Marion, welcome to Lavender Lass Books, and thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
Marion Kummerow – USA Today Bestselling author of historical fiction.
Her books are filled with raw emotions, fierce loyalty and perpetual resilience.
She loves to put her characters through the mangle, making them reach deep within to find the strength to face moral dilemma, make difficult decisions or fight for what is right. And she never forgets to include humor and undying love in her books, because ultimately love is what makes the world go round.
Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her family.
After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It’s a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.
To get a taste of her writing, you can download a free short story about a downed British airman: http://kummerow.info/newsletter-2
And here is Marion’s latest release, A Light in the Window: A completely gripping WW2 historical novel with a heartbreaking twist. This is the first book in her new series.
Margarete stumbles out of the bombed-out house, the dust settling around her like snow. Mistaking her for the dead officer’s daughter, a guard rushes over to gently ask her if she is all right and whether there’s anything he can do to help her. She glances down at where the hated yellow star had once been, and with barely a pause, she replies “Yes”.
Berlin, 1941: Margarete Rosenbaum is working as a housemaid for a senior Nazi officer when his house is bombed, leaving her the only survivor. But when she’s mistaken for his daughter in the aftermath of the blast, Margarete knows she can make a bid for freedom…
Issued with temporary papers—and with the freedom of not being seen as Jewish—a few hours are all she needs to escape to relative safety. That is, until her former employer’s son, SS officer Wilhelm Huber, tracks her down.
But strangely he doesn’t reveal her true identity right away. Instead he insists she comes and lives with him in Paris, and seems determined to keep her hidden. His only condition: she must continue to pretend to be his sister. Because whoever would suspect a Nazi girl of secretly being a Jew?
His plan seems impossible, and Margarete is terrified they might be found out, not to mention worried about what Wilhelm might want in return. But as the Nazis start rounding up Jews in Paris and the Résistance steps up its activities, putting everyone who opposes the regime in peril, she realizes staying hidden in plain sight may be her only chance of survival…
Can Margarete trust a Nazi officer with the only things she has left though… her safety, her life, even her heart?
A totally heartbreaking and unputdownable story about how far someone would go to save one life, that fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See will adore.
Readers are loving A Light in the Window:
‘Wonderful, wonderful… I was blown away by this book. I couldn’t put it down. I ignored everything and everyone until I finished it.” Nicki’s Book Blog, 5 stars
“Blew me away… You get engulfed in the storytelling until the end!… Perfect!… I loved this book – I lost my whole day reading – just couldn’t bear to put it down!” NetGalley reviewer
“I can’t put into words how incredible A Light in the Window is… Extraordinary, well written, beautiful story.” Goodreads reviewer
“This story was heartbreaking and riveting. I was up until wee hours of the morning reading it. It couldn’t put it down until I found out what was happening next.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“Emotional… Will pull at your heart strings with each turn of the page.” Spooky’s Maze of Books, 5 stars
“A poignant love story… beautifully written and rich with emotion… It is a story about courage and sacrificial love that I found really beautiful and one I highly recommend.” Christian Novel Review, 5 stars
“Heartwrenching… A compelling read you won’t want to put down. It draws you in and has you questioning the moral dilemma of whether one human life is worth more than another… A tale that is heartbreaking as well as intriguing.” Confessions of a Bookaholic
“I was hooked from the first to the last page, holding my breath… So well written you will feel that you are in France and Berlin… The pages flew by… A read that will stay with me for a long time.” Goodreads reviewer
“I love those books that REALLY make you think! It’s not just a story. It’s a moral compass check-in point… I can always count on Marion Kummerow to pen a compelling historical fiction novel that grabs my attention, holds it and rewards me.” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
This book started out as a short story when I was invited to participate in an anthology commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
Margarete Rosenbaum, a German Jew is about to be deported to a labor camp when a bomb drops on the house where she lives and making a momentous decision, she switches identities with the deceased daughter of her Nazi employer.
The short story ends there, but I was intrigued. How would it be for Margarete to live under a false name and identity. How would she cope pretending to be a staunch Nazi? Would anyone find out?
Of course, in A Light in the Window, the brother of her new self recognizes her. What then follows is a cat and mouse game, where every player has different goals in mind – whole for Margarete the only prize is survival.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I initially started in this genre to write the story of my grandparents who fought in the German resistance against Hitler. It was a work of passion for me…and then one thing came to the next and I kept writing stories about World War Two, mainly in Germany.
My goal is to educate my readers about the horrible things that happened, while at the same time entertaining them. I believe it is very important to teach especially the younger generations so they will know the warning signs and won’t let a similar thing happen again.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
It was not a conscious decision. I had the burning desire to write down the story of my grandparents in a fictional story. Initially I had not planned to keep on writing, but I enjoyed it immensely, and apparently readers like my books, so one day I quit my day job and am now exclusively concentrating on my writing business.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Honestly, it never even occurred to me that trad publishing was a thing. I always thought that was for old and famous writers like Ken Follet or Danielle Steele. But I was lucky enough to come across a Facebook group with prolific and successful self-publishers where I learned the business.
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
It depends. Often new ideas come while writing. There’s a side character and I wonder what will happen to her after the book. Or other times I go to a museum and read a caption under an image. That is often enough to spur my imagination and my mind starts working to make a story from that one phrase.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Not really. Although I have evolved into post-WWII Germany and the beginning of the Cold War. In the future I might take it farther and write about the separation of the two Germanys and the construction of the Berlin Wall. There are so many interesting escape stories that beg to be written…
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
Everything has to come together, but most important to me are the characters. They must be faced with an awful moral dilemma that’s not easy to solve. I like finding out how people behave under pressure.
What is very important to me, is historical accuracy and I spend many hours researching tiny details that ultimately don’t make it into the book. For example the exact color and shape of the shirt buttons Wehrmacht soldiers used.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
There’s not one thing. Every single day I learn something new and become better both at my craft and my business skills.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m always working on a new book 🙂
The sequel to A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW, FROM THE DARK WE RISE is almost done and will be published in November 2021, and I’m already working on a third book in the series.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Do your research. Nothing infuriates historical readers more than sloppy errors in historical events.
You can find Marion Kummerow’s book at Amazon and many other retailers! https://books2read.com/LightintheWindow
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Marion! The next book in the series will be available November 17th…but you can preorder it right now.
Find out more about Marion and her books here:
Website – https://kummerow.info/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AutorinKummerow/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/marionkummerow/