New interview with YA historical author Annette Oppenlander

I’m happy to welcome Annette Oppenlander back to Reviews
and Interviews. Today we’re chatting about the second book in her historical YA
action/adventure trilogy, Escape from the
Past: The Kid.

You can check out the
about book 1, Escape from
the Past: The Duke’s Wrath.
During this virtual book
tour, Annette will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s
choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance
to win, use the form below. To
increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for
young adults and anyone who loves stories set in the past. When she isn’t in
front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around
the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes
history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no
longer a number, it turns into a story.”
Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Annette.
Thank you for hosting me
again, Lisa!
Please tell us about your newest release.
In The Kid, book two in the Escape from the Past trilogy,
time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval
Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico. Before Billy
the Kid can help, Max is taken prisoner by ruthless bandits who think he has a
claim for a goldmine. He also meets a beautiful American Indian girl…Well, I
don’t want to give away the story.
What inspired you to write this book?
Growing up in Germany,
I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I remember watching westerns
with my father and reading books about pioneers, American Indians and the gold
rush. After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in
the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.
I chose Billy the Kid
because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck
and was basically set up to fail. He isn’t much older than Max and it’s easy to
see how any young man could’ve had Billy’s fate. The second important character
is Chief Nana, A Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a
3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army. He was never caught nor were
his fifteen or so warriors. The amazing thing about him was his age. He was
around eighty years old then and had a bad leg.
Excerpt from Escape
from the Past: The Kid
From my higher vantage point
I noticed a dust cloud growing rapidly larger. And from it grew an apparition
of terror as I’d never seen.
Two dozen Indians galloped
toward us, fanned out like the tip of an arrow. They rode bareback, their faces
painted black, red and white, their long oiled hair flowing behind them. They
wore leather pants with loin clothes and nothing but beads and feathers around
their necks.
“Indians,” I mumbled. I
hadn’t even realized I said something except that Wade whipped around and
followed my gaze.
“Injuns, Boss,” he shouted.
“Looks like Comanches.” He ripped his gun from the saddle holster, the other
men following suit.
The next moments were a
blur. I felt myself slide off the donkey and race to the wagons for cover. The
settlers were scrambling underneath, getting in position. The girl raced to
grab the two little kids and shove them under the wagon.
I watched in fascination. As
if time had slowed to a crawl, the Indians, shrouded in a dust cloud, drew
near. Their faces looked hideous with the war paint, but their cries were what
made me tremble with terror. It sounded like something out of this world, eerie
whoops that curdled my blood.
I had no weapons. Even if
I’d had any, my body was stiff with panic.
What’s the next writing project?
I just finished the third
book in the trilogy, Escape from the
Past: At Witches’ End
which takes Max back to the Middle Ages. The manuscript
is currently in editing at the publisher. My current writing project is a story
about two teens growing up during WW2 in Germany. It’s a love story based on my
family, but it is ultimately a story of forgiveness.
What is your biggest challenge when writing a new
book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
The biggest challenge with
this new book set in wartime and postwar Germany is that I know the characters.
It’s quite emotional for me to write about my parents who went through hell and
barely survived the war. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me twelve years to write
their story.
If your novels require research – please talk about
the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing,
after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I do a lot of research up
front to get a good feel for the era my story is set in. I’ve got to understand
the lifestyle of people, their daily habits, the landscape, food, jobs, the way
they look at the world. I read several books before I start and research
libraries and archives.
While writing I continue
to research because I always come across questions along the way. For instance
what does a pair of nylon stockings cost in postwar 1952 Germany? Between six
and twelve Deutsch Marks, a fortune, considering that my twenty-year old mother
only made DM100 a month.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a
particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about

My primary writing space
is my office. I’m fortunate to have a nice large room and spend most of my time
there. On occasion when my back aches or I need a change of scenery I move to
the couch. I work with two laptops so I’ve got my big one for the desk and a
little Mac for the sofa.
What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside
of your genre?
In historical fiction I
love James Alexander Thom who has written a number of books set during the 19th
century. My favorite is Follow the River.
I’ve read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” many times because I never grow
tired of this sweeping tale. Regarding craft, I love Don Maass’s books. They’re
all good and if everyone followed his advice, we’d have many more bestselling
books. I also enjoy Sarah Waters, Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling. Actually, I
could go on for a while…
Anything additional you want to share with the
readers today?
Something that readers and
reviewers have told me is that my stories appeal to reluctant readers,
particularly teen boys who love action/adventure. The first book in the series,
Escape from the Past: The Duke’s Wrath
has been highly recommended for school and library collections by the Midwest
Book Review. Reviews are beginning to trickle in for The Kid so stay tuned.
Buy links:
Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thank you for having me,

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15 thoughts on “New interview with YA historical author Annette Oppenlander

  1. Annette Oppenlander says:

    Hello Mai, I've been thinking about your question, but have to say that I'm not coming up with a good answer. There are characters in books that may carry a trait I possess. However, I'm not as heroic as most protagonists. I just happen to write books for a living. And while I'm somewhat adventurous and headstrong, most books take their characters a lot farther.

  2. Ally Swanson says:

    Great post! I enjoyed reading the excerpt and the interview. This book series sounds quite interesting. Looking forward to checking out these books!

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