Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Authors To Watch: Historical Romance Author D.E. Haggerty

Dena (aka D.E.) grew-up reading everything she could get her grubby hands on from her mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When she wasn't flipping pages in a library book, she was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories, which she is very thankful have been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along and robbed her of any free time to write or read, although on the odd occasion she did manage to sneak a book into her rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, she went back to school and got her law degree. She jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into her legal career, she was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. She quit her job and sat down to write a manuscript, which she promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t her thing, so she quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t her thing either. She polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where she decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from her adopted home. She packed up again and moved back to the Netherlands (The Hague to be exact) where she's currently working on her next book. She hopes she'll always be working on another book.

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Author: D.E. Haggerty
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 250
Genre: Historical Romance


While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices, but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position as a consulate worker in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.  

How far would you go to find the woman you love?

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We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

I’ve always been writing something – mostly horrible song lyrics, embarrassing poetry, and hideous stories. I never took writing seriously, though. After all, being a writer is for the elite upper-class, not the child of a factory worker – or at least that’s what I thought. While on a break from my legal career, I wrote my first ‘adult’ novel, which I quickly hid in the attic. After I’d switched careers and was still unhappy, my husband suggested I take the manuscript out of the attic and publish it myself. I haven’t looked back. 

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I am a plotter but not as detailed as most plotters. I use a very vague one-page outline as the start of my story. As I go along, I plot chapters and make notes for chapter ideas until my journal is a complete, crazy mess. I am a morning person and try to be behind my computer writing before the sun rises. I have Christmas lights I use all year round to create ambiance. 

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Searching for Gertrude is a historical romance set in Istanbul during the Second World War. The love of Rudolf’s life, Gertrude, is forced to flee Nazi Germany. Rudolf eventually follows Gertrude to Istanbul, but once there he can’t find Gertrude. He enlists the help of Rosalyn, and they find themselves working with a British intelligence officer. As the danger increases and the search stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. In addition to tons of history, the novel contains elements of mystery, suspense, and espionage. 

How did you get the idea for the book?

Oh gosh, that’s a long story. I recently lived in Istanbul for two years. I read an article about how Istanbul was to WWII what Casablanca was to WWI. I'm a total history geek (and have the degree to prove it!) so I dove into the research, determined to write a sort of espionage novel. Once I stumbled upon some information regarding a large group of German Jewish professors who were fired from their positions during the Nazi period and went to Istanbul University, I knew I had found the starting point of my novel.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Searching for Gertrude was the most challenging novel I’ve written for various reasons. First of all, it was difficult to find research material. Then, I had to research a lot of depressing stuff and try to make the book not depressing. Ugh! It took me nearly a year to write this novel whereas I usually write a book in three months.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m starting a new mystery series. Like my previous mysteries, this will be a ‘humorous’ mystery series. Our heroine is a bit of basket case after her husband leaves her. When she stumbles upon a mystery, she decides – after much pushing from her best friend – to solve it. Whenever she’s in doubt as how to proceed, she just asks herself: “What would Nancy Drew do?” I can’t wait to get started on it and not just because I get to re-read all my favorite Nancy Drew novels!

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

To newly published authors, I’d say it’s important not to throw your novel in everyone’s face. Don’t just constantly update your social media accounts with requests to buy and/or review your book. Get involved! Socialize! Make connections and grow them.

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