Ask An Author: Tania Blanchard (September 18-22)

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Tania Blanchard is the debut Sydney author of The Girl from Munich, which is one of our September book clubs.

We have Tania in to be questioned this week for our Ask An Author segment and I look forward to seeing what our readers want to know.

About Tania Blanchard, in her own words

I have always had a love of story for as long as I can remember. Before I could even read, I remember listening to stories told by family members. My mother and German grandmother used to read fairy tales to me until I could read them on my own. They still hold a special place in my heart and what I love especially about them is where these stories have come from. Many draw inspiration from ancient European tales and I find it fascinating that often these stories drew on Germanic culture and life.  I could identify with them somehow.

I suppose it was no wonder that eventually my fascination of not only my grandmother’s stories but also of the German culture would set me on the road to writing The Girl from Munich. Although I went on to have a career as a physiotherapist, I always vowed that one day I would write. Only when I found myself at home with small children, did I begin writing seriously again and I realised that I didn’t want to wait for ‘one day’. After writing stories for my children, fairy tales like the ones I loved as a child myself and then the death of my beloved grandmother, I decided that it was time to write a book inspired by the stories she had told me. I love history and once I started writing historical fiction, I realised that this was where I belonged.  I’m currently writing the sequel.

The Girl From Munich Synopsis

Germany, 1943. The choices she makes will change her life forever.

Growing up in Hitler’s Germany, Charlotte von Klein has big dreams for the future. Her mind is full of plans for a sumptuous wedding to her childhood sweetheart Heinrich while working for the Luftwaffe, proudly giving her all for the Fatherland.

But in 1943, the tide of the war is turning against Germany, and Lotte’s life of privilege and comfort begins to collapsing around her. As Hitler’s Reich abandons Germany and the country falls to the Allied forces, Lotte is forced to flee from the unfolding chaos to the country with the darkly attractive Erich Drescher, her Luftwaffe superior.

Amid the danger, pain and heartbreak of a country turning on itself, Lotte must forge a new life for herself. But as the country struggles to find its future, shadows of the past come rushing back and Lotte finds herself questioning everything she has fought for – love, duty and freedom.

A sweeping tale of love and loss in wartime Germany, inspired by a true story.

For the next week we have Tania Blanchard on call to answer your questions, so if there’s anything you want to know about her career or her book please write your question in the comments section below and she will get back to you. Please do remember our authors are busy people too so you won’t necessarily get an immediate answer but all questions asked before Friday the 22nd September will be answered.

For more great authors check back in the coming weeks and if you haven’t heard about our book club you should check out the Beauty and Lace Club.

The Girl from Munich is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.


14 thoughts on “Ask An Author: Tania Blanchard (September 18-22)

  1. Hi Tania,
    Welcome to Beauty and Lace.
    Congratulations on a fabulous debut firstly. I can’t wait for the sequel…. any ideas on a release date yet? 😉

    This was inspired by your grandmother, is any of it factual or loosely based?

    1. Thanks Michelle. It’s an honour to be featured here with ‘The Girl from Munich’!

      I’m currently writing the sequel but perhaps it will be released later next year sometime.

      Yes this story was inspired by the stories my grandmother told me when I was growing up. These were stories of her experiences during the war and post war years in Germany. I was able to learn more about these stories she told when we discovered documents, photos and letters that she left when she died. So I was able to authenticate some of these stories which became the scaffold if you like for ‘The Girl from Munich’. From there I tried to join the dots, imagining what might have happened around these stories or moments of personal experience and how the characters in my story might have behaved. This was when the lines between family stories and fiction blurred and the novel took on a life of its own.

  2. It is wonderful to be able to have read you r book. Growing up my parents were like most very poor, and I was not one who had a library near by. the only books I did have, I read and re-read, and would you believe for my 18th birthday I was given a book called The cat that the King looked at…. now I loved this, and read it I guess a thousand times. I married and moved, and would love to be able to get a copy of it again, but I dont know who wrote it, so thats hopeless I guess. I admire your tenacity to write when able, do keep going… when able… as we always need people to write, so we people can read…. I have spina bifida, and partially disabled, so I do read a lot now when able.

    1. Thanks Betty for your kind words. I’m really glad that you enjoyed ‘The Girl from Munich’. It was lovely to hear from you and learn a little about you. Like you I’m a reader and there’s nothing better than sitting with a good book. Not so much time for me to read these days but I still sneak a few minutes whenever I can!

  3. Tania, I’m so looking forward to reading ‘The Girl from Munich’, after reading the review on the list sent to us from Beautyheaven it was my first choice of a book to review. It’s very interesting to know that your stories are in part inspired by your grandmother’s experiences. Any sequels will certainly be on my to read list too.

    1. Thanks so much Gilli. I hope you enjoy ‘The Girl from Munich’. It was fascinating to bring to life the stories my grandmother told me when I was a girl. That fascination continues with writing the sequel here in Australia, especially as I can relate to the stories of this period, I have some of my own memories of childhood to draw on and of course the setting is quite familiar!

  4. Hi Tania, I’m looking forward to reading your debut novel. My father’s family was German, but emigrated here before the wars. I’m curious to know whether you encountered any resistance in publishing the book. Thanks Dianne

    1. Hi Dianne. I’m sure you have plenty of family stories yourself! I was very lucky with the writing of ‘The Girl from Munich.’ My family was very supportive of me writing a story inspired by my grandmother’s experiences. She had left a lot of documents, photos and letters behind when she died which made me believe that she wanted her story known. I think that it was the perfect time to write a story about the war years from the German perspective. There’s a curiosity now about what happened on the ‘losing side’, people are ready to hear about what ordinary Germans experienced under the Third Reich. So to answer your question, I was very lucky to have encountered no resistance to publishing the book, if anything, my story was embraced for its German perspective. Hope you enjoy ‘The Girl from Munich.’

  5. Hi Tanya, I always love this Ask the Author Thread because it also gives us an insight of the author themselves and how they began as writers.

    Wow, you look so much like my nephew’s wife. You could be twins 🙂

    1. Thanks Mandy! Glad you enjoyed ‘Ask the Author’. I think it’s a great idea.
      They say that everyone has a doppelganger out there!

    1. Thanks Millie. That’s a really tough one! How long is a piece of string?
      I think I’ll have to say ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis because I read that at the age of eleven and that’s when I became so irrevocably hooked to the world of books and that’s probably when I first began dreaming of becoming a writer.
      At the moment, I’m loving the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Watching the fabulous TV series has reminded me how much I enjoyed those books, so I had to go back and re-read them!

  6. Hi Tania,

    Congratulations on the publication of your novel. It looks like an engrossing read. I’d love if it you could enlighten me on the best and worst parts of the writing process for you!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. The best part of the writing process is when you see your story taking shape. I love when i find inspiration while researching. Sometimes, I get a fully formed idea and that’s really exciting or sometimes an idea develops slowly which is also great. I enjoy sitting to write in the morning with usually a bit of an idea of where the story is going next but knowing that the story will unfold with the writing and I won’t know what that is until I have finished writing that day!
      Worst part. Knowing that I have to meet my daily word count to keep the story moving forward. Some days that’s not too hard but other days, it feels like nothing wants to come out onto the page. I struggle with leaving my story alone while writing the first draft and editing only when that draft is done but I know that it’s the best way for me because it means that I get the story completed rather than rehash bits that don’t work properly.
      All in all, I enjoy the writing process and I find that I’m a bit off kilter the days that I’m not writing. So I guess that’s the best indicator that I’m loving what I’m doing and doing what I love.

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