Another successful author friend of mine is Ellie Midwood. Ellie’s preferred setting is World War II, and to date has written 15 novels! Ellie graciously replied to my questionaire and her answers are below;
Name: Ellie Midwood
- You’re a prolific novelist and your books are set primarily in the World-War II era. What about that era appeals to you that you choose to write about it?
I grew up, on my grandfather’s war stories. He volunteered for the Army when he was only 17 and the war was raging, so, naturally, he had a lot to tell about his experiences there. He fought on the very frontline and was among the troops that took Berlin and everything that he described had fascinated me from an early age. The war touched many other of my family members; my grandmother still remembers the bombing and how the AA-flak would shoot down German aircraft not too far from their house; we lost several family members to that war so it was always a subject that was “close to home”. Eventually, I began reading about the war, studying different aspects of it, collecting memorabilia and documents, and eventually – writing about it. I feel like it was a war that can be studied and written about to no end since there are so many aspects about it that are fascinating, horrifying, inspiring, traumatizing, and sometimes outright unbelievable. Most of all I like taking those unbelievable true stories and make them into novels.
- What awards have your novels won?
- Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Girl from Berlin: Standartenführer’s Wife” (first place);
- Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Austrian” (honorable mention);
- New Apple – 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing – “The Austrian” (official selection);
- Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical fiction category (2017) – “Emilia”;
- Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical fiction category (2018) – “A Motherland’s Daughter, A Fatherland’s Son”.
- When you’re not writing award-winning novels, how do you spend your time?
I’m mostly busy writing. I’m a workaholic, so it’s difficult for me to sit still and procrastinate, in good conscience, hahaha… When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing research, reading, watching documentaries – basically, everything writing-related. I only take breaks for my yoga classes and the occasional outing with my SO and our pup. But yes, ninety percent of my time is spent working.
- Do you have a personal favorite among your own novels?
It feels like choosing a favorite child, to be honest but I’d say, as of now, it’s my latest one, “No Woman’s Land”. I feel like it’s my most mature work so far, however, “Emilia” and “A Motherland’s Daughter, A Fatherland’s Son” are among my favorites too, each for a different reason.
- Are you currently working on another novel?
Right now, I’m getting my newest manuscript, “Auschwitz Syndrome,” ready for my editor. It’s also a Holocaust novel based on a true story but this one is much darker than “No Woman’s Land”. It has two parallel timelines; one taking place in Auschwitz in 1942-1945, and another – in a Denazification Court, in 1947. It’s also much more psychological than “No Woman’s Land,” since it’s told using the unreliable protagonist technique and the reader is not sure till the very end whether the main heroine, Helena, is giving an impartial testimony concerning one of the guards in Auschwitz or whether she’s suffering from the still-undiscovered Stockholm Syndrome, which distorts the manner in which she sees the events of the past. One of the points of view in the story is that of an American psychiatrist and he sure faces quite a challenge since the psychological disorder, from which he suspects Helena suffers, has never been mentioned before in any textbooks or studies. So, while she’s telling the court her story, Dr. Hoffman is jotting down the possible symptoms and is trying to sort the truth from the illusion. Psychology was one of my favorite subjects in college (not counting history, of course), so it was very interesting to write from this perspective.