Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Cathy Gohlke


There's nothing I love to read more than rich, multilayered, character-driven novels that give cause for reflection, either historical or contemporary - and those seem to be pretty rare in the Christian market. However, an occasional "gem" that fits this description rises to the surface, and Cathy Gohlke is the author of one of those such novels. Her World War II story, Saving Amelie (click title to see my review), not only made my Best of the Best list for 2014, but is one of my all-time favorites.

I am honored to have Cathy  as a guest on The Power of Words and, rather than me trying to say more about this incredibly moving story, I've asked Cathy to share some thoughts about Saving Amelie and what it means to her. She also has a copy for one of our readers, details at the end of this post.



Saving Amelie—Summer 1939

Rachel Kramer is visiting Germany when a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, upends her world. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter Amelie—deaf since birth—as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that now hang like ebony spiders across Berlin.  She fears her father, an eminent eugenics scientist, may know about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems unworthy of life.  But when she risks searching his classified documents, she also uncovers shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.

Hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young, a driven American journalist whose connections to the resistance help Rachel and Amelie escape Berlin.  Forced to hide in the Bavarian village of the Passion Play, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason encounter the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, controversial theologian, and risk their lives, asking others to do the same, for those they barely know but come to love.


Carole:  Cathy, please share a little about Saving Amelie, what it means to you personally, the spiritual "heart" of the story, and where your current writing focus lies.


Cathy:  Writing Saving Amelie, and especially reading Bonhoeffer’s works in the process, taught me a no-nonsense approach to Christianity. It’s made me stop questioning God when He calls me to do something—even when the cost is greater than I anticipated, even when God’s standard is beyond what is considered “politically correct” in our culture.  It’s helped me take Him at His word, and say, “Yes, Lord—in Your strength, I will do this thing you ask of me.  I know I can’t do it in mine, but You would not have called me if You didn’t intend to see me through.  So, here I am.  Let’s go.” It’s living on the edge, but knowing I’m not alone.  It’s freeing, exhilarating, frightening and hopeful.

Saving Amelie embraces the truth that every life is valuable, bought with the precious blood of Christ.  It exposes the horrors of eugenics, a popular concept in Nazi Germany and in many countries of the day, including the U.S., ranking the lives of some as worthy of life and others as unworthy.  I pray Saving Amelie inspires readers to recognize the urgency of standing against culture and/or science that devalues human life, that places personal convenience and preference above the sanctity of that gift.

It’s so easy to become preoccupied with our own lives and families and not see what’s happening in the changing of our culture, to believe that our lawmakers have our best interests at heart, to trust that our nation will not let judgments or laws go down morally dangerous paths.  As history shows and as we can see, that’s not the case.

Saving Amelie is infused with the teachings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his belief that we, as the church, must stand for those in peril, for those who suffer.

My next release is scheduled for Fall 2015, Secrets She Kept:


Following her emotionally estranged mother’s death, Hannah Sterling uncovers a twisted trail through her mother’s past, leading her to a German grandfather she never knew existed, and clues to a father she never met.  Why had her mother run from Germany after WWII, declaring her family dead, and what was their connection to the Nazi war machine?  Can Hannah live with the revelation of her family’s wartime secrets or redeem the consequences of their actions?


Carole:  I have to say that your writing epitomizes all that Christian fiction should be, Cathy, and it is an honor to have you as our guest today. I only hope this is the first of many such visits.

Readers, one of you will win a copy of Saving Amelie that Cathy is graciously offering. To enter, please answer this question that Cathy suggested . . .


Do you enjoy finding real historical figures in novels?

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing.

If you'd like to receive e-mail notifications of reviews, author interviews and giveaways, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner. "Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are also greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.

E-mail required for entry in the drawing. Contest ends at midnight PST on Friday, March 27. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: International

65 comments:

  1. I do enjoy finding real characters in novels. It makes the story more authentic, and I learn history in the process.

    I so want to read these books. Bonhoeffer is a hero of mine!
    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Kate, you're right about learning history from fiction. Often after reading a historical book drawn from a real character or event, I'm driven to search online to find out more. Good luck in the drawing, Kate.

