Monday, July 23, 2018


Don't miss the Rafflecopter at the end of the post!

The Fortress
by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey

GENRE: WWII Historical


The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death.


Inspiration behind the book-- 

First of all, the Vercors Mountains. Breathtakingly beautiful, dangerous, natural playground for all extreme sport lovers. Rock climbing, canyoning, spelunking, skiing, it's all there. But for me, it's home. It's where my ancestors have lived and are buried under those same cliffs.

Then, the history. The Vercors is a dream of freedom, a heroic battle, a military disaster, but also redemptive last stand. Many military and history books have been written on the subject, but no fiction accounts, and in fact, I was frustrated by the dryness of the accounts which I felt did not reflect the human dimension of that battle.

Finally, my own family history. Three of my uncles were condemned to death for collaborating with the Vichy government and betraying C2, a Resistance camp, to the Nazis. Their sentences were later commuted to forced labor, but the national disgrace verdict stood, and they had to leave the area to avoid being murdered. Despite the death threats, my father— who had fought with honor during the war—decided to stay. The legacy was hard to overcome in a community mauled by four years of occupation and violence, and seventy years later, my last name remains associated with the destruction of the Maquis of Malleval.           

There are also small things, like a Sten machine gun I found in the mud of a summer creek, with this inscription, Pour ma Suzon Cherie, June 12, 1944; or the story of a fifteen-year old boy, a resistant fighter whose name is forgotten, who was tortured and murdered by the Nazis in the summer of 1944.

And finally, Russel Crowe, naturally.

Interview with Madeleine  Romeyer Dherbey

--Favorite author/genre

Väinö Linna, Under the Northern Star, a trilogy. It’s a story of hard work, loyalty, forgiveness, and amazing courage during the ferocious civil war in Finland. Read it. Akseli Koskela will show you what a real man looks like.

I read classic literature, historical novels preferably, and History. I speak French, German, and Spanish in addition to English, and like to read novels in the original language. It’s gives me more insight into the author’s original intent. Currently I’m reading Das Parfum, by Patrick Süskind, and Jerusalem, by Montefiore.

--Favorite quote

What’s on my license plate, LIFAD, the acronym for Leben ist fur alle da. Life is for everyone here. Choose life.

--How long have you been writing?

Nine years? It takes me forever. I set no deadlines, no word-count goals, lest it become a chore. I either get a beer, put on some Finnish Death metal, Insomnium, for example, and settle somewhere where I am not alone in the house, or I go for a long walk on the Appalachian trail—which is barely two miles away—with my dog, Mikko, which helps me put things together. I used to have to be absolutely alone to draft, but not anymore. First, I like the kids’ chatter, the disruptions, and I like taking my time. Writing is part of life, not a substitute. I hand-write, then I type.

--Plotter or pantser

Both, really. The first time the Pantser thing happened, I was amazed. It felt like magic. The legendary muse, as my agent once said. I thought he was out of his mind. Sure, the muse visits once in a while, but it’s mostly hard work. Shock Top helps a lot, too, one and a half, no more, and Finnish metal music. My favorite bands are Ghost Brigade, Insomnium, Wolfheart, and Swallow The sun. It’s as vast and brilliant as a Beethoven Symphony, thunderous but melodic, the perfect emotional outlet. And then, frozen expanses, Nordic lakes, white forests, it’s land’s end, after all.

--What am I working on now

A novel centered around the federal entrapment of a young teacher. I have been teaching for 13 years, and have a deep emotional connection with my special education students. And it’s political! Expressing political opinion in school is forbidden—really forbidden. Besides, the likes of me are pretty much underground. We recognize each other like Christians in Rome, with a glance and a rolling of the eyes. So being able to write the ins and outs of oppression in the public schools world, coupled with a the building of a fake terror plot by a branch of the federal government no one in their right mind should trust, was a bit of a catharsis for me. You will love it or hate it, depending on your allegiances, and who cares? It’s not meant to be commercial.

--long-term plans for my career

I’m going to keep teaching and keep writing. They balance each other.

--Advice to unpublished authors

Discard any idea that worms itself into the narrative because it might help sell the book. No gratuitous sex, no gratuitous violence, no easy, voyeuristic scene that is devoid of purpose. If you sacrifice pleasure and dignity for commercial gain, you will get neither.

--Share something that would shock readers

While I have reinvented myself as a dedicated wife and mother, a passionate teacher of students with severe and multiple disabilities, who relaxes with gardening and hiking with the dogs, I was pretty much the opposite until mid-life. People are invariably surprised about my death metal taste, of course, and I can read the disbelief on their face when I tell them I travelled through the Kheiber Pass with Taliban fighters (I didn’t know who they were, I swear!), or went to a Voodoo ceremony in Haiti (the driver got possessed, it was awesome). 

For the rest, I dare not say. The novel I could write, had I not become Christian thanks to my husband, would be banned from public libraries.


This is the part when marc pays a midnight visit to Alix to confront her about drowning a Nazi officer—without his authorization.
“Is that mint?” Marc asked. “At home, we mix it up with heather and those little blue flowers. I think they were called…”
“I only like mint.”
“Nothing wrong with mint.” He waited for her to say something else, something that would ease the tension he felt in the room, but she remained silent. She must be a little shaken, he thought. That’s understandable. “Were you able to get rid of the body?” he asked gently.
“Yes. Why are you here?”
He went up to the little window and lit a cigarette before answering. There was no mistaking the animosity in her tone. I have to fix her fuck-up, and she’s angry? At me? He sucked the smoke deeply into his lungs. “You know exactly why I’m here. What you did today will impact—and possibly kill—many people. It will help if we don’t argue about it.”
“You’re the one who’s mad. I can see it.”
“I’m not very happy, but that’s not the point.”
 “Don’t you ever sleep at night?”
 “Not much. It’s easier to hike in the dark. You can’t see the incline, you can always pretend that it’s flat. What about you? Having nightmares?”
 “Not at all,” she lied. “I would do it again.”
“Ah. The Ice Fairy. I remember.” He could feel a headache coming. “Next time I have a hit job, I’ll make sure to ask you first. At least you’re not wasting bullets.” He had gone to the hidden phone and was checking its functioning as he spoke. “What’s your next project? Anyone in mind?”
“Maybe,” she shrugged. “Do you want to know who it is?”

No, not really, he thought. He couldn’t ease the suspicion that he might be on her revenge list. She had once said that she didn’t hate him, but who could trust her? Maybe she had planned something terrible, like cooking him in the sawmill kiln. He almost made a joke of it, and thought better. She never understood his jokes, anyway. “You owe me an explanation,” he said instead. “I don’t remember asking you to murder a Nazi officer. You want to tell me why you didn’t discuss it with me?”

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey, Author



Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed getting to know your book and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing the great post!

katieoscarlet said...

I've always been fascinated by the event surrounding WW2. Thanks.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Julie Lynn Bickham said...

I like the artwork on the cover.

Bernie Wallace said...

Sounds like a good book. How long did it take you to write it? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Bernie Wallace said...

Do you have any ideas for your next book? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Marcy Meyer said...

Great interview. Enjoyed reading it. Sounds like a good read.

Bernie Wallace said...

Are any of the charachters in the book based on real people? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Deb PelletierC said...

The book sounds interesting , thanks.