by Rob Currie
GENRE: MG Historical Fiction
It’s the Netherlands in late 1944. Thirteen-year-old Dirk’s Papa left to fight with the Resistance. Then Mama died. When the Gestapo snatched his older sister and he learned they were coming for him next, Dirk left home in the middle of the night. He had his pockets stuffed with food, his little sister asleep in his arms, and his heart heavy with a dark secret.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Dirk Ingelse’s eyes flew open, and he raised his head off the pillow. Who could be knocking on the front door? Gestapo? His insides turned to ice.
The pounding resumed, the sound carrying easily up the stairs into Dirk’s bedroom. It didn’t sound like the rap of knuckles—it was more like the thumping of an angry fist. Or the butt of a rifle.
It had to be the Gestapo. They had been doing more raids lately, and they often came at night. Who else would pummel the front door of the Ingelse’s farmhouse in the middle of the night and risk getting arrested?
Dirk rolled out of bed and crept to his bedroom window. Easing the curtain open a bit, he kept his face away from the window, like Papa had taught him. He couldn’t see a vehicle. But what if they hid their car? Dirk’s right hand shook.
He couldn’t hide. They would tear the place apart to find him. And he couldn’t run—they would have the place surrounded. He’d heard stories. His right hand shook harder. It had been doing that a lot ever since—
The assault on the door resumed, even louder this time. “Open up!” growled a deep voice.
Dirk turned from the window and crept down the stairs.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Life conspired to get Rob Currie to write Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel. His father is a World War II veteran and his wife is Dutch. An award-winning author, it was only a matter of time before he would focus his writing on World War II. Research for Hunger Winter included numerous books, interviews with Dutch WWII survivors, and three weeks in the Netherlands. His investigation revealed astonishing details about the Dutch experience of the war, which begged to be turned into a book.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, he graduated from Cornerstone University and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from St. Louis University. He has taught psychology at Judson University since 1987. His hobbies include playing basketball, cooking, and writing poetry.
Author Web Site: www.robcurrieauthor.com
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a midwestern guy, born and raised in Michigan, college in Michigan, and grad school in St. Louis. Go Billikens! Now I live in the Chicago area. My full-time job is a professor of psychology at Judson University, and in the summers, I use my lighter schedule to write, write, write. Glorious.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
My son, in seventh grade at the time, dashed off a short story about World War II. It was pretty good, and I decided to write a full-length novel based on it. His story was three pages long and Hunger Winter is over 200 pages, but a lot of the original elements from his story are still present in the completed version.
How do you create your characters?
It may sound strange, but I don’t create them as much as I discover them. I learn who they are as I spend more time thinking and writing about them, just like I gradually get to know a new neighbor. J.K. Rowling has explained that her Harry Potter series began with a vision of a skinny boy who wore glasses. The more she thought and wrote, the better she got to know him.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I am passionate about encouraging kids to read. And the feedback from readers is that it’s happening! A girl read Hunger Winter and said she never thought she’d be interested in WWII but now she is. A boy got Hunger Winter and finished reading it in two days. I heard about a single mom who’s enjoying reading the book with her son. Bonding time! A guy in his late 50’s read it and said it’s the first book he’s read all the way through since college.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I need vigorous exercise each day, lots of water to drink, and instrumental music. Exercise pumps oxygen to my brain, drinking water (80-100 ounces per day) focuses my concentration, as does listening to music (thank you, internet).
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I read a lot of nonfiction on World War II to uncover poignant incidents to work into my story. In my story, a woman got arrested for naming her pig “Hitler,” That actually happened. Another character in Hunger Winter had to eat dog food to survive. I took that from the life of movie star Audrie Hepburn, who lived through WWII in the Netherlands as a teenager.
Reading rich historical accounts is like buying Farmer’s Market fresh produce picked. You select the juiciest fruit, the crispest vegetables, and the tangiest spices because those ingredients make a delicious meal. Similarly, the better the historical ingredients which I stir into my story, the tastier the finished book.
What do you like to read?
I read what I write—books for kids because I love those books and because that’s necessary for me to produce a good story. Just like a vigorous garden that pumps out tasty vegetables requires enriched soil, a good story springs from a mind fertilized by rich stories from other authors. Bits and pieces of other authors’ styles then work their way, subtly but significantly, into my books. Right now, I’m relishing reading Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen.
What is your advice for authors or those aspiring to get published?
Go to a writers’ conference to learn how to get published and to make contacts. I learned how to restyle my writing and I met my agent at a writers’ conference.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The Corrie ten Boom House Foundation runs a WWII museum in the Netherlands, which is where Hunger Winter is set. They wrote:
“I read this book with great interest. I would love to encourage everyone to read this book. Hunger Winter succeeds in describing a very realistic picture of the situation in the Netherlands when the country was in a very difficult time.”
“This is a fine book! Bravo to author Rob Currie. I loved it all—every word and every layer.”
Louise Borden, Author of Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography
One more thing: Half of the author’s royalties go to Compassion International, a charity which gives food to hungry children around the world. Due to the strong response to Hunger Winter, so far over $3,000 has been donated since the book’s release in early March.
Author website: www.robcurrieauthor.com
Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/yc73xnjw
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Rob Currie will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.