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  2. I really enjoy reading WWII novels and this one sounds like a winner! terri dot tiffany at yahoo dot com And yes I enjoy finding real historical figures in novels--it makes the book that much more realistic!

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    1. It is a winner indeed, Terri! Highly entertaining and with a lot upon which to reflect. Thanks for dropping by today!

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  3. Carole--thank you for your wonderful blog and interview. It's a pleasure to meet readers through your blog site!

    Kate--I love finding real characters in novels, too. They bring a story to life for me and add that extra sense of real life in fiction. Bonhoeffer amazed me. Such strength of character and a life truly focused--what an example! God bless!

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  4. Kathy ... YES I so enjoyed reading about Bonhoeffer as I do not remember studying him or the holocaust in High School. It brought history to life and it really touched my heart. Impacted me in a way I did not expect. So thank you!

    Looking forward to reading your next book.

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  5. I really enjoyed the interview and this sounds like a book I would really like to read. Thank you for giving me a chance to win a copy.

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  6. I so loved Saving Amelie. I purchased Bonhoeffers biography as a result of reading it. It was so powerful as it applied to today's times as well. This was my first read by Cathy. I have purchased several since. I was very excited to find a "new to me author!"

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  7. Forgot email ewe_r_merritt@yahoo( dot) com. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  8. I enjoy real people in historical fiction. I have enjoyed fictional stories of people in the Bible and the early church.
    My friend LouAnn has high praise for this book and because my great grandparents escaped Germany after World War I I know I am going to enjoy this book.

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  9. So enjoyed your post! I do enjoy historical figures in stories. Nothing like a great book! Thank you for the opportunity.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  10. I really do enjoy finding real historical figures in novels. I never liked history in school, but not historical fiction has really drawn me in. I think it's my favorite genre!
    I would love to read Saving Amelie. I've been reading some very good reviews about it & I enjoyed reading today's post.. dkstevensneAToutlookD OtCoM

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  11. I do! It's like a cameo appearance haha :) carriemschmidt (at) gmail (dot) com

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  12. I enjoy reading historical fiction. I live teaching History and learning about historical figures.
    My email is irishrose157 at hotmail dot com

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  13. I like it when they stay true to the way the real person would have been, especially when they turn out to be good people. lauralyric@hotmail.com

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  14. Finding real historical figures in novels make the story that much more enjoyable for me. Definitely an added bonus.

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing.

    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. These are my kind of books! They sound fascinating. email: pamelanastase@hotmail.com

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  16. I very much enjoy reading about real people in novels I read. Some of my favorite books are historically accurate fiction. "Saving Amelie" sounds like a story I would very much enjoy! berniercarroll@hotmail.com

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  17. I love real historical people in my story lines.

    How else do we expand our knowledge.

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.

    Cyn1063@aol.com

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  18. I do enjoy real characters and places in historical novels.
    Looking forward to reading the book.
    quilteddaisydean(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. This sounds like such an awesome book! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  20. I enjoyed this interview so much. I really do like for a real person to be in a fictional book because I love learning about these people. Most of the time I have never heard of the person before. Thanks for a great interview and for the giveaway.
    Pam
    pam1lunsford(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. You know its funny, I never liked history in high school. I found it boring & there were just too many dates/events & people to keep track of. But now that I am an adult, I really do enjoy finding real historical people in books. It seems to bring the stories to life for me & I learn something of history that way. Most times, I get so involved in the story that I feel like I am right there experiencing what the characters are. And I can imagine being there & seeing all the things the story describes. I love that when an author is able to take their readers to a long ago place with the people who lived in that era.
    Your book "Saving Amelie" sounds like a wonderful story that I'd be interesting in reading. Thank you for the chance to own a copy!

