Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blog Tour: Love Finds You in Victory Heights (Interview & Review)

What happens when you add a factory gal with a slightly pushy, but well-meaning reporter? A match made in "heaven," or actually, Victory Heights, to be exact.

That's the premise behind the newest novel by the writing team of Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss - Love Finds You in Victory Heights. 

Set during World War II, the book focuses on life on the "homefront" of Seattle, Washington. It captures the adventures of Rosalie, a small town girl who spends her days "shooting" rivets into B-17 bombers, and Kenny, a reporter who longs to break big stories, but is stuck writing features.

When Kenny dubs Rosalie "Seattle's Own Rosie the Riveter,” the pair are thrown together in unexpected ways.

"I knew I wanted to write a Rosie the Riveter book," .Goyer said. "There are many places the Rosies worked, but since I was most familiar with Seattle (and Ocieanna lives there) we picked that!"

In the novel, Rosalie works on the B-17's in a Boeing plant, hidden in part by trees and houses - a fact pulled directly from the history books. (Want to see pictures of the real plant, click here: http://www.taphilo.com/history/WWII/USAAF/Boeing/index.shtml)

"I love the idea of women doing unique jobs ... but it was even more intriguing for Rosie because before WWII most women did not work outside the home." Goyer explained. "During the war they were needed not only from 9 - 5 p.m., but to do scrap metal drives and write letters to the troops, and to serve food at USO clubs. Rosie did all that and more!"

Goyer said she loved developing a character with Rosie's spunk.

"Sometimes the stuff that zinged out of her mouth cracked me up!" Goyer said. "I also liked her emotional struggles ... as strange as that is. I believe it showed the complexity of war."

While there wasn't actually a "Seattle's own Rosie," Goyer and Fleiss crafted their main character on other Rosies, who did appear in WWII histories.

"We hope readers will come away amazed by these women and wanting to honor them in their own way," Goyer explained.

Goyer said the choice to make the main male character a reporter, rather than a soldier, was a deliberate decision. 

"During the war 'every' able-bodied man was away from war," Goyer explained. "There were veterans I interviewed who had deferments, because they were needed on the homefront, but most of them ended up signing up and going overseas anyway.

"It really bothered these men that they weren't overseas fighting. We thought it would be interesting to have a main character who struggled with these issues."

History Meets Fiction
Woven among the fictional aspects of the novel, Goyer and Fleiss placed several true accounts including, Victory Square, contracted non-military workers and the macaroni man.

"All my novels are based on historical fact," Goyer said. "I think it's very important for novelists to stay as true-to-history as possible.

"If something happens in my novels, I want it to have happened in history. I love this because readers coming away learning something. Yes, they fall in love with the characters and get swept away with their story, but I want them to feel more knowledgeable too!"

Victory Square
According to www.historylink.org, Victory Square was dedicated on May 2, 1942 as a civic focal point for Seattle's World War II homefront. It was located on University Street, between fourth and fifth avenues, in the front of Olympic Hotel. Victory Square was home to rallies, bond drives and a monument that lists the names of Washington state citizens who lost their loves during the war. Want to read more? Click here: http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=2873

Non-Military Contract Workers
One of the characters, a friend of Kenny, was wounded overseas while working for a contracted ambulance company that wasn't part of the military. Because of this, he struggled to get the healthcare he needed.

"We learned of this situation from Georgie Kunkel, a real-life Rosie that we interviewed," Goyer said. "Her husband worked for the ambulance company, and never received the same honors as the military, although he risked his life retrieving wounded soldiers from the frontlines."

 Macaroni-Man Story
In the story, Kenny is assigned to cover a story about Mr. Merlino, a Seattle macaroni manufacturer, who son was stationed at the POW prison in Texas.

At the POW prison, he "stumbled across his cousin, Mr. Merlino’s nephew, at the facility," Goyer said, referring to From The War Years by James Warren. "The nephew, recruited into the Italian army, was captured by the allies. Two cousins on opposite sides ended up meeting in Texas. Apparently the boy from Italy liked the American prison so much, he hoped to stay in the States after the war."

Other Historial Facts Woven Into Fiction
*Helen Keller and Teddy Roosevelt really did visit the Boeing plant to encourage the woman who worked in the plant.

*Lana Turner showed up in rallies in Seattle during the war.

*Roosevelt's son-in-law took over the newspaper in Seattle during the war.  

"Lana Turner and other Hollywood stars were AMAZING during the way," Goyer said. "They traveled around and did their part, too. It was fun to have them join in."

Working Together
This is the second novel created by Fleiss and Goyer. Their first Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, was released in 2009.

"Ocieanna has been a blessing to me for many years," Goyer said. "I met her at a Mt. Hermon Writers Conference and she read/edited my books for many years before I sent them into my editor.

"After having her edit my stuff for years I thought, Hey, we should do something together. She did the rough draft and I edited it, rewrote sections, and added research."

Goyer and Fleiss are already working on their next novel, a contemporary story with a historical twist.

What I Thought
I really liked this book. Not only was it a fun read, but it challenged me to dive into history to see what was "real" vs fiction.

It also made me want to read more about the real-life Rosies, so I guess Goyer really accomplished her goal - she made at least one reader want to talk to other Rosies.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Goyer and Fleiss come up with next!

About The Authors
Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is the author of 24 books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003.

Goyer's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Goyer is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions.  She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.Wan tmore info? Visit: www.triciagoyer.com

Ocienna Fleiss Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Fleiss on Facebook or her history blog or her mommy blog.

Online Resources
Want to read more about Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie? Click here!
Read my review and interview for Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Here.
Want to see what others thought of Love Finds You in Victory Heights? Click here!

Buy the Book
Click here

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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