PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- When Paul M. Fleming set out to write his first World War II novel, his unwavering goal was to wrap the story around a setting that had never been shared with readers of historical fiction. In 2016, he found the answer courtesy of his late mother's World War II correspondence.
"My mom traveled to an army hospital in West Virginia to be with my dad, who was sent home on a hospital ship from Europe," he recalled. "In one of her letters to family in Philadelphia she wrote about the presence of German POWs on hospital grounds." According to Fleming she reassured her family that they needn't worry. The prisoners weren't Nazis.
"That innocent observation leaped from her letter. POWs in America? German soldiers who weren't Nazis? The seed was planted," he remembered.
The next several years were dedicated to research that revealed nearly a half-million prisoners were incarcerated in the United States during World War II. West Virginia was not unique. Several hundred camps were scattered throughout 46 states, many in the South.
One of the first camps was in Huntsville, Texas, which Fleming chose as his special setting for When Courage Comes. Without giving away the storyline and its "stunning conclusion," Fleming described it as "a perfect canvas for memorable characters whose story will unveil even more surprises." These include: the deadly struggle within camps between Hitler loyalists and anti-Nazis who wore the same uniform; the POW impact on local communities, fearful of these intruders but starving for labor; and towns in the Deep South where foreign prisoners were treated better than segregated Americans who lived under the stain of Jim Crow. Along with this obscure slice of real Americana, Fleming promised "equally memorable characters whose courageous choices unmask an epic battle between good and evil."
"It's what I love about the paradox of historical fiction – letting my imagination loose while enlightening the reader about real events," he said.
Published in August 2020, When Courage Comes is available through Amazon. An audiobook version is scheduled for release in mid-February 2021.
SOURCE Backbone Books LLC