Category Archives: Challenges
Had you asked me a year ago whether I’d expect a lot of surprises in 2017, I would’ve said no. However, last year brought a lot of change, some fun, some difficult and some shocking. Let’s do the fun part first. My new novel, Surviving the Fatherland, received several awards and became a #1 bestseller in the Amazon historical category. But it’s just a category, not the NY or USA Today bestseller list, you say. Correct, though this particular category is large and contains many famous writers. In any case, I was humbled to be in such company.
The difficult part was our move to Germany. After spending 30 years in the U.S., my American husband, daughter and I reduced the contents of a four-bedroom house to fit into a 20-foot container. This project lasted several months as we agonized over what to keep and what to give away. Luckily, we sold our house in a day. When the sale fell through because of financial issues of the buyer, we sold it again—in a day. Finally, at the end of August we took a one-way flight to my hometown, Solingen.
The initial move-in, German bureaucracy and arranging technology was trying, but we managed to get settled into our new apartment without too much fuss. Then came the shock. In early November, my husband suffered a stroke. He was not a candidate but a fit, normal-weight man who loves riding bicycles in the mountains and has blood values, most people would kill for. With this new diagnosis, our well-laid plans evaporated. Within three weeks my 88-year old father also suffered a stroke and I moved into the twilight zone.
I realized I had been very lucky until now, our family mostly being spared serious illness. This new reality made me face our fragility as a couple and a family and pose the question, what would be next. It was uncomfortable to say the least. As I drove to the hospital every day, my moods swung between anger, sadness and worry.
I’m happy to report that as of the New Year, both men are doing quite well and are back on their feet, albeit with lingering numbness. We hope that the continued rehab will speed up their recoveries. For me, I’m grateful—grateful that the strokes weren’t worse. Grateful, I had friends and family close to support me. But I’m also hopeful that 2018 will offer a chance to settle into our new lives, but more importantly health and peace.
And that’s what I wish you, dear readers, for the New Year: health and peace and that you accomplish what you set out to do. Finally, I want to express a heartfelt thank you for reading my books and supporting me!
Here are a few things that happened during the last week:
On Bestseller List in Canada!
Now an IWIC Hall of Fame Novel
You can now order the eBook or paperback directly without wait. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a steady uptick in orders and it seems that Canadians are quite interested in the story. So, thank you, Canada! In fact, right now, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is in eleventh place on their bestseller list. I’ve kept the eBook price at a very affordable $0.99 so there is no reason to wait.
The First Reviews
I received an outstanding ***Five Star*** editorial review from International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC). Here is an excerpt:
“It is difficult not to give this book, Surviving the Fatherland, by Annette Oppenlander, a five-star rating. Surviving the Fatherland is an historical fiction based on true events, the lives of those who survived World War II, during the war and then in post-war Germany…the story is not gruesome, but rather, it is a statement about the depth and strength of the human soul, and ultimately, really, of the love that drives people on in spite of all the reasons not to love. Highly recommended.” Read full review
“Annette Oppenlander has a genuine flair for original and compelling storytelling and as with the first two volumes, “At Witches’ End” will keep the readers rapt attention from cover to cover. Unfailingly entertaining from beginning to end, and also available in a Kindle format ($5.38), “At Witches’ End” is unreservedly recommended.” Also available in the Midwest Book Review March 2017 edition of Cowper’s Bookshelf.
I’ve asked my publisher, Lodestone Books, to lower the eBook price of the first in the ESCAPE FROM THE PAST series to $2.99. I’m hoping this will create more interest in readers who don’t know me and who would like to try out the first in the time-travel adventure series. I absolutely adore Max, so I’m hoping my new readers will too.
Additional Background Information about ‘Surviving the Fatherland’
I will soon post more photos and information to go along with Surviving the Fatherland. I’m also contemplating a story about Wilhelm, Lilly’s father, who spent nine years in Russian gulags. The original manuscript contained three chapters detailing his experience. In order for me to write about his time, I’d read a number of books about life in a gulag. Unfortunately, these chapters did not make it into the published version. I plan to share some of this knowledge at some point soon.
Read the interview with International Writers Inspiring Change (IWIC) which also shows some original photos from the era.