Interview: Soren Petrek

Soren Petrek is a practicing trial attorney with a passion for studying World War Two. He lived in France and England for years, listening to people’s stories of personal sacrifice and struggle during the darkest years of the war. Cold Lonely Courage was inspired by the true story of a young Belgian woman who helped countless Jewish children escape from the terrors of the Nazi regime. Soren lives with his wife, Renee and sons, Max and Riley in central Minnesota.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

Like most writers my passion for reading led to my interest in writing. I started as a teen and kept a file of short stories and poems. I told myself that someday I’d write a novel. It took my Fortieth birthday to get me going and complete my first novel.

Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?

The Patience County War. An assassin born of death and violation is the most dangerous of all. Cold Lonely Courage tells her story.

The action begins during the German Blitzkrieg attack on France in the opening days of World War II. The heroine, Madeleine Toche races to the front to find her brother dying after his unit is destroyed as the Germans advance. Crushed, Madeleine returns his body to her parents.

In the months that follow, Madeleine is raped by a Nazi officer. Seeking revenge she kills him and flees to England to volunteer for duty with Britain’s shadowy Special Operations Executive. Trained as an assassin she clandestinely returns to France with Captain Jack Teach a veteran of the SOE ‘Dirty Tricks Department’. They find themselves in love but are torn apart by duty and the insurmountable odds of survival. Madeleine fights on terrorizing the murderous Nazi elite always only one step ahead of capture and torture.

Madeleine’s story is raw and driven. There are no detours. I engage the base emotions of my readers. I want them to live the characters the way I did when I wrote them. This is not an ordinary World War II novel. Cold Lonely Courage tells the brutal truth about the violence people are capable of when called upon to defend themselves and their families. The courage of women in war is marginalized and given subordinate consideration in popular fiction. Many women don’t read novels about war because of it. Cold Lonely Courage changes that.

I hope my readers remember that it is often the unsung heroes behind the scenes, the everyday people who sacrifice everything to do the right thing and resist evil. The book is a reminder of those people and what they achieved for generations to come.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I am rewriting my first novel following an exhaustive professional edit.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

The Old Man and The Sea.

Favorite authors?

Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Elmore Leonard, Jim Harrison, there are so many.

Book you’re currently reading?

Nine Dragons, Michael Connelly.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

Not really, I try to write a page or two every day usually at my office before work.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

I haven’t suffered from writer’s block. I think the way to get through it would be just to write anything. Your story will come back into focus at that point.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Writers need passion, determination, a measure of talent and a willingness to continue to learn how to write. One of my favorite authors, Jim Harrison says that he is continuing to learn how to write, every time he goes about it.

Advice for other writers?

Stick with it. Only passion and determination will carry you through the amount of work it takes to get a book published.

Where can we learn more about you?

My blog has some additional information as well as links to some articles about the book.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Great questions and thank you.

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