100,000 Germans were persecuted for their sexuality as Adolf Hitler waged war in Europe. Their history is shared by Edith and Helena as they discover and fight against their sexuality for their own survival.
Edith’s father is hiding Jews, Helena’s is helping Hitler’s quest for power and having him over for afternoon tea at the family home. Helena is keeping Edith and her mother’s faith a secret as their love grows. It’s all risked when they sneak out to the concentration camp on the family’s land and find Edith’s father as a prisoner.
With the secrets of love and lies of war exposed, Helena receives a near death beating from her father and the girls’ mothers take them on the run to Switzerland. Later in Austria they’re found and arrested. Edith and her mother are sent to Dachau concentration camp, Helena to France. Separated and tortured until they find themselves in London. Pain from the past warns them against their future together but their love can’t keep them away from each other, even as war is declared on Germany.
The Writing Process
On August 5th 2011 I attended Leeds Gay Pride Parade for the first time. A day where diversity is celebrated in Leeds, a parade travels through Leeds, acts perform and drag queens are out in force.
It was during the Mayor’s speech when I heard of one of the last men arrested for his homosexuality during WW2 had passed away. I had never heard this side of the WW2 history before and it had strangely been omitted from history classes at secondary school. I was intrigued and stunned that people had been arrested for their sexuality and so began to do some research to learn more about it.
At the time I was wanting to write a historical romance and had started writing the series as a hetrosexual romance but it simply wasn’t working. I changed one of the characters to female and it all clicked!
Originally I was writing sample pages that could be submitted to MFA Creative Writing programmes in the USA and got 30,000 words into the novel before it began to unravel. The characters were too old, the story started too late into their journey and just wasn’t working.
I watched the Boy with the Striped Pyjamas at some point during this and it made me think about my own characters and what they’d be like if they were younger. I originally lowered Edith and Helena’s age to fourteen but found it was too young so upped it to seventeen and it worked!
I finished the first draft at the beginning of 2012 and began editing. I sent it to my friend and editor Ruth and numerous rounds of edits began.
When I was confident with it I began to send out queries to agents. I think around 70 in total. Not all of them have gotten back to me but I did get interest from at least two but it wasn’t to be.
Wildflowers feels very much like an independent book however, perhaps better out of mainstream publishing where it could easily get lost in the latest craze.
With Kindle’s and indie publishing becoming ever popular I felt that too much time and energy had gone into Wildflowers to simply let it slip by the wayside. Combine that with some belief that the novel could do well I began to format the book for Kindle and exploring all that indie publishing has to offer!
You can read the first two chapters at the links below...
100,000 Germans were persecuted for their sexuality by Hitler during WW2, their journey is shared by Edith and Helena in Wildflowers as they battle to come to terms with their sexuality and what it means for their safety during the Hitler’s campaign.
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