Welcome to the first in my series in which I will introduce you to a few of my beloved works in progress, particularly the ones I haven’t talked about a lot around here. Week 1 I am going to tell you all about my beloved little novella which is affectionately known as Kameradschaft (German for “Comradeship”). Firstly, let’s talk about…
Kameradschaft…Comradeship… Two young men, from opposite sides of a war, are going to find out the meaning of those words.
Wolfe Verick’s life once consisted of working in a pharmacy, until all normality was stripped away and he was thrown headfirst into a war.
When an accident kills his best friend and leaves Wolfe stranded in a foreign land, he has no choice but to run, and hide and lie, to keep himself from the firing squad.
His life rests in the hands of three Englishmen—a cynical pilot, a weary doctor, and a beautiful nurse. And all of them must face the question:
Is Mercy greater than Justice?
I wrote the whole novel in this little, charming notebook, the cover of which doesn’t really match the inside contents :D. I believe this cute notebook was a birthday gift years ago. There’s not much else to say, about my small notebook, other than the actual novella, there aren’t any notes in it.
The original inspiration for Kameradschaft was an article I found online, when researching something or the other. It talked about rumours that English WW1 pilots rescued downed German pilots and helped them escape across the Channel, back into France.
The concept fascinated me. I didn’t know if it was true or not (I recently tried an extensive search for the said article, to read over it again and determine it’s authenticity, but came up empty handed), but it immediately sparked an idea. What those pilots were doing was treasonous, so why were they doing it?
And so was born a short story, told from the perspective of Wolfe Verick, a young German gunner, who is shot down over Dover and rescued by an Englishman. The short story came highly commended in a competition, and then was published in a Canadian online magazine, but I knew the idea hadn’t been full developed. How did my intrepid Englishman actually get Wolfe out of England?
The next spark came from my youngest brother, who was just starting to talk at the time. One time, he was trying to explain something to my mum and I, and got frustrated when we couldn’t understand him. I offhandedly remarked that it must be horribly frustrating not being able to communicate properly for a small child. My mum added that it would be even more frustrating for an adult not to be able to talk.
And it literally just came to me. I started writing that night, a novella based on the original short story, in which Wolfe Verick masquerades as a shell-shock patient in an English military hospital, unable to hear and unable to speak, without betraying himself as one of the enemy.
Genre: Historical fiction
POV: First person
Date Started: A long time ago. Some time in 2015, for the short story, and 2016, Septemberish, for the novella.
Date Finished: First draft was completed goodness knows when. Third draft still isn’t done.
Here, I provide you with random facts about this novella 😀
-Benjamin Simeon, the English pilot, is named after my brother, Simeon.
-When it was published in the Canadian E-zine jaBlog! It was not only published in the last issue before it became inactive, I was also published on the 27th July 2016. Wolfe goes missing on the 26th July 1916, and is found by Simeon on the 27th July 1916. To this day, I wonder if the editor published it on that day on purpose.
-Wolfe Verick is in the same German Jasta as Manfred Von Richthofen, the infamous Red Baron. Although I find the Red Baron an extremely interesting historical character, this was totally a coincidence.
-In one particular scene, I mentioned Wolfe hiding behind a flowering magnolia tree. When she read this, my mum gave me an odd look and I had to admit that I’d never seen a flowering magnolia tree and had no idea what it looked like.
Ben Simeon frowned at me, “I’ve known you all of ten minutes and I’m already finding you exasperating.”
After we’d been sitting there for about fifteen minutes, a door somewhere to my right opened and two people entered the room. One was a tall, spectacled man with black hair and a clean-shaven face. He wore a long, white coat, and looked worn and wearied, as if the weight of the world was resting on his shoulders.
But if the doctor was the picture of quiet defeat, the nurse that followed him was a symbol of the sun. Her dazzling smile lit the room, and I got the feeling that that smile was just as much a permanent part of her as the auburn-chestnut hair that was concealed beneath her white cowl and her sparky brown eyes.
“I’ll warrant there is not,” Dr Roberts said slowly. “What is your real name?” he frowned, then added, “Never mind. I’ll turn a blind eye and go along with your foolish plan. But—” he hesitated, “—are you a deserter?”
I could answer that. I shook my head, vehemently denying it. I was a lot of things—a liar, a fraud, a murderer maybe—but not a deserter.
“And you’re German,” he [Dr Roberts] whispered fiercely, “Deny it!”
My eyes widened as I processed his words. “No!” I protested, “Why don’t you turn me in? Then you’ll be a hero instead of traitor. I’m just a German gunner, they’ve probably already replaced me. My mother will cry, but no one else.”
Simeon tilted back his head and answered, clearly and strongly, “I am guilty as charged.”
What do you think of my darling Kameradschaft? Have you ever written/read historical fiction? What’s your current WIP about?