Monday, January 2, 2017

Interview with Terri Wangard, author of Soar Like Eagles

Welcome Terri Wangard to the blog today! 

She's here to talk about her latest release, Soar Like Eagles. It's a delightful romance story that will encourage your heart with its theme of how love conquers all, and its thread of faith will inspire your heart.

Enjoy your time with Terri!

Here's the book 
blurb for Soar Like Eagles

Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Believing wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements and transfers to France, away from Chet, the airman she’s falling for.

Chet’s father always belittled him. Now a well-regarded navigator, he longs to prove him wrong. After he’s ditched in the North Sea, parachuted into France, and been called before a review, his focus changes to staying alive, and winning the Red Cross girl he keeps crossing paths with.

Interview with Terri Wangard, author of Soar Like Eagles:

Alexis: Soar Like Eagles is book number three in your series, “Promise for Tomorrow.” What is your book series about?

Terri: All three follow B-17 navigators based at Ridgewell, England, during World War II. The first one is shot down in Germany, where he finds a woman he’d gone to school with. The second is interned in Sweden, where he meets the woman who crossed to Europe on the Queen Mary with him. And the third meets a woman at a train canteen who follows him to England as a Red Cross volunteer.

Alexis: What makes Soar Like Eagles unique? Share the storyline.

Terri: Soar Like Eagles features a Red Cross clubmobiler, and you won’t find many, if any, novels about that. She wants to do her part for the war, but struggles to maintain her ideals. He joins the air force, hoping to find peace.

Alexis: Tell us about the heroine of your story, Carol. Describe her looks, personality, passion and hope.

Terri: Carol is named for my mother, who I think would have made a fine RC volunteer. The fictitious Carol is a newspaper reporter writing about social events. She wants to be more involved in the war effort and contribute in a meaningful way, which does not include describing ladies’ gowns at a Christmas party. The book cover pictures her well.

Alexis: Why did Carol decide to become a Red Cross doughnut girl?

Terri: She joins the Red Cross to find that meaningful contribution. Many girls serve overseas. Working in a factory may be a necessary and worthwhile occupation, but she wants to be closer to the action and the fighting men.

Alexis: What does Carol like the most about serving GI’s and boosting their morale?

Terri: Most of the men are thrilled to see American women. Many need a listening ear. The girls give them a respite from the consequences and strain of battle.

Alexis: Carol wants to steer clear of wartime romances. Why?

Terri: A close friend married a man Carol rejected within days of the rejection. She came to deeply regret it. Wartime romances, especially those overseas, take place in unnatural situations where they don’t necessarily get to know the real person. Marrying in haste only to discover she’s married a stranger holds no appeal to Carol.

Alexis: Tell us about the hero of your story, Chet. What is he like? Describe his looks, personality, passion and dreams. What is his greatest fear? Why?

Terri: Chet’s mother died when he was young. His father was stern and ridiculing, so his maternal grandparents took Chet. He wants to prove he’s not the worthless kid his father claimed him to be. He excelled at the Pan Am navigation school and was offered a postwar job (if he survived). But always, in the back of his mind, he hears his father’s taunts. He’s tall, dark haired, kind of like Ioan Gruffudd.

Alexis: What is it about Carol that attracts Chet?

Terri: They meet at a train canteen for only a few minutes. He’s quiet, polite, good-natured. And, of course, he’s easy on the eyes.

Alexis: What is it about Chet that makes Carol reconsider wartime romance?

Terri: She sees his concern for his friends, his grief when they die. He comes into the clubmobile’s kitchen and washes dishes when they run short. She sees his humor as he interacts with enlisted men. He’s responsible and well-thought of by the other airmen.

Alexis: Chet is from a troubled family/home life. How did the verbal abuse affect him as he grew up? What made him into the man he is today?

Terri: He’s determined to prove his father wrong. There’s always that extra push to succeed.

Alexis: Chet is a squadron lead navigator. What does that mean? Does he like his job? Why or why not?

Terri: The lead navigator has primary responsibility for guiding the wing, group, or squadron to the target and back to base, often covering hundreds of miles. That’s a pressure-filled job, especially in the often foggy weather. One time he’s blamed for a mission that goes awry, but is exonerated. It is very satisfying when he brings them to their destination and hears, “That’s good work, Chet.”

Alexis: Why did you choose to incorporate the real-life, airplane company legend PanAm into your fictional story? What is the significance of it?

Terri: I want my stories to be solidly based on fact. Even the missions the airmen fly go to the actual targets on the dates they were flown by the 381st Bomb Group based at Ridgewell. Many of the incidents my characters face grew out of real occurrences. I chose PanAm because it provided lots of story possibilities in Miami, primarily for book one, Friends & Enemies, where Chet and Paul (of Friends & Enemies) meet. Historical accuracy is important.

Alexis: What did you enjoy the most about writing this story?

Terri: I love the research. My personal library contains many memoirs by participants of the 381st Bomb Group and other navigators. For this story, I acquired lots of clubmobiler memoirs. I enjoy biographies and find it fascinating to learn about people’s lives. 

Alexis: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this wartime romance?

Terri: Getting it right and believable, and weaving all the threads together. I made flow charts of all three books to make sure their dates match, since they’re all in the same time frame.

Alexis: What’s the moral of this story?

Terri: I don’t start out with one in mind when I write. Carol stood up for her beliefs, which caused trouble with a colleague who was intent on marrying. Chet didn’t let his father’s criticism hold him back; he used it to prod himself to do better.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Terri! Do you have any final comments?

Terri: Thank you for having me!


Author bio: 
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 comment:

  1. Wonderful interview. I have loved Terri's other books and really look forward to reading this one.