Posted on May 16, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing the co-authors of a new World War II historical fiction novel.
Marcus Brotherton is a New York Times bestselling author and coauthor dedicated to writing books that inspire heroics, promote empathy, and encourage noble living.
Notable nonfiction books include Shifty’s War, Blaze of Light, A Bright and Blinding Sun, A Company of Heroes, and We Who Are Alive & Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers.
Tosca Lee is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels—historical, thriller, and speculative—including The Line Between, A Single Light, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and The Long March Home with New York Times bestselling author Marcus Brotherton.
SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?
MARCUS: My father was a minister and my mother was a journalist. So I grew up with a dual influence of loving words and being encouraged to think big thoughts about the universe.
I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter, then gradually transitioned to books. Books offered the big blank canvas I was looking for, where readers could be led on a journey of immersion and discovery.
TOSCA: Despite writing a lot growing up and even winning awards for it, my early dreams and first professional aspiration as a young person was to become a professional ballerina.
I spent all of my time toward that end until an injury basically made that dream a much more distant possibility. So off to college I went.
It was during my freshman year that I first decided to take a stab at writing a novel—an epic historical tome about the Neolithic people of Stonehenge.
It was pretty much a disaster, but an offhanded comment in a rejection letter from Writers House that it was reminiscent of Clan of the Cave Bear (one of my favorite novels growing up) was all the encouragement I needed to keep trying!
SADYE: Tell us something about your writing process that’s unusual or that you haven’t revealed before.
MARCUS: I write on an old desk I found in the trash. Back when I was a reporter, I was freelancing on the side, and money was tight. I needed a desk for home but couldn’t afford one.
One evening, I spotted an old interior door that a neighbor was throwing away. I took it home and built a desk from it.
Every book I’ve published for the past 23 years has been written on it, so it’s become like a winning baseball glove. No way can I get a new one now.
TOSCA: I love to eat buttered popcorn while writing, but have you ever tried to type with greasy fingers?
But it’s a known fact that if you hold the bowl up and poke out your tongue a kernel at a time will stick to your tongue. Voila! Clean fingers.
Also, no one really wants to share your popcorn with you when you do that.
SADYE: Which of your characters would you most and least like to become romantically involved with?
TOSCA: Hank. Most because he’s the bad-boy friend and irresistible. But also least—Hank. For the same reasons.
MARCUS: Claire is the kind of woman all guys fall in love with, although they might not realize their affections at the start.
She starts out as a best friend. But then a guy takes a second look at her and says, “Whoa. She’s truly something else.”
We also feature a true-to-history female character in our book, Felipa Culala, commander of the Huks. She was a remarkable and fierce combat leader, but I don’t know who would’ve had the guts to date her.
U.S. guerilla Doyle Decker met her for real during World War II. He described her as “a gray-haired Filipina wearing two .45 pistols around her ample waist and carrying a Thompson submachine gun.”
The commander was known to roam her occupied homeland freely and wage her war in various clandestine ways.
SADYE: What period of history would you most like to travel back to / what historical figure would you most like to meet, and why?
TOSCA: I’ve written stories set 2,000 to 3,000 years ago and can honestly say any time period without contact lenses isn’t good for me.
MARCUS: Tosca once wrote a book set in the Garden of Eden. I mean, c’mon. Who wouldn’t want to go there.
SADYE: What has been the most touching or memorable piece of reader feedback you’ve received?
MARCUS: I’ve interviewed a lot of World War II veterans.
One veteran’s wife wrote to me after he’d passed, saying she believed the book I did with him brought a spark back to him and literally added an extra couple of years to his life. Brought tears to my eyes.
TOSCA: When a reader says something you’ve written changed their life, it doesn’t get much better than that.
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Categories: Author Interview