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Monday, July 31, 2017

Author Interview + Giveaway - Kate Breslin




About the Book


A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group. 

When a plane crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

You can read my review HERE.





Welcome to Bookworm Mama, Kate! I am so honored to have you here today!



Kate: Rachel, thank you! I’m delighted to be here today and I appreciate you letting me share some time with your readers!


Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?


Kate: I give full credit to my mom. She’s a natural storyteller. I’m sure I got my love of reading from her as well. She’s not a writer per se, but she has a gift for taking an everyday experience and turning it into a funny, captivating narrative. Her stories always make me laugh.



Rachel: I credit my mom with the reason I enjoy stories as well! It is proof that the influences we have on us as children can last a lifetime.



When did you KNOW that you wanted to be an author?

Kate: I’d written a bit growing up, but with novels it was years later, when I’d been reading voraciously and finally reached the end of my favorite authors list. They inspired me so much that I began to imagine my own stories. I was working a high-pressured job in construction sales at the time too, so I was more than eager to start doing what I truly loved best, daydreaming on paper! 😊

Rachel: I LOVE this description! And I think it is so wonderful that you followed that dream. You are an inspiration for sure!

What literary character is most like you? Why?

Kate: I’ll choose Miss Molly Gibson of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, though I’m a bit more headstrong and not nearly as patient as she is. 😊 We do share a fondness for nature and being outdoors however, and we can both keep a secret. Neither of us readily embraces change and we’re fiercely loyal to those we care about. And we love, love, love our reading time! We also eat blackberries right off the vine, chase the man we love in the rain, and when we give our hearts, it’s for keeps.

Rachel: I feel like you just described ME! This story is one I need to see/read! 

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? 

Kate: I’ve always enjoyed Julie Garwood’s style of writing and hope it’s influenced my own storytelling ability to some degree. Francine Rivers is another favorite author, and her novels helped to inspire me into taking the step to write inspirational fiction. I love her edgy themes, and reading her Mark of the Lion series kept me on tenterhooks!

Rachel: Confession...I have never read either of these authors. I have heard such amazing things about Mark of the Lion though!

What hidden talents do you have?

Kate: I make and bottle my own infused oils and herbal vinegars, using ingredients from my garden. I like to give them as gifts to friends on birthdays and holidays.

Rachel: Mmmmmm that sounds incredible!!! I am impressed! 

What is your favorite childhood book? 

Kate: Any books involving Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden. I would hide out in my room for days devouring one story after another. From an early age, I loved a good mystery!

Rachel: Haha! Sounds like my childhood...Although along with Nancy Drew, I read a lot of Boxcar Children books. And then I got into the Dear America books! 

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Kate: Nothing really unusual. I like to have instrumental music playing softly in the background while I write and if I can find a CD with music to fit my theme, that’s even better.

Rachel: Ok, starting to think we are the same person...Haha! This is my favorite! Music to match the era/theme of the book is my sweet spot for reading! 

How did you become involved with the theme of female spies in High as the Heavens?

Gabrielle Petit
Edith Cavell
Kate: I was interested in delving deeper into my research on female spies of the Great War, especially after I’d included a reference to the Dutch spy, Mata Hari, in my second novel, Not By Sight. I came across an article about a Belgian heroine, Gabrielle Petit, who had smuggled her wounded fiancé out of German-occupied Belgium into neutral Holland to rejoin his regiment. Shortly afterward, she was recruited by the British Secret Service to gather intelligence behind enemy lines to aid in the war effort. Eventually Gabrielle was betrayed, and in 1916 she was shot by a German firing squad in Brussels at the age of 23. That was my story spark and from there I continued to read about other Belgian heroines, like British nurse Edith Cavell and Belgian nurse Marthe McKenna, who was probably the most influential in my creating Evelyn Marche for High As The Heavens. My spiritual theme of forgiveness came later, as I was called to explore how we often allow our guilt to become a barrier against receiving God’s love and His mercy, and this can lead us to despair. I wanted my heroine to experience this dilemma, and to find the answers she seeks by the end of the story.

