppose was inevitable:
“Why are all your characters men?”
To be fair, she hadn’t read the book yet. She could not have known that there are a few female characters without whom the story would be incomplete. Since Sani is a war story, however, the majority of the leading characters are indeed men.
If you’ve read the book, you are familiar with Friedrich and Hannah. This couple has captivated me from the beginning. Though torn apart by the Great War, I longed to know their backstory, which reaches all the way back to their childhood, when Hannah would horn in on Friedrich and his best friend Paul while they were playing marbles. I wanted to know how they fell in love, how he proposed, and what was going through his mind when…
Well, if you haven’t read it yet, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Besides, it wasn’t just them. As I got to know each of my boys better, it became abundantly clear how vital the support of the women they loved would be. Together, they would walk through the tumultuous times in which they found themselves.
There is a small snippet of a Bible verse that gave me pause the first time I read it. It has stuck with me ever since. Jeremiah 31:22 ends this way: “A woman shall compass a man.” Commentators agree on one thing: it is a verse with a vague meaning. Some attribute it to the Son of God coming through the womb of a woman, but I wonder if it is one of those verses that have multiple applications.
Most English translations simply use words like compass, encircle, encompass, and a few give the idea of returning to. One includes the words (tenderly love) which provided the extra shade of meaning I needed to deepen my understanding, and that is where the romance comes in. Not the romance of longing and excitement, but the romance of peace, stability, and sacrificial love, especially towards one who knows he does not deserve it.
In Book 2, this is the love of Emmy Schmidt for her husband. Even though he’s gone willingly into the deepest, darkest night there is, her love for him remains, pure and sweet, calling him to return to the time he knew innocence and goodness. She chooses to believe that his story is not over, and that he is not beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness.
There is a wealth of WWII fiction out there, and I love the way it portrays so many heroic men and women. Being the person I am, however, I’ve always longed to know what was really going on in the hearts of those who were considered the “bad boys.” That curiosity extends far beyond the Second World War, but without a doubt, it made exploring the war from the German side all the more irresistible.
While history would lump every man who wore Feldgrau into the same category, in truth, their political opinions ran the gamut, and many of them, to one degree or another, were men of faith. I concede that Frederick Smith, my German medic, is a bit of a firecracker — most of us don’t even attain his level of devotion to God or his passionate faith!
Where most of the Schmidt boys find themselves is vastly different. Perhaps that is why the extremes of 20th Century Germany provide an ideal backdrop to encourage us to hold on to one another, work to find and nurture the good in one another, pray for each other, and believe that in each other, God has given us “a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest.” Not only in our marriages, but in our families, our churches, and our communities.
About Aubrey: After creating stories prolifically as a child, Aubrey has only experienced a renewed interest in writing in the last year. Character development was then, and is now, her favorite part of authorship, and she strives to get to know her characters as real human beings as if they were members of her own family.
Aubrey, her husband Brian, and their three children make their home in Upstate New York. She enjoys reading, playing music, crafting, sketching, exploring the outdoors, and traveling whenever possible. She is also a lover of the Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats, and has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety and depression. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Sani: The German Medic:
“Do you suppose you can serve Germany without serving Hitler?”
“I am determined to find a way.”
It’s 1938. Tired of a life without adventure, German-American Frederick Smith leaves everything he’s ever known to return to his ancestral homeland. What he finds is a nation that has been overrun by militarism and hatred.
Though he tries to remain uninvolved in the terror that surrounds him, his thirst for adventure and friendship draws him into service in the army of the Third Reich. As a medic, or Sani, he is a non-combatant, but when war breaks out, the actions of his comrades challenge him to question whether he can truly stand on his own beliefs.
Faced with both inner conflict and the loss of one of his closest friends, he surrenders his life to Jesus Christ and is soon called upon to do much more than bandage wounds and try to bring soldiers comfort in their dying moments. Throughout the next five years of war, Frederick sees clearly how “Gott Mit Uns” holds true for those who stand for righteousness amidst great evil.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: This question may be a bit personal, so without going into too much detail, is there someone in your life who has provided a refuge for you during a time of difficulty? Even if it were only for a season, was there someone you knew you could lean on as you worked through a particular crisis?
Come back May 24 for Kristen Hogrefe!