Author, Spotlight

My Dearest Dietrich with Amanda Barratt q&a

Hello, reader friends! Join me in welcoming author friend Amanda Barratt for a little chat and giveaway celebrating My Dearest Dietrich! I’m eager to read this book and delighted to have Amanda drop by for a visit!

about the author

ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. Her novel My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love, released from Kregel Publications in June 2019.

She’s also the author of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey, as well as seven novellas with Barbour Publishing. Two of her novellas have been finalists in the FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.

Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.

Connect with her on Facebook and visit her website!

 

q&a

Describe My Dearest Dietrich in five words.

A: Poignant, romantic, thoughtful, dramatic, heartbreaking.

B: No! Amanda, don’t break my heart!

Share your inspiration behind My Dearest Dietrich.

A: The first time I heard Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story, I was sitting around the dinner table, and my mom was sharing about the book she was currently reading, Eric Metaxas’s Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness. I was fascinated by the story of a pastor and theologian who stood boldly against the Nazi regime—a German pastor, no less.

A few months later, I came across a quote from Love Letters from Cell 92, the book containing Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maria von Wedemeyer’s correspondence. Instantly, a question begged to be answered: What kind of a woman would capture the heart of a man like Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

Time went by, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this remarkable love story, and wondering why it had never been told in narrative form. I’ve heard it said, “If you can’t find the book you want to read, write it.” After a lot of prayer, I decided to do just that.

B: I’m so glad you did!

What are some of the challenges you faced while writing My Dearest Dietrich?

A: At the beginning of the research process, I was confronted with a flood of opinions and conjectures that have been pinned on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work, life, and even his relationship with Maria. I felt a great responsibility to portray their lives and their love story as truthfully as I could, and that meant getting to the heart of who they were as individuals, as Christians, and as a couple.

Sometimes it felt like picking through a massive pile of sand to extract the diamonds. Ultimately, I wanted to understand the story through their eyes, and so I spent hours studying the letters they wrote to each other, excerpts from Maria’s diary, the volumes of letters, sermons, poems, and theological works that comprise the Bonhoeffer canon. Those, along with reliable biographies, interviews, and historical texts, provided the backbone of the novel.

Another challenge I faced was quite literally, a language barrier. Though I’ve learned some basic German since I wasn’t familiar enough with the language to sit down and read it. Thankfully, all primary source materials have been translated into English, and when I came across a book only available in German, a wonderful friend who’d spent several years in Austria offered to read it to me over Skype. A nine-hour Skype call later, I had pages of notes and the inspiration for the final scene in My Dearest Dietrich.

B: That’s a lot of hurdles! 

What did you learn or discover about Dietrich Bonhoeffer while writing My Dearest Dietrich?

A: I loved discovering him, not only as an author, pastor, theologian, and man of resistance, but as a very human, even flawed, man. It’s a temptation to consign heroes of faith to a pedestal, but in many ways, that makes them distant and unrelatable. The man I discovered lived out costly discipleship and served God with all his heart, but he was also as human as the rest of us. A man who struggled with raw emotions of fear and uncertainty, who fell in love at the most unlikely time in his life, and who fought falling in love. In the end, that was the Dietrich Bonhoeffer who became most real to me, the whole person, not a cardboard cutout labeled “brilliant theologian and martyr.”

B: This is one of my favorite aspects of historical fiction, the way historical figures truly become real to us as readers.

What books are you reading right now?

A: I’ve been savoring Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes, and can’t recommend it highly enough! It’s a novel brimming with unforgettable characters, seaside secrets, and profound truths.

Next, I’m looking forward to Becky Wade’s Sweet on You, Rachel McMillan’s Murder in the City of Liberty, and Cathy Gohlke’s The Medallion. Summer 2019 is making my TBR pile very happy indeed!

B: I couldn’t agree more! 

What’s your reading style?

A: Print books all the way! Only rarely will I read an e-book, and it’s usually because the book is unavailable in print. As for routine…over the past couple of years I’ve started reading for fifteen minutes or half an hour before bed. During busy seasons, this is usually my only reading time, and I love a lazy Sunday afternoon or long weekend when I can sit and read for hours. Bliss!

B: Even though I read all formats, there’s something special about print!

What’s your writing style?

A: With My Dearest Dietrich, I spent almost as much time researching as I did writing, so while working on the first draft my desk was covered with STACKS of books I referenced frequently during almost every scene. Because the timeline of this story was already set, I didn’t have to do as much plotting, though I did sit down and think about the major players in the novel as I would for a fictional story, figuring out their character arcs, personalities, etc.

I tend to be a mix between a pantser and plotter. I outline, but leave room for unexpected twists and for the characters to surprise me. I love every part of the writing process—from research, to outlining, to the first draft, to editing. Every stage reveals a different layer, and though they all have their ups and downs, they’re all a pivotal piece in the puzzle.

B: I love it when characters go rogue!

Do you have any writing quirks?

A: Though this may make me sound like a demanding artistic type, I do my best writing when it’s absolutely quiet. My desk is located in the upstairs loft of our home, so that level of quiet is usually hard to achieve. Over the years, I’ve become better at blocking out background noise with music, though I still love the rare times when I’m home alone and can work in silence to my heart’s content.

B: There’s nothing like a little peace and quiet when you’re trying to work! Thank you for taking the time to share a little bit of this story with us, Amanda! I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

about the book

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison…

Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

goodreads | amazon | bookdepository | christianbook | bookbub

 

tour giveaway

Thanks to the generosity of the author, one fortunate Faithfully Bookish reader friend will win a print copy of My Dearest Dietrich.

US only | ends 6/6 | giveaway policy

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Reader friends, I hope y’all join me in reading My Dearest Dietrich!
Tell me what aspect of historical fiction most appeals to you.
Are you a fan? why or why not?

43 thoughts on “My Dearest Dietrich with Amanda Barratt q&a”

  1. Oh I cannot wait to dive into my copy of this book!! Historical books are my escape from the real world of today. No social media (well, unless I’m sharing about them lol), no teenage issues like we have today, just a place where my heart wishes I could be. Yes, they had their problems of course, but it’s different, you know!?

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    1. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy has been in my TBR pile. This book will go great alongside it. Thank you, Amanda for taking the time with so much research, and digging into his whole story!!

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      1. I love Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer! It’s so well-worth the read. And thank you so much for your kind words, Becky! Researching this story was truly incredible!

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      2. Smart! Kind of like a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down (well, I’m not a nonfiction fan so maybe that’s just me, lol)!

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    2. Oh, I love this, Jessica! And totally agree! Historical stories are a wonderful escape, as well as a great way to understand the past. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

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  2. I have always enjoyed historical fiction, as it is a go-to favorite. I am an avid reader who enjoys history in general, and one of my hobbies along with reading is doing family genealogy. Thank you for the interesting update on this new release.

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  3. I have always found history fascinating. Reading it in a novel just makes it more real. It helps me to visualize people and places.

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  4. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I love getting a chance to live in and experience another time and culture through the pages of a book. It makes the past come alive and also makes it more relevant to today.

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. I’m always curious about real life historical figures and the people in their backgrounds loving and supporting them. As they say, “no man is an island.”

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    1. Love this! It’s always a joy to read a story where the past leaps from the page and into the imagination of the reader! So thrilled you’re excited to read My Dearest Dietrich! Thank you! 🙂

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  5. One of the reasons I love historical fiction so much is that it takes historical times and people, events and experiences and humanises them through the details of characters we can step into their lives with and witness with them their everyday experiences and the times they inhabited. I love how detailed and rich historical fiction can be and often inspires me to investigate further a historical era or historical character. It is quite inspiring!

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  6. I really enjoy reading historical fiction. It gives you a way to visit the past – to see how it was to live then – through the pages of the book. It was a simpler way of life but often much harder showing us how fortunate we are in some ways but lacking in others. By reading stories with setting in the past, maybe we can learn from their mistakes and learn to take advantage of the advances without forgetting the important things like family, honor and faith.

    I would love the opportunity to read “My Dearest Dietrich” and I greatly appreciate the chance to win a copy.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  7. I love historical fiction and so appreciate authors who do the research so the facts are correct. It’s a great way to learn more about history. My Dearest Dietrich sounds like a book my book club would enjoy so I may have to recommend we read and discuss it. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Pam! Book clubs are amazing! On my website http://www.amandabarratt.net, I actually have a free downloadable guide especially for book clubs! It includes discussion questions, a recipe, a Q&A with me, and much more. Plus, I’m offering the opportunity for book clubs to Skype with me as part of their discussion time!

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  8. Oh wow! The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it. I love well-written historical fiction because it brings dimension to people and places that always seem kind of ‘flat’ to me in non-fiction. I’ve read many writings of Bonhoeffer’s and always admired him.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy. 🙂

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    1. I love that you’re a reader of Bonhoeffer, Anne! He’s an incredible writer! And I love it when historical fiction brings new dimensions. Fiction has a special way of bringing stories and people to life!

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  9. I saw part of a PBS on Dietrich years ago about him being in jail and hanged by the Nazi’s. Very moving story!

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  10. I love learning things while reading historical fiction. I am a Lutheran so am aware of Bonhoeffer. I have loved historical things since my mother planned vacations when we visited my father’s hometown near Gettysburg.

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    1. Hi Paula, Love that you’re familiar with Bonhoeffer’s story! And Gettysburg is so fascinating! I’ve always wanted to visit there.

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  11. I really do enjoy historical fiction because I always learn a little bit. It’s so mich more interesting than history class!

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