Rachel: Oh my goodness! LOVE! It blows me away to learn the true stories of the heroines of the wars. It makes me hope that I could be that brave in those situations. 

Pinterest - German occupation
of Brussels August 1914
Can you share some something interesting you learned while researching High as the Heavens

Kate: I’d love to, Rachel! Just a few weeks before my story opens, there was a young lance corporal sightseeing in Brussels. With camera in hand, he took many pictures while enjoying his furlough in the Belgian capital. Clad in his gray uniform, he hadn’t yet fashioned the infamous toothbrush moustache that would years later identify him as the most hated and feared man of the second world war. In September of 1917, Adolf Hitler was merely one of many German soldiers out on holiday in the city. Creepy, isn’t it?

Rachel: Ahg! No way! I mean, I knew he was a soldier in WWI...But I never thought about him being in Brussels around the time of this story. Yikes! Glad Evelyn didn't have any run ins with him....

Your books bring out so many emotions and deal with topics that can be hard to digest. But you do it in a way that is so moving. Can you share a little bit about your personal writing journey that brought you to where you are today and what inspired you to write World War Historical Romance?

Kate: Oh, Rachel, thank you for that! I think the most important thing about writing a story is being passionate about it. Through those many early years I struggled to publish in the general romance market, I was a Prodigal daughter returning to Christ. I began to notice that as my faith grew, so did my awareness of what I was trying to put out into the world. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord spoke to me, yet it wasn’t until I finally reached a spiritual crossroads in my writing that I listened and embraced the idea of creating stories that would lift the spirit and glorify Him. I believe this is why my debut novel, For Such A Time, was a spiritual journey for me as much as it was for my heroine, Hadassah. I feel so blessed to be where I am today and I’ve never looked back.

Rachel: What a testimony of God's faithfulness. Thank you for sharing this. It is incredible what happens when we turn our lives and gifts over to Him.

What writing advice do you have for pre-published authors?

Kate: Be persistent and keep writing. Finish the manuscript, polish it, have readers you trust give you feedback, then polish it some more. Start querying agents while you continue to write. Did you receive a rejection letter? Take a short time-out then sit back down and write. See a recurring theme here? Every step is a sign of progress, even when the response you get isn’t what you’d hoped for. If you’re always honest about your writing, you will continue to grow and move closer to publication. Never stop believing in yourself and remember, we’re all on God’s time, not our own. 😊

Rachel: How true! And this, "Never stop believing in yourself and remember, we’re all on God’s time, not our own." can be applied to everyone. I know waiting can be soooo hard. But in the end we know in our heart that He knows best!

It has been so much fun visiting with you today! Before we go can you tell us about your current WIP?

Kate: Thanks for asking, Rachel! Right now, I’m working on another WWI story featuring a character from my second novel, Not By Sight. I’m really having fun with my new hero and heroine as they venture deep into southern France on the hunt for something very precious! When they finally get caught in a web of intrigue they hadn’t expected, only love and a courageous leap of faith can possibly save them. This new adventure with Bethany House is scheduled for spring of 2019.

Rachel: I have to wait almost TWO years for your next book! 😭 I am sure the wait will be worth it! This sounds like another incredible story!!!

Thank you so much for joining us today Kate, it is always a pleasure chatting with you!

Kate: Rachel, the pleasure is all mine! Thank you again for hosting me on your lovely blog and I pray for God’s blessing on you and all of your dear readers!

Chat with us!
What WWI or WWII spy did you know of prior to reading this interview? Or which female spy mentioned above stands out to you the most?

About the Author



Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing's 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her novel, For Such A Time, won the 2015 Carol award for Debut Novel. Kate's third novel, High As The Heavens released in June 2017. When she's not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington's beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas






Giveaway

Kate has graciously provided a print copy of High as the Heavens for giveaway. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. ***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** Please see Policies & Disclosures for more information. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends 8/7/17 at 12:00am PDT

64 comments:

  1. <3 Thank you ladies for this great interview!! Very encouraging to my heart today :)

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    1. Hi Carrie! Thank you for stopping by, and I'm so glad you've found some encouragement. I'm sending you a virtual hug!!

