Today’s special guest is historical novelist Jean Gallant Marcoux chatting with me about his new WWII romance, Our Time Will Come, war, separation, and a daring attempt to reunite.
During his virtual book tour, Jean will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Jean Gallant Marcoux was born in Quebec City Canada, where he earned an MD degree from Laval University. As a board-certified allergist, he practiced in Quebec City from 1970 to 1977 after which he continued his career in Houston Texas until his retirement in 2007.
Passionate for history, he has published articles for historical society magazines in his native Quebec. This is his debut novel. Dr. Marcoux lives in Houston with his family.
Please share a bit about your current release.
After a year in Paris studying painting at l’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Hélène Simard returns home to Québec City in 1939 with a secret. She has a German fiancé. She can conceal his identity but not the baby she carries. Hans Werner, her lover, was drafted in the German army, and his dreams of ever reuniting with Hélène are shattered with WWII escalating. In 1942, a bold opportunity arises for him to cross the Atlantic. Hounded by the Canadian police and Nazi assassins, the lovers’ hope for a new life together becomes intertwined with a plot to kill Winston Churchill.
What inspired you to write this book?
Years ago, I learned about the two WWII Québec Conferences of 1943 and 1944, where President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and their military advisers met in Québec City, my hometown, to make plans for D-Day. I even saw newspaper pictures of Churchill touring the city in an open-convertible limousine. At one point, the limo stopped in front of City Hall, and Churchill stood in the car to salute the dignitaries and the immense cheering crowd filling the street. I wondered why the Nazis didn’t use the opportunity to assassinate the British Prime Minister. Or did they try?
Once I retired from practicing medicine, I planned to write a spy novel on the subject, and I read all I could find about the events occurring in Europe and in Québec, just before and during WWII. I also read online, French and Canadian newspapers of the era.
I soon realized that a typical story of a Nazi spy coming by U-boat from Europe to assassinate Churchill during the Québec Conference, didn’t make historical sense. The planning of the Conference was kept secret almost until the day it started, and Churchill was NOT supposed to be exposed to the public. It’s only the Prime Minister’s daredevil nature, coupled with daily hordes of Quebecers in front of the Chateau Frontenac hotel clamoring for Churchill, that produced the last-minute decision of the open-convertible tour.
My spy novel became a love story, and I’m glad it did, because “Our Time Will Come” is a story that fans of historical novels should enjoy, as it explores a Canadian angle on WWII. Romance being a central theme of the book, it should also satisfy readers of that genre.
Excerpt from Our Time Will Come, war, separation and a daring attempt to reunite:
Paris, May 19, 1939: 4:00 A.M.
It was dark outside. Hélène was in Hans’s small furnished apartment, in his bed, crying silently. Her love, her lover, the man she wanted to be with for as long as she lived, was leaving for Germany. They said the war was possible and Germany was calling its men to serve. Hans letter had come after Hans had called his mother to inquire about its arrival. When she said she had received it, he asked her to forward it to him in Paris. At first Hélène could not believe it was true.
“There must be some mistake; this is not you they are calling. It must be someone else.”
He took her in his arms and said, “It is me. This letter was expected, and as hard as it is for me to be away from you, I must go. Hopefully, this war will be over in a few months, and as soon as I am discharged, I will come to you in Québec. We will never be apart again.”
Why did you sign up for the military? You’re an artist, not a warrior,” she said with a flare of anger in her voice. “Why, why, why?” she yelled, pulling away from his arms. Her hands involuntarily formed fists and her eyes filled with tears.
He pulled her back to him and said, “I was drafted; I had no choice.”
“I have a plan,” Hélène said, regaining some of her poise. “Let’s leave now. In a day or two, we can be on a ship to New York, Halifax, or Québec. The Germans will never find you in Québec. We will get married and be together forever.”
Hans took her hand and led her to the kitchen table where they both sat down.
“Darling,” he said, “I must serve my country. I saw my father come back from the war, in 1918, as a crippled man. He was gassed in the trenches and the last years of his life were a long agony. He was always out of breath, coughing and spitting. He could only sleep for a few minutes at a time, until the next coughing spell. When he learned of the conditions imposed on Germany at the Versailles Treaty, he wept and told me Germany had surrendered without having fought on its territory. We were not invaded, but betrayed; we were stabbed in the back by our leaders, under pressure from the French, British, and Americans.”
“Despite my young age,” Hans continued, “I understood my father suffered for years, dying little by little, for a cause he believed in. His suffering and death were in vain. I see this new war as a chance to defend the honour of my father and all those who fought for Germany and died for nothing.
He stood, took her in his arms, kissed her, and said, “I don’t want to leave you, but I have to go, I must go. I promise you I will do all I can to get back to you as soon as possible. Our time will come.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently writing a sequel to Our Time Will Come, occurring the following year, 1944, during the second Québec Conference. Once again, the Nazis try to blackmail Hans Werner into killing Churchill, this time by kidnapping his and Hélène’s 5-year-old son.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first held in my hand a copy of Our Time Will Come, my first published novel.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Since I retired from practicing medicine, I have no other gainful occupation. However, I do not write every day. My wife and I enjoy traveling, (before COVID-19) playing golf, and spending time with our grand-children. I read all the time, fiction and non-fiction books which help fashion my own writing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I tend to let my characters go where they want. Once I started a short story about Edmond. Halfway thought, a minor character Gabriel, took over. At the end, it became Gabriel’s story, where Edmond was not even mentioned.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Long ago, when I was a child, doctors did house calls. One day, my grandfather, who lived with us, got sick, and my parents were visibly worried. The doctor came, spent a few minutes in grandpa’s bedroom, came out and declared, “it’s just a bad cold, he’ll be back to normal in a few days.” Immediately, my parents were relieved. I decided then, I wanted to be a doctor, and help people feel better. That’s why I became a physician.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
All writers love to hear from their readers, and find out what they liked, or didn’t like about their books, and answer any question they might have. Do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for being here today.
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