I’m interviewing K. Lang-Slattery, author of historical fiction “Immigrant Soldier: The Story of a Ritchie Boy”.
Q:How long have you been writing?
I enjoyed writing in High School, but didn’t really start to think of myself as a writer until I returned to it in mid-life. I began by writing for children and had some of my stories and articles published in such magazines as Boys’ Life and Jack and Jill. When I began writing Immigrant Soldier, I intended it to be non-fiction for ages 12 and up. But that all changed.
Q: What was the most challenging part about writing “Immigrant Soldier: The Story of a Ritchie Boy”?
Changing the original non-fiction manuscript into a novel was an immense challenge. I tackled it as if I were building an onion, layer by layer, a little at time. One of the most difficult aspects of the transformation was removing sections of historical fact that slowed down the action of the novel. Most of this material was based on family stories or long hours of research. I hope that I will be able to use some of the deleted history in my blog.
Q:What is your favorite part of being an author?
I actually love the writing process, but not just the rush of getting the first draft onto the computer. My favorite part is the editing and rewriting process—changing the words to make it better, adding important character insights, all the honing and perfecting—for me that is actually fun. I don’t think I would have returned to writing if computers hadn’t come along to take the drudgery out of rewriting.
Q:Is this book part of a series? If so, will there be more books in the series?
Immigrant Soldier is a stand-alone novel. Friends have suggested that I write a sequel about Herman’s career as a TV cameraman for CBS. However, though it was fun to listen to his stories of meeting famous actors, politicians, astronauts, and sports heroes, I am not interested in writing about it.
Q: Do you have any works in progress you’re working on?
All my efforts at present are toward writing my blog and promoting Immigrant Soldier, though I do have a couple of ideas tucked away for future writing projects. I’m thinking about a novel based on the character of Molly, Herman’s first love. I’d like to write about a female character next time.
About The Book
Author: K. Lang-Slattery
Genre: Historical Fiction
Herman watches in horror as his cousin and a friend are arrested by the SA. As a Jew, he realizes it is past time to flee his homeland, a decision that catapults him from one adventure to another, his life changed forever by the storm of world events. Part coming-of-age story, part immigrant tale, part World War II adventure, Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy follows Herman as he evolves from a frightened and frustrated teenager looking for a place to belong into a confident and caring US Army Intelligence officer serving in the Third Army. The reader is swept along as the hero experiences fear, romance, loyalty, disappointment, friendship, and compassion in his quest for an understanding of hate and forgiveness.
Born during World War II and raised in 1950s Southern California, she enjoyed a childhood filled with reading, drawing, and long days at the beach. College took her to Los Angeles where she studied art and English at UCLA, earning a BFA. She then travelled to Mexico City where she did graduate work in art and education at the University of the Americas. The years afterward passed, filled with teaching art, English, and cooking, and traveling around the world, including a 2 year car trip through Central America, Europe, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. Later she returned to her hometown, where she raised a daughter and a son and devoted over 20 years to Girl Scouts as a volunteer. Finally she returned to her early love of writing, concentrating first on creating stories and articles for young people. She has been published in several highly rated magazines for the youth market, including Spider, Ladybug, Jack and Jill, Boys’ Life, and Faces.
Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy, her first adult novel, is based on her uncle’s World War II experiences. More than a decade spent researching, interviewing Ritchie Boys, and turning a true story into fiction became an odyssey of discovery. “I wanted to tell his story,” she says, “because it was different from any other Holocaust story I had read. The young Jewish hero is not a victim, but a young man who gradually grows from a frightened and frustrated teenager, looking for a place to belong, into a confident US Army Intelligence officer who struggles with the conflicting emotions of hate and forgiveness.”
Kathryn lives in Laguna Beach, California, only steps from her childhood home, where she is surrounded by trees, birds, and her vegetable garden. Besides writing, her main interests are travel to foreign places, creative gourmet cooking, pastel painting, and time with family and friends. She finds tranquillity simply by looking out her large living-room windows to her view of one tall sycamore, her lush garden, and the natural hillsides beyond.