My most popular book series is a historical/WWII genealogical mystery series with a dual-timeline. It’s called Tangled Roots. I thought you might like to know why I chose to create that series. I’ve always been interested in history, particularly World War II, but it’s more than that. I grew up hearing bits and pieces of stories about my ethnic German mother and her parents and siblings who were caught in the war because they lived in the Sudetenland, the land which was part of Czechoslovakia. It was also near Poland and Germany.

Many years ago, my American father and his older sister were hooked on genealogy and worked together on their family tree. They traced their family back as far as the 1600’s. Pictured is my father shortly after he married my mother.

My mother, an ethnic German who came from the former Sudetenland and Germany, provided some history for her family tree, but only back a couple generations. Much of her family’s history/documentation was lost during the war. She was a young child during the war, so her memories were vague on some of the details. Years later, after her passing, one of her brothers obtained some old WWII-era Identity Cards that his grandparents had carried. He made copies for me and for one of his sisters. From those, I was able to fill in some missing information from that side of my family’s tree. Pictured is my mother around the same time as the previous photo. I believe it was taken in Germany.

I tell you this because I understand why people have an interest in genealogy. As I worked on the first book in the series, I got out those old records and photos and dug deeper around my family tree, in a similar way to what my protagonist does in the story. That’s how I got the idea to make the story about someone’s search for his ancestry. My historical research, and the story I wrote, helped me better understand what my German relatives may have endured.

I’ll backtrack a bit here. Back in 2016, my mother’s sister wanted me to write their story—the story of her and her siblings living in the Sudetenland during the war and their traumatic expulsion from their homeland as the Germans were losing the war. She wanted people to know what happened to ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland but she didn’t know how to write her own memoir. When we began talking about a book, she was in her eighties and couldn’t remember enough details from her past. She and I discussed how I might proceed with the minimal details we had available. We finally agreed I should write a fictional book about a very similar family and add in my own research and creativity. I didn’t get started on the book right away because my husband and I were in the process of moving to Arizona.

Days after we moved, I received news that my aunt had passed away. Though saddened, I went ahead and wrote the book, titled Breadcrumbs and Bombs, as a kind of tribute. The next book was Bloodlines and Barbed Wire. The series, Tangled Roots, is about a young Californian, Lucas Landry, whose father passed away suddenly, leaving his house to Lucas. As Lucas went through the house to decide what to keep and what sell, he discovered a secret attic filled with old WWII diaries written by two German girls. That piqued his curiosity, since he didn’t know anything about his father’s past or ancestry.

That discovery slowly drew Lucas into a mystery and hooked him into researching his family tree, which my own father would have liked if he were still living. Each book in the series is a genealogy mystery and is a dual-timeline story, alternating chapters between Lucas in modern-day and his ancestors in the past during and shortly after WWII.

The third book, Berlin and Betrayal, was released a couple days ago. This book was difficult to write, because, while writing, I was again in process of moving and the pandemic was in full swing. And like most people, I was suffering despair and fear. Still, I was considering including the pandemic in the story. Some people told me I should leave it out, that people weren’t ready to read about it yet. In allowing some time to pass before I finished writing, I hope people will be more receptive to reading it and will find their own fears reflected in the characters. It was was also really interesting for me, because I set the modern-day portion of the book in Munich, Germany (where my son lives) during the earliest days of the pandemic. My son helped me with some of the details of what it was like in Germany back then.

I felt that it was necessary to include the pandemic, as it will become another major part of the world’s history, as WWII did. Combining the two actually worked extremely well and showed some similarities, in a way.

Berlin and Betrayal begins in February 2020, shortly after Lucas Landry uprooted wife and kids from California and moved them to Germany for a year. Unfortunately, coincident with their arrival and start of new jobs, a worldwide pandemic occurs, throwing the world and Lucas’s plans for a large family reunion with all of his German relatives into chaos. With his oldest WWII-surviving relatives in their 80’s and 90’s being most vulnerable to the disease, Lucas fears a reunion might be impossible.

While Lucas tries to adjust to a pandemic world and protect his immediate family, he keeps busy further delving into his family’s German roots. Thinking being in Germany will at least make his research easier, he’s in for a surprise. Many Germans want to forget the past, having lived under a cloud of guilt over their ancestors’ mistakes. Key relatives want Lucas to just leave it alone. But he doggedly continues digging.

In February 1945, Germany’s defeat in WWII is inevitable and ethnic Germans, including Jette Nagel, her Nazi son, and his family, are being chased out of their homes in the German controlled Sudetenland by the Red Army. Dresden, the home of Jette’s closest family, is bombed to shambles by the Allies.

Berlin and Betrayal is a historical genealogical mystery with a dual-timeline. It’s a story about guilt, betrayal, tragedy, and forgiveness.

Getting back to the news about the publication, I usually list the paperback version for $14.99, but this time I decided to list for an introductory price of only $12.99. The Kindle version is $5.79, considerably lower price than many of the books in the same genre. I hope you’ll get your copy and tell your friends about it. If you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, you can read the book (and all my other books, too) for free.

Also, to celebrate the publication of my new book, I’ve put The Handyman and Inherit the Past on special for FREE for five days.