Under my own name, Lynn Hooghiemstra, I write historical fiction for teens and adults, showing what life might have been like for ordinary people swept up in extraordinary times. These books often take me longer to write because the subject matter not only requires considerable research, but is emotional as well. It’s not always easy to put myself in my character’s place and get a sense of what they might have gone through or felt.
The first published novella: Tales from the Fountain Pen, was in fact written by hand using an old fountain pen. The novella is loosely based on family stories from World War II. For many years I tried to write the stories in a way that would appeal to readers, but couldn’t quite nail down the right format. Then one night, I put together the pieces of an old fountain pen, filled it with ink and started writing. First a short story spilled out onto the pages of a notebook, then gradually more were coaxed from the aging nib. My publisher, Jay Hartman, at Untreed Reads, enthusiastically embraced turning the stories into a novella.
This was released September, 2013, through indie publisher Untreed Reads, as an E-book and is available at most E-book outlets around the world.
Tales from the Fountain Pen
Maggie was ready to embrace life and enjoy attending vocational college when the war came to her village in the Netherlands and changed everything. In a series of interconnected stories Maggie struggles with fear, shortages, the resistance, the dangers of falling in love and who to trust. Nothing is as it had been and, as the holder of the fountain pen learns from her comfortable office in the present day, fear and uncertainty are ever-present companions.
As the narrator fills and refills the inherited fountain pen from the 1940s, the pen takes on a life of its own as it relates the details of the events that shaped Maggie’s life.
Purchase directly from the publisher (Link) or any place that sells E-books.
I am working on a sequel which, once completed, will be bundled with the original Tales from the Fountain Pen and made available as both an E-book and a print book through Untreed Reads.
The Children of the Storm
I have a completed manuscript for the first novel in a family saga set in Strasbourg, France, during World War II. You can read the first chapter on my blog 'Just one more word'.
The family, headed by widowed economics Professor Jacques Detweiler, is slowly being torn apart as the two older children, Bertrand and Sophia, are seduced by the romanticism of a glorious new world order, while the two middle children, Thérèse and Claude, drift into the first resistance group (The Black Hand, a nod to the original black hand resistance group) started by teenage boys (historical fact).
Weekends of song and dance, and nature walks at the country estate of a former colleague of the professor show the beginnings of the Hitler Youth (historical fact), and further seduce Bertrand and Sophia, but serve only to galvanize Thérèse and Claude in their determination to fight the Nazis. Only little Amélie appears untouched by the growing conflict.
Like a slowly building storm the family is torn apart. Desperate choices are made and lives are forever changed, and no matter how hard Thérèse tries, she can't save her family.
I have layered in many historical details from the region and time, some from first hand accounts I've collected, but at its heart the trilogy is about the family, the children and the choices they’re forced to make. From harmlessly couriering books for the local bookseller, to taking part in bombing the new leader of Alsace’s car, to escaping in the night after their father has been taken.