    teamob4@gmail.com

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  22. Yes, I do like historical novels with real historical people in them - it brings them life and also gives credence to the research of the era. Dietrich Bonhoffer is a name that I recognize but know little about him. I would find your book to be interesting and instructive - two things that I appreciate! And being a Christian novel that helps one learn to say 'Yes' to the Lord is one that I need to read!
    jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  23. Sounds intriguing! jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  24. Yes; so important for the past to be revealed to new readers to show what looking to God for guidance can do! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  25. Thank you for sharing! I love historicals and finding real historical people in them make them all the more interesting.
    Lori P
    jlipayer (at) charter (dot) net

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  26. Hello Carole. Thanks so much for having cathy here. I have been wanting this book of hers since last year's Blog-Hop led by Robin Hatcher. That's where I read about this book and also about Bonhoeffer too. I would so love to win this book and hope someday to own both books. My brother served in WW ll and I remember all about the horrible stuff that happened tho I was young. Thanks for another chance to read Saving Amalie. I do love to have real people in the historical books.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  27. I love finding historical figures in novels! Like Kate, I learn a lot of history from my favorite fiction books. Whenever I'd learn about a certain person in a book, I'd be a lot more excited to learn about that person in class. (Maybe that's why I always got such good grades haha) Having real historical figures in novels also makes the book seem so much more authentic!

    mdp94 (at) bellsouth (dot) net

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  28. Great interview! Loved Cathy's statement: "So, here I am. Let’s go." Several of Cathy's books are in my all-time top 10 books, including Saving Amelie, for that very statement. It's more than a principle, it's how Cathy and her characters live and why they are believable and inspirational. Beautiful.

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  29. You've all motivated me to continue including real life characters in my historical novels! Thank you for sharing your insights and preferences. Reading the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been such a blessing to me. In my next book, "Secrets She Kept," Corrie ten Boom makes a cameo appearance. Her message is life-changing. It's such a pleasure to meet you all through Carole's blog! I look forward to sending a signed copy of "Saving Amelie" to one of you and hope you all enjoy the read. God's blessings!

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  30. Loved Saving Amelie! Then I read Promise Me This. Wonderful! I'm not sure I know enough history to know if a character is a real historical person. Well, unless it's Hitler or Winston Churchill ;) hull_danielle at yahoo dot com

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  31. Thanks for the interesting post, Cathy and Carole!!

    I love reading about real historical figures in novels!! "Saving Amelie" sounds like such an exciting and touching book, I would love to read it!!

    Shared post!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  32. I love seeing historical figures in novels, because it makes the story so much more realistic and it sets it in time. It's also a very entertaining way to learn about history :)

    The book sounds amazing! Thanks for the giveaway! (Hope I win :P)

    samanthabis23 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  33. Thank you for allowing international participants!! I am thrilled! This book already calls to me. The cover is fabulous! The time period is already one very near and dear to my heart. The fact that there are true to life characters in it, is intriguing and makes what happened in our REAL history all the more meaningful. This interview recalls various points which the Lord has already been working in my heart. I love the story's premise, and have already put it on my TBR list. Obedience, surrender and trust in God... Critical points to maintain for every day, even if it isn't the popular way, or dangerous. WoW. I need to read this book. Thank you again. Blessings...

    Celita
    mrsdayseye (at) gmail (dot) com

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  34. Yes, I enjoy a historical reference as it usually causes me to search for more information.

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  35. Yes, I enjoy historical figures in novels as it causes me to dig deeper for more facts.

    Gpk1946 at gmail dot com

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  36. Yes, I like to see real historical figures appearing in fiction, but only if it is plausible. I'm pretty stuck on only reading fiction based on excellent research. Since I am a history buff, I do not want to read (or watch movies) that stray from the truth of history. Thank you for offering a copy of Saving Amelie.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  37. I enjoy historical especially in Germany as my mom was a German refugee during the War. She has quite a history here and so I would love to read this book.
    sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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  38. I love WW2 era books and the history involved. Having real characters just make it more enjoyable and more believable.
    connie(dot)randel(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. I really enjoy meeting 'real people' in historical novels. It makes the story seem so much more authentic! I've not read any of Cathy's books, but your review and this interview has resulted in ALL of her books being put on my must read list! Thank you. Susan.stitch(at)sbcglobal.net

