Historical Fiction Author Interview: Marie Sontag

Hello! Thanks for stopping by! I’m pleased to introduce historical fiction author, Marie Sontag, who, in the midst of the unexpected, refused to let her passion die.

Tisha: Hi, Marie! I’m glad you’ve decided to share your heart with us today! What compelled you to write historical fiction centered in WW2 Poland?

when god closes a door

Marie Sontag: “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” A friend had cross-stitched this phrase for me in 1978 when my hopes of teaching ESL in Poland were dashed. The Christian group that I worked with decided not to send me overseas due to health concerns. Having a Polish paternal grandfather, I felt called to touch the lives of those behind the Iron Curtain, knowing that many of them came from the same religious background I had inherited from my parents. Like myself for many years, I knew that many in Poland had “a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” (Romans 10:2, NASB).

Stas_Alcatraz_1996
Stas’ in CA, 2008

Fast forward to 1996. Married to a wonderful husband and raising two boys, we opened our home for one year to a sixteen-year-old foreign exchange student from Warsaw, Poland.

 

 

 

 

Stas Oct 2016
Twenty years later, he still calls us Mom and Dad.Stas’ in CA, 2016

In 2008 we visited Stas’ and his family in Warsaw, and, in addition to visiting sites such as the Royal Castle. We also toured the Warsaw Rising Museum. That’s where I sensed God opening a window.

 

 

 

Tisha: This sounds fascinating! I love that you didn’t give up when your dream drowned, but that you used a disappointment to feed your desire. How did visiting the Warsaw Rising Museum lead to what you would write?

Stas_Marie_Krakow
Poland, 2008

Marie:  One of the Rising Museum’s exhibits told how the Polish Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, ages 10-20, fought alongside the Polish Underground during a two-month suicidal effort called “The Rising” in order to drive the Germans from Warsaw. They hoped to show the Allies that they did not want their country turned over to the Communists at the end of WWII. Their hope for freedom did not materialize until 1989.

mail carriers
Mail carriers

I immediately knew I wanted to write the story of those brave scouts so that youth here in the US would know the heights of bravery others their age had reached, inspiring them to dig deep within themselves to find similar causes worthy of such courage. I uncovered research that told of brave ten-year-olds serving as mail couriers carrying illegal Polish newspapers through the occupied streets of Warsaw. I learned of courageous twelve-year-old girls sloshing through fetid sewers to carry ammunition to various parts of the besieged city, and twenty-year-old scout leaders blowing up railroad tracks to prevent German tanks from reaching the eastern front. Using this research, I wove the information into a young adult historical fiction novel titled, Rising Hope.

 

Tisha: Thanks so much for sharing your passion, Marie! I’ve learned a bit about Poland, too! Readers, if you’re interested, please check out Marie’s website and follow her on social media. Plus, read the thrilling novel, Rising Hope, that was born out of a simple love trip to Poland!

What are some doors that have closed for you? Have you found your open window yet?

Reviews for Hope Rising

CoverPic

Rising Hope tells this story through the eyes of fictional scouts whose lives intersect with historical figures. Reviewers have said, “Rising Hope is a thrilling young adult novel that tells the story of the Polish Scouts’ involvement in the Warsaw Rising against the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1944.” – The Sarmatian Review

Julian Kulski, age ten when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, and twelve when he joined Warsaw’s fight against them, was the son of the Polish mayor of Warsaw in 1939. Now seventy-seven, Kulski states, “Rising Hope is an homage to all Polish teenagers who fought the German evil so bravely during WWII. A must read.” – Kulski, author of The Color of Courage

Rising Hope Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/_AwZhJ9pGBY

 

About Marie Sontag

me_2012 copy

Marie Sontag loves to bring history to life through historical fiction. With a BA, MA and PhD in education, she has taught middle school for over 15 years. She has written a middle grade series “Ancient Elements” that takes place in Ancient Mesopotamia, and book 1 of a young adult series, Rising Hope, placing readers alongside Boy Scouts and Girl Guides who helped the Polish Underground fight the Germans during WWII.

Connect with Marie through her website website

and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMarieSontag/

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