Date Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Warren Publishing
Two young men come of age and fall in love, set against the backdrop of true events in World War II
It’s 1938. Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel meet at an American-Nazi camp, Siegfried. Neither have any idea what to do with their blooming, confusing feelings for one another. Before they can begin to understand, the pair is yanked apart and forced in opposite directions.
Five years later, during the heart of World War II, Bastian’s American army platoon lands in Salerno, Italy. Max is in Nazi-occupied Rome where he has negotiated a plan to hire Jews on as ‘extras’ in a movie—an elaborate ruse to escape the Nazis. Brought together by circumstance and war, Bastian and Max find one another again in Rome.
Exploring the true stories of Camp Siegfried and the making of the film, La Porta del Cielo, The Artist and the Soldier is intense, fast moving, and sheds light on largely untouched stories in American and Italian history.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
For me, the hardest part of writing a book is starting. Once I am in the flow of a novel I usually write pretty fast, but it takes a while to get into the world of the book in the beginning. I also oscillate back and forth on the editing process. Sometimes I really enjoy it and sometimes it just feels tedious, however it always also feels important and necessary as well.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
When I write I often sit outside in my yard. In that case I let the sounds of nature surround me. If I write in public I will have my ear buds in and listen to music with no words with piano or violin. When I am working during the day I like to listen to folk music like The Wallin’ Jennies and when I am driving I am partial to musical theater (as audio books!).
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Yes, I believe outside feedback in the writing process is of paramount importance. In the past my editing process has gone like this: 1) Finish the novel and put it aside for anywhere between a few weeks and months, 2) Reread it and make initial edits, 3) Give the book to 5-8 Alpha readers who read the whole thing and give feedback on arc, storytelling, holes they see, and what they think of the characters, 4) After I make the edits from the Alpha readers I will put the book through Beta readers, which usually come in the form of my writing group. During this phase we go chapter by chapter in the book and fine-tune the details and the writing. My amazing writing group disbanded this past year so I may have to find a new process with my next book!
What book are you reading now?
So far this year I’ve read 64 books. My top picks thus far are: The Great Alone (Kristin Hannah), Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates), Circling the Sun (Paula McLain), The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas), Beartown (Fredrik Backman), and Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng).
How did you start your writing career?
I started writing creatively around age 8 when I penned a children’s book called “Jacob the Dinosaur.” I started my first novel at age 19 and it took me five years to finish it (through many, many edits). Then I wrote two other books before I started “The Artist and the Solider.” So though my first published book came out this May, I wrote three other novels before that were not published over a span of 15 years. For any writer who is feeling like they are failing, keep trying. Eventually it will happen.
Tell us about your next release.
I started working on my next novel at the start of the summer. Thus far the whole book is outlined and the first chapter is written. The main themes are identity, mental illness, and the length we’ll go to protect the people we love. It takes place in the early 60’s and has several strong female characters leading the story.
About the Author
Angelle holds an MA from Emerson College, and a master’s equivalency in Drama Therapy through the NADTA. She is a registered drama therapist and a PhD student at Lesley University. She works as a Drama Therapist at an Expressive Arts Center in Virginia called A Place To Be. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two delightful dogs, and one fat cat.