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  2. I'm looking forward to reading this book! Lovely and encouraging interview! Thank you, ladies!

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    1. Thanks, Beth! It's great to have you visit today and I look forward to reading your thoughts on High As The Heavens!

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  3. Just a couple of weeks ago, I went to a local museum to listen to a presentation on women serving in the OSS during WWII. I learned that there were some notable figures serving in this capacity, including Marlene Dietrich! She used her talent as an entertainer to demoralize the Germans with the songs she sang - I had no idea!

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    1. Thank you, Kate and Rachel, for this interview - can't wait to read the book!

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    2. Oh wow! What a story! Thanks for stopping by!

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    3. Hi Alaina! Isn't it fascinating to discover how many women actually served in the secret branch of the service during the wars? People you would never imagine, like Marlene. I have a book called, "Sisterhood of Spies" by Elizabeth P. McIntosh which tells about these women working for the OSS during WWII. I was amazed to learn that Julia Child was among them! Thanks so much for being with us today and I hope you'll enjoy reading High As The Heavens!

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  4. I didn't know of any of the spies mentioned before this interview.

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    1. We learn something new every day right? :)

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    2. Hi Sabrina! I'm so glad we could introduce you to these smart, cool-headed ladies of the past. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Sometime in the last few months I saw a PBS documentary about Noor Inayat Khan. She was an Indian woman who spied for the British during WWII. She was eventually caught and killed. Her life and bravery are fascinating!

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    1. WOW! I am going to have to watch this! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    2. Oh, Karen, I've seen photos of her on Pinterest and a few online articles, but I'd love to see that documentary. Thanks for posting about it. Her life story sounds fascinating!

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  6. I didn't know of any spies in the WWs, especially female spies! Gabrielle's story seems really interesting. Thanks for sharing a great and informative interview.

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  7. what an interesting interview. this book really sounds interesting. I have known about Mati Hari. But learning that there were so many others is fascinating.
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

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    1. It is amazing to learn about for sure!

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    2. Hi Lori! I love being surprised by new facts I come across in my research. Thank you for joining us today!

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  8. I had never heard of any of these spies, but the story of Gabrielle Petit is inspiring and heartbreaking!

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    1. Hi Julie! Yes, it's sad that she was betrayed and died at such a young age. There were so many others, too. Marthe McKenna was one of the few women imprisoned that managed to survive WWI and go on to write her memoir. Such courage! Thanks for your post!

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  9. Enjoyed the interview. I am a big fan of Kate's books. I have loved and read them all.

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    1. Ann, thank you so much for your support!!

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  10. I really like the sound of "High As The Heavens". A British nurse who is also a WWII spy should make for a great read.

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    1. Hi Dianne! My British nurse is a spy during the first World War and I'm hoping you'll enjoy the story. :-) Thank you for visiting today!

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    2. It really is a good one! I devoured it so fast!

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  11. I really like the sound of "High As The Heavens". A British nurse who is also a WWII spy should make for a great read.

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  12. Gabrielle Petit stood out to me. I cannot imagine facing a firing squad at 23 because I was betrayed. I need to read more about these women.

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    1. It makes my heart hurt. I admire her so much. I only hope I would be as strong as her.

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    2. Hi Sonnetta! It's difficult to envision myself in her place. She had such courage, and yet her fear must have been real, too. Having that kind of dedication to act on what you feel is right is to me, amazing! These women are definitely worth a second look. Thanks for your post!

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  13. Oh my goodness this sounds so good!!! I can't wait to read it for myself!!

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    1. IT IS!!!! One of top reads ever! (All of Kate's books are on that list though hehe)

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    2. Thank you, Abby! I hope you enjoy High As The Heavens!

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  14. I had heard of Mata Hari but not much about the others. Gabrielle Petit's story was so sad but I greatly admire her bravery. I enjoy reading historical novels, especially ones like Kate's that are so well researched.

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    1. Thank you, Pam! I do love the research and learning about those remarkable people who risked all for others and who fought behind enemy lines. True heroes and heroines of the past who deserve some recognition. I hope you enjoy reading High As The Heavens!

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  15. I don't really know of any as such. I have read many war books but don't necessarily know whether the characters in these books are based on real life spies or just made up characters. I find WW2 stories particularly fascinating. Not sure why but learning how the Nazis could be so mean to Jews and others they didn't deem worthy, is just amazing (and not in a positive way). When we go to Europe in October, I hope to visit a concentration camp and see it for myself.
    Arletta

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    1. I think the Nazis were much worse than the Kaiser's army of the first world war, though some atrocities were committed on civilians during the initial invasion of Belgium. I hope you are able to visit the camps when you go to Europe, Arletta. I'm sure it will be an experience never to be forgotten. Thanks for your post!

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  16. I learned a lot from this post today! Thanks for sharing the fascinating bit of history :-)

    Thank you for the giveaway chance!

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    1. YAY! Thanks for stopping by Trixi!

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    2. Thank you, Trixi! I'm glad you enjoyed the history, and I hope you get a chance to read High As The Heavens. God bless!

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  17. Great interview, fascinating information!

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    1. Hi Paula! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by!

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    2. Thank you Paula! I agree. History has always fascinated me. And these ladies are such heroes!

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  18. Not read one of Kate's books but they sound intreging. Love reading about heroines especially those in the World Wars - they were so brave.

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    1. Hi Maggie! I love being a new-to-you author and hope you get the chance to read High As The Heavens, or another of my novels. I really enjoy writing about people who can rise above their fears to accomplish the extraordinary. Indeed, the women of war were and are very courageous!

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    2. Oh Maggie! They are so good! Keep the tissue box nearby! So moving!

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  19. I have read a number of WWII non fiction books, including those focusing on the development of the British espionage in conjunction with Resistance groups. I just finished another book, Sons and Soldiers, which had several pages on the previously mentioned in comments, Marlene Dietrich. Very fascinating. I have read two pictured of Kate's books and greatly enjoyed them.

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    1. Cathy, thank you so much for your post! I'm happy that you enjoyed my other stories, and I hope you'll like High As The Heavens as well. History is fascinating, isn't it? Good luck on the contest!

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    2. Oh this sounds fascinating! Going to check it out now! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  20. Thanks, Kate & Rachel, for this wonderful interview! I always enjoy getting to better know an author. I don't really know of any WW spies. I found Gabrielle Petit's story of how she became a spy so interesting...very sad though how she was betrayed and shot.

    I can't wait to read High as the Heavens! Thanks for the opportunity of this giveaway!!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Alison! Gabrielle's story is one I want to learn more about for sure! So heartbreaking!

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    2. Alison, thank you for your post! I hope you get the chance to read and enjoy Eve's journey in High As The Heavens. Blessings!

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  21. I have always had a fascination with reading historical books both fiction and non fiction both American and out of my country history. When I read I frequently look items up on my computer to check the accuracy of what I am reading and to further my education on it. I have found out many fascinating facts out this way. I find it interesting women have always taken on men's roles during history as in the case of Gabrielle Petit. Very brave women there.

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    1. I do the same thing too! Even with certain phrases and customs or holidays. I love research and history! But I am ok with authors taking some creative license of course lol

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    2. Deanne, hi! I love weaving fiction around the lives of real people and real settings in history. And I'm always impressed to read about the early women who started working as government spies behind the scenes. In author Tammy M. Proctor's book, "Female Intelligence," she sites that a Westminster barmaid, Jane Bradley, uncovered and reported a plot against the government. After receiving a gold coin for her efforts, she was granted permission to continue keeping her eyes and ears open. The year was 1679. Thank you for posting!

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  22. Rachel, I've really appreciated this time to share with your readers on Bookworm Mama! The comments were great and it's especially fun to discuss history and the indomitable women who fill its pages. Thank you for being such a lovely host, my friend. God bless!

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    1. Thank you Kate! It has been an honor!

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