Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carolyn Hart: Escape from Paris

Today I welcome Award Winning author Carolyn Hart.

Hart writes the Death on Demand series set in a mystery bookstore on a South Carolina sea island and the Bailey Ruth Raeburn series featuring a lively redheaded ghost. She is also the author of several WWII novels, including ESCAPE FROM PARIS which is now available from Seventh Street Books. Letter from Home, a WWII novel set on the home front, received the Agatha Award for Best Mystery of 2003. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Hart was one of 10 mystery authors featured at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, in 2003 for Letter from Home and again in 2007 for Set Sail for Murder, 7th in the Henrie O series. Hart has been nominated 9 times for the Agatha Award for Best Novel and has won 3 times. In 2007 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic. She was the International Guest of Honor at Bloody Words in Toronto in 2008. Hart is a native of Oklahoma City, a journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and a former president of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and American Crime Writers League.

Today Carolyn Hart guest posts about Escape from Paris. Her original publication of Escape from Paris was cut from 95,000 words to 55,000. Now, this novel has been republished as it was written.

From: Escape from Paris
Linda handed her papers to the sergeant. Her hands shook a little but he didn’t seem to notice. Perhaps he was used to shaking hands. 
   He read the passes which permitted her to drive, to purchase 10 gallons of gasoline a week and to visit hospitals in a 75-mile radius of Paris on behalf of the Foyer du Soldat. 
   Linda was ready to explain why it was she and not her sister Eleanor making the visit today, but he didn’t ask. He merely nodded, handed the papers back and said, in his heavily accented French, “You may proceed, Mademoiselle.” 
   The sentry pacing back and forth between the hospital gate posts stood aside for the little car to enter.
   Linda slowly drove around the side of the hospital, trying, if she would admit it, to put off for another few minutes her entry into the hospital. She had not wanted to come. It was Eleanor who visited hospitals daily, taking Red Cross packages to wounded soldiers and airmen. Eleanor kept hoping, of course, that she would find some trace of her husband, Andre, who had been missing since Dunkirk. 

   Today’s visit to Douellens had been set up for a week or more so. When Eleanor was up all night with a tooth ache, Linda volunteered to go in her place. Linda hated sickness – and wounds – and hospitals – and she was dreadfully afraid of the Germans.

Carolyn Hart: 
A Long and Winding Road

Escape from Paris is the story of Linda Rossiter and Eleanor Masson, American sisters who risk their lives in Nazi-Occupied Paris to save British fliers from arrest. The Gestapo sets a trap and on the bleak Christmas Eve of 1940, death is only a step behind.

I was a child during WWII and the war dominated our lives. Family members served in the Army or Navy. We followed the faraway course of the fighting in huge black newspaper headlines. We depended upon newspapers and radio for information. One of my earliest memories was of huge black headlines reporting the invasion of France in 1944. Food and gasoline were rationed. Everything was spoken about for the duration. I was an adult before I realized that for the duration meant for the duration of the war. To a child, for the  duration was yesterday, now, and forever.

The war remained vivid in my memory and, as an adult, I wrote several WWII suspense novels. Brave Hearts is set in the Philippines after it fell to the Japanese and will be reissued in August by Seventh Street Books. Star-crossed lovers flee after the Japanese invasion, refusing to surrender. A Settling of Accounts is newly available from Oconee Spirit Press. Kay Emory returns to London some years after the war but her past as an undercover agent draws her into danger. Letter from Home reflects the summer of 1944 on the home front in a small Oklahoma town..

When I wrote Escape from Paris, the original title was Nineteen Forty as the book gives a sense of a world at war in a series of vignettes. I was unable to find a publisher in the United States. Finally. I agreed to cut the book from 93,000 to 55,000 words to see it to a small house in England. That version was published in 1982 and 1983.

I am thrilled that now the full, unabridged book just as I originally wrote will be easily available to readers, thanks to Seventh Street Books. I hope readers will share the struggles of brave men and women who defied the Gestapo during the bitter winter of 1940. They knew fear, found love, grieved loss. Their lives and deaths remind us that freedom survives only when the free are brave.

In 1940, England awaited invasion and the Nazis devoured Europe. I believe this book will appeal especially to book club readers, highly intelligent women often of a certain age, who will bring their own memories or memories of their parents into play. I hope Escape from Paris will be read by young adults who do not know WWII even as a distant memory.

Our world today once again faces the forces of evil and perhaps we can all take courage from the memory of those who dared to do what was right despite fear, hunger, despair, and heartbreak in the bleak year of 1940..

1 comment:

Jeanine Elizalde said...

I'm thrilled that Ms. Hart's older books are being re-released. I have purchased all the ones available so far as well as all of the Death on Demand and Bailey Ruth books.

Any book by Carolyn Hart is sure to be an excellent read.