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  40. Yes, I love having real real historical figures in books. The ones that make it the most interesting are getting stories from both sides, but plenty of stories only tell from one side's point of view. And it's the most interesting when it's a combination of ranks, not just a general or just from a private; again, a lot of books only pick one certain rank.
    In any case, by having real historical figures in fictional books, it inspires me to learn more about who they were and what they did in a non-fiction book.
    American Civil War and WWII are my favorite eras, so I read a lot of Christian historical fiction/historical fiction books.
    wildernesstraveller@yahoo.com

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  41. I love the option to learn more about history through well-written fiction. I would love to win this book!
    bettimace[at]gmail[dot]com

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  42. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about history through well-written fiction. I would love to win this book:)
    bettimace[at]gmail[dot]com

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  43. I think finding real historical characters in historical fiction is fun. It makes it seem more real and I often find myself looking up the events and learning more about the real history that took place.

    dbdempsey98(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. Historical is my favorite genre, especially ww2. What fascinates me about historical fiction is how authentically accurate they are. Many times while I am reading a historical book you can find me on my computer looking up yet even more information about this time period or whatever is going on. I read once a book about an important man who vacationed apart from his wife, he developed yellow fever and so did his daughter. She died and he did a few days after, so sad ! His wife and son who were out of the city were fine ! I would love to read this.. Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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  45. I love to read about real historical figures in novels. It helps to make the story that much more real. I loved "Saving Amelie" and reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Reading about a real person In a fictional story always leads me to find out more about the person's real life story and to learn more. I look forward to reading your next novel. Plus, I also love the cover of "Saving Amelie". I do not think the little girl on the cover could be any more adorable. 😃
    Jennybug52 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  46. I always enjoy historical novels and having real characters in the books is an added bonus.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  47. I like finding real characters in a novel because whatever knowledge you have of them can increase your feeling of connection to the story.

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  48. I do luv discovering real historical figures in novels and certainly anticipate this one!
    I had just requested it at my public library and now find the giveaway - delighted!
    faithhopecherrytea at [gmail.]com
    Thanks for hosting and offering the giveaway.

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  49. I love reading real historical characters in novels. I can't wait to read Saving Emilie, and would love to win it.

    visionwriter2[at]gmail[dot]com

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  50. Aside from Biblical people(one of my odd quirks), I greatly enjoy seeing real people in fictional books. It typically makes me curious to learn more about them, and since I disliked history through school, this makes me happy. It also makes me wish I'd read more books like that through high school! :)

    bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

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  51. a wonderful posting...and yes, Cathy, I do...Thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  52. Definitely love finding real people from history in the novels I read. Love the books based on real historical figures and real events from their lives. Would love to read Cathy's book.

    ckbarker at gmail.com

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  53. I enjoy meeting real historical figures in novels, though I'm always frustrated that I can't know how much of what I read is fact, based on the author's research, and how much is fiction. I'd love a copy of this one though. It sounds intriguing. I like WWI and WWII historical fiction

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  54. Oops. My e-mail: ginny.jaques@zinovysjourney.com

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  55. I do enjoy learning about historical figures within novels. I believe I learn more that way than only reading about them in a history book. Lherzek at gmail dot com

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  56. Being a German child of refugee parents myself, I would love to read this story! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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  57. Oooh! This is just my kind of book! I would love to have s copy.... I loved this interview and I am looking forward to reading her books!
    Kvanrooyen57(@)gmail dot com

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  58. Yes, I do enjoy real characters in Historical Fiction and many other other types iof books. Thanks so much for the chance to win.

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  59. I love finding historical characters in novels if they're presented in a realistic and true-to-life way! :-) I've heard such good things about this book; please enter me in the giveaway: aliciagraceroque (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

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  60. As long as the historical figures are represented accurately, I very much enjoy reading about them in fictional settings.
    