Interview: Douglas Jacobson, Author of The Katyn Order
Today's special guest is Douglas Jacobson, author of The Katyn Order: A Novel. He is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the “2007 Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Wisconsin Library association. Doug writes a monthly column on Poland’s contribution during WW2, has published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comet Line and other European resistance organizations.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Doug. It is a pleasure to have you with us.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Summer vacation trips to Army Lake, where we could swim any time during the day as long as we waited for one hour after eating.
When did you begin writing?
In fifth grade, our teacher encouraged us to write whatever we wanted. My buddies and I wrote horror stories. Regardless of how stupid they must have been, our teacher would very diligently correct all the grammar and give them back.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I write mostly in the early morning and early afternoon, but never after the five o'clock cocktail.
What is this book about?
The German War Machine is in retreat as the Russians advance. In Warsaw, Resistance fighters rise up against their Nazi occupiers, but the Germans retaliate, ruthlessly leveling the city. American Adam Nowak has been dropped into Poland by British intelligence as an assassin and Resistance fighter. During the Warsaw Rising he meets Natalia, a covert operative who has lost everything—just as he has. Amid the Allied power struggle left by Germany’s defeat, Adam and Natalia join in a desperate hunt for the 1940 Soviet order authorizing the murders of 20,000 Polish army officers and civilians. If they can find the Katyn Order before the Russians do, they just might change the fate of Poland.
What inspired you to write it?
My Polish heritage and my European relatives who lived through the Nazi occupation and shared their stories with me.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My wife, Janie. She's also my best promoter.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
Yes, I am. Redbird Writer's Studio in Milwaukee.
Who is your favorite author?
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I do not, and I'm not actively looking, but I would listen if one is interested in my work.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
It was bumpy, a box full of rejections, but it had a happy ending.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have joined Redbird Writer's Studio at the very beginning of my writing effort.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
On-line at Amazon, B&N, or at any bookstore.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?