Monday, May 9, 2016

An Interview with Jack Lewis Baillot about Research

My friend Jack is releasing a novel on May 31st!

Brothers-In-Arms is a story about two best friends—Japhet, a Jew, and Franz—growing up in Hitler-controlled Germany.

I asked Jack about her connection with historical fiction and her research process. Here are her answers:

What first interested you in historical fiction?
The history bit of it. I love history. I didn't like to read a lot of historical fiction though, because most of what I found were romantic stories with the same kind of plot line. But when I did find one with a different plot I would snatch it up and devour it. Even though I had the idea for my book for a while I didn't think I'd ever write historical fiction, or come to love writing it as much as I did.

Have you ever written historical fiction before?
Just a couple Pioneer stories when I first started to write. I did one I was quite proud of about two families traveling to California. Someday I might edit it.

Why did you choose to write a story about World War II?
Mostly I wanted to show the war from the German side. I wanted to show not all Germans were Nazis, but also wanted to show how Hitler was able to brain wash so many of them. I felt like their side deserved to be told.

Were you intimidated by the amount of research that goes into writing historical fiction?
Not really. I love research. And I got to read some amazing books. Unbroken was one, and I will forever be grateful for research because it brought me that amazing story.

What was your research process for this book?
Oops, kind of answered that one above, didn't I? Well, I knew the facts about WWII from history books, but I wanted to know about the people. I wanted to know what they felt and thought and suffered. So instead of googling facts, I read biographies. I got to know what the mind set was like back then, I learned how scared, hungry, and confused so many people were. I learned first hand of their courage and how they refused to give up even with so much against them. Research, I believe, works better done this way.

(I agree with you! I think the best way to learn about history is to read autobiographies or biographies about the every day lives of the people living in whatever era you are studying.)

Do you think you will write another historical novel in the future, and do you think you will do your research the same way you did for Brothers-In-Arms?
Yes. In fact I have a couple already started. And yes, I do want to do research the same way but I don't think it will work for one book. (Since I can find little on the Tuskegee Airmen.)

Is there one time period in history that you would love to write about, but haven't yet?
The American Civil War. I guess I have a thing with wars, which sounds bad now that I think about it...

What is your favorite time in history to learn about?
The Middle Ages, especially Scotland in that period. Or Scotland in the days of Wallace, because that man...(I might have a book planned in which he makes an appearance.)

Thanks for visiting my blog and answering my questions, Jack!

Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.
When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.
She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.
Find Jack here:

Preorder Brothers-In-Arms here.
Full Synopsis:
Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?
Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high. 
With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.
With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.


  1. Love this post! That's a really great way to research too.

  2. I love your love for history, Jack. And this interview is great! Awesome questions, Abbey. ;)

    1. History is great. Thanks for your kind comment. :)

  3. Great interview, Abbey! I love the topic on book research, and loved your answers, Jack. :)

    1. Thank you. I always find it interesting to hear other people's research processes.

  4. Thanks for joining in, Abbey!