Monday, June 21, 2010

Interview & Giveaway with Historical Fiction Author Dora Lee Thompson

Yes, I know we’re still in the middle of our annual Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win Contest. But you can never give away too many books at once, can you? That’s what I thought, too! So today I have an interview to share with you with historical fiction author Dora Lee Thompson. Dora writes YA fiction and as you will see from the following interview, she feels strongly about the importance of teaching the lessons of history to our youth. In that spirit, she is offering to give away an autographed copy of her World War II novel, Pocket of Guilt, to one lucky reader of this interview. So read on to find out how you can enter for a chance to win!

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, Dora. Please tell us a little about your World War II novel, Pocket of Guilt.

Dora: Thanks, Joyce. I’m excited to have this time to talk about my historical novel, Pocket of Guilt. This story gives the young people of today an opportunity to learn WWII history from the viewpoint of the German teenager and read what it was really like to be without food and have planes bombing their city almost daily. They will finally hear the little-known story about how these courageous kids devised a plan to save themselves and their families from starving.

Their plan was unethical and devious, and went against their strict Mormon upbringing. The reader can’t help asking himself what he would do if placed in the same desperate situation. Would he sacrifice his morals to survive?

If I had to explain this sad story in a few words it would be “a thought-provoking tale of adventure.”

Though a serious story, it has moments of humor and warmth in addition to believable and unforgettable characters.

JDP: Pocket of Guilt is set in Germany during WWII. What did you find most fascinating about this time period?

Dora: This time period fascinates me because it shows how one person, namely, Adolph Hitler, can change lives all over the world. It astounds me that, because of fear and complacency, he couldn’t be stopped before he inflicted so much misery and death on mankind.

JDP: That is indeed a frightening lesson from history. I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels. Could you tell us a little about how you researched the historical background for Pocket of Guilt?

Dora: I scoured the local library and Internet for books and articles on WWII, even read other German novels for background material. I researched the war itself, the German culture, and found out what their homes and farms were like. My first priority was to find a timeline.

JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite research books or other resources?

Dora: My top resources were three living persons who had lived in Mannheim, Germany. The book could not have been written without one of them who shared his life experiences and told how he coped with living under the Third Reich and the lack of food. He lost his home to the bombs twice.

For the most part, I can’t remember the titles of books that were the most productive, but I do remember the plot of one novel because it was so bizarre. Hitler survived the last days in the Reichstag and arranged for his brain to be transplanted into another body so he could live on, but when he awoke after the operation, he discovered his brain had been transplanted into the body of a woman! He was furious.

JDP: Whoa! I just zipped over to Amazon to see if I could track that novel down, but no luck. Oh, well. Are there any historical figures from the era of Pocket of Guilt who particularly intrigue you?

Dora: Adolph Hitler is the first one to come to mind because he was such a scourge to the entire world and killed so many innocent people. General Dwight Eisenhower would be the opposite side of the coin. He had so much responsibility during WWII. He liberated the Germans and others and unlike Hitler, hated war.

JDP: What inspired you to write Pocket of Guilt?

Dora: A friend who had lived in Mannheim, Germany during and after the war told me of his life experiences there and I thought it would make a good book. He critiqued the book for me.

JDP: Are you working on any new projects?

Dora: At present, I spend my time promoting Pocket of Guilt and am planning to write a sequel.

JDP: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book?

Dora:, Barnes and Most libraries can order it. You can order it from my website: Click on Pocket of Guilt, click on Media Room, then Sales.

JDP: Thank you, Dora. Best of luck with your book!

Now, the promised giveaway. You can win an autographed copy of Pocket of Guilt by doing one, two, or all three of the following. Each counts as a separate entry, so please do NOT combine entries into a single email or you’ll only be counted once!

(1) Leave a comment on this blog, then email me with YOUR  NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to Please type “#1: Pocket of Guilt” in the subject line.

(2) Visit Dora’s blog at, click on the “Media Room” tab in the right sidebar, then click on “Book Summary”, again in the right sidebar. Read the summary and tell me how old Dieter was when the war began. Email me the answer WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to Please type “#2: Pocket of Guilt” in the subject line.

(3) Visit Dora’s website at and tell me how many years Dora researched Pocket of Guilt. Then email me the answer WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILNG ADDRESS to Please type “#3: Pocket of Guilt?” in the subject line.

Deadline for entries is Sunday, July 4, midnight PST. The winner will be announced on Monday, July 5.

And please don’t forget the NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS part. If I have to try too hard to hunt you down, your prize might become forfeit and be given to someone else!



MDYBYU said...

I'm in the middle of this book and I'm enjoying it immensely. Can't wait to get through it.

traveler said...

Thanks for this excellent interview which was fascinating and featuring this wonderful novel. I read everythingpossible about World War 11, Nazism and that entire era. This book sounds compelling and unique. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Valerie Ipson said...

I love reading about World War II as well and this sounds intriguing.

Cassandra said...

I think her book sounds like lots of fun.

Susan G. Haws said...

I think it is great that she was able to interview real people that lived through those situations. This sounds like a good and meaningful story.

Anna Arnett said...

A most gripping interview, this sets my "want to read" list in a flutter. As one who lived through WWII on the sheltered side, I'm intrigued by the wonderful people who, though blameless, suffered greatly. I feel great compassion for them.

I hope Dora's friend did not live near Brunswick. When Hitler's crack fighter group shot three of my husband's B-24 engines, he dropped their bomb load immediately, and hoped they landed in some field or forest, not on homes. My brother piloted a B-17 and flew at least 40 missions over Germany.

My husband had six weeks of hunger in Nuremberg when the Red Cross didn't find them and the Germans had so little food to spare. These POW's survived with two scant cups of soup a day. I was probably the only one who profited thereby. When, as a new bride, my culinary skills failed, his greatest complaint was, "I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought I was."