Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing and why WWII era is so important to you?
I started writing almost as soon as I learned to read. My first efforts defied translation but I progressed rapidly, becoming a feature reporter for Roger Sherman School’s 3rd grade newspaper. It was a piece about our field trip to the Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut.
There was a slight lag in my career after that, about 50 years more or less. I kept reading but writing seemed to be something that other people could do. It wasn’t until my children were grown that I decided it was time to give writing another shot. I started attending writers conferences and met my nonfiction agent, Andrea Hurst at a local one. She got me started writing nonfiction. I’ve written and co-written several Complete Idiot’s Guides, learning much in the process.
WOW, I owe you a lot then, as I seem to have an inordinate number of those books! LOL
Writing fiction is more fun for me than writing nonfiction. I like being able to create my own world and people it with my own characters. They take on personalities and lead the plot in interesting directions.
Headwind is set in WWII, an era that defined my growing up. My dad was in the North African Campaign and later was shipped over to Rome and Paris. I grew up watching Victory at Sea on television and studying the hundreds of pictures in his photograph album. It’s a time that continues to fascinate - a time when good and evil were clearly defined and ordinary people did extraordinary things. That became the impetus for Headwind.
The second book in the series, Crosswind, will be out next year. In this book, Katrin takes on Himmler himself.
KK Brees received her master’s degree in history from The Ohio State University and her doctorate in education from the University of Idaho. She’s a freelance editor and the author and co-author of six published nonfiction titles in the health and general interest fields. This is her debut novel.
As you know, I haven't had a chance to read Headwind yet, so wondered whether you are willing to interview your heroine for us today, please?
Thank you, I'd love to introduce you to Katrin Nissen.
Katrin Nissen is my guest today. She’s home on leave while her husband is on assignment in England. And while she’s informed me she’s bound by the Official Secrets Act, she has agreed to talk a bit about non-classified matters.
Question: Katrin, how did you and John meet? That should be safe territory.
Katrin: “I was eighteen. I’d just come to the States from Denmark and had my head buried in a map of New Haven, trying to get my bearings. I walked right into John, who was standing on the curb waiting for the light to change. He yanked the map out of my hands and told me I should be looking at the scenery, not reading about it. He took me by the hand and gave me the tour himself. We married three years later.
Question: You kept your maiden name after you and John married. That’s unusual.
Katrin: It may be unusual now, but I predict it will become more common as time goes by. A woman shouldn’t lose her identity just because she falls in love and marries.
Question: You’re also a professor in addition to being an OSS Agent. That’s got to be complicated.
Katrin: Especially when none of your colleagues know the truth. Fortunately I’m on sabbatical this year, so I have the freedom to travel without having to account for my absences. If the war in Europe continues, it’s going to be difficult.
Question: What’s the most difficult assignment you’ve ever had?
Katrin: That’s classified, but I can say that trying not to get involved in other people’s problems is the hardest part of the job. Do the job and get out – that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t always work out that way. At least for me, it doesn’t.
Question: One final question, Katrin. We see a lot of spy movies with daring do and danger at every corner. Have you ever had to kill anyone?
Katrin: Not unless they deserved it.
* * *
Professor Katrin Nissen is recalled to service in the OSS in the early days of WWII and finds herself Winston Churchill’s last hope to stop the Nazis before they reach Norway. Not your average spy, Katrin enlists the help of family to complete her mission and must survive an encounter with a high-ranking SS Colonel as well as a double agent who's out for nobody but himself.
The eternal struggle of good against evil gets a fresh telling in this inspiring and heartwarming story of courage, determination, and the indomitable triumph of the human spirit.
“KK Brees has combined meticulous research on the Danish Resistance, deft plotting and a winning protagonist to create a novel that’s suspenseful, compelling and hopeful. Highly recommended.” Sheldon Siegel - New York Times Best Selling Author of Judgment Day.
New Haven, Connecticut
Our invitation to attend the War, delivered by Western Union shortly after breakfast, lay before us on the kitchen table, awaiting the favor of a reply. To be fair, it wasn’t unexpected, although the timing could have been better. Actually, the timing could have been a great deal better. To be accurate, it wasn’t an invitation but rather an Order to Report. My eyes traveled back and forth from my research notes to the telegram. I sighed and drummed my fingers on the tablecloth as I read the missive for the third time.
“Client wishes to discuss contract renewals.” Stop.
“New York facility ready for your use.” Stop.
“If I leave now, all this,” I gestured to the stacks of three by five index cards filled with data on the desk and the books piled up in odd spots around the room, “won’t mean diddly squat.”
“Diddly squat?” My husband, nose buried in the business section of the New Haven Register, didn’t bother to look up.
“That’s what I said. Diddly squat.” I set my coffee cup down on the saucer with more force than necessary and checked to be sure I hadn’t chipped the Havilland. Damn. There it was. I sighed and ran a finger along the hairline crack that extended smack dab across the saucer from rim to rim. “I’m exchanging one maelstrom for another. Cynthia Lawton is going to pounce like a rabid tigress when I’m out of the picture.” I sighed again at the thought of this bane of my academic existence, and this time John looked up from the news.
“Is this a conversation I’m involved in or just a rant I’d best be left out of?”
“It’s a rant but I’m running out of steam. It’s safe to emerge from cover.”
What an intriguing excerpt, than you for sharing this with us.
Headwind is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chalet Publishers LLC, and your favorite Independent Bookstore.
Crosswind (volume two in the series) will be released next year.
You can find Karen at her Website http://www.karenkbrees.com/
Thank you for joining us today Karen, and best wishes for your debut novel, Headwind.