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When Love and Duty Collide: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Making of A Secret Courage
Posted on Apr 20, 2017 Topic : Fiction
American Emma Hanson comes to England to study at Oxford, but joins the Women's Auxiliary Air Force at the height of World War II as part of the highly secretive Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. Her path intersects with handsome Englishman Will Fleming, a handsome young artist whose assignment by the British government to record the changing landscape in paintings hides his real mission—tracking Nazi spies.
Author Tricia Goyer answers some great questions from her readers regarding her latest novel, A Secret Courage, a historical romance set in Britain against the backdrop of World War II.
How did you come up with ideas for the book?
At first I wanted to write about the American and British codebreakers in Bletchley Park during World War II. Even though this has been written about a number of times I still thought I could come up with an interesting story. Yet as I researched more about female roles in World War II I came upon a group of women who were just as interesting but had very little written about them. These were the photo investigators who worked at Danesfield House in Medmenham during World War II. They greatly impacted the war efforts, and Danesfield House, an estate near Henley-on-the-Thames, was the perfect setting for a World War II novel.
How do you come up with the perfect names for characters?
I often search for the most-popular names during the time when my characters were born. Since both of my main characters have a British background I also needed to make sure they weren’t American sounding names. Emma and Will were popular in both the States and Britain, and I just happen to love the names. It’s fun to see old-fashioned names also becoming popular today.
Have you ever been to London?
Yes! I was able to go to London a few years ago with my husband and oldest daughter. We went to the Imperial War Museum and The British Museum. We also were able to explore the city. One of my favorite things was sitting in a very ordinary pub having lunch and watching how the locals interacted. My second favorite time was exploring an old bookshop. There were numerous times during the writing of this book that I just closed my eyes and I was transported back to London. I wish it were as easy to go there for real!
What made you choose this time period?
I am fascinated by World War II. The tasks of ordinary people who risked so much to fight against evil amazes me. Besides that, I’ve been able to interview dozens and dozens of men and women, hearing their experiences during the war. So many who I’ve interviewed are gone now. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Did you find that people who served in WWII were hesitant to share their stories or were they willing to share?
I’ve found people who are both hesitant and those who are willing. My grandfather was a WWII veteran, yet I rarely heard him tell any stories. Yet I’ve talked to other veterans who shared their experiences freely. I am thankful for those who’ve shared, but I understand those who find it hard. No matter if they shared or not, I am thankful for their service!
As Emma and Will's relationship grows amid their secrecy, can Will save Emma and the rest of her unit before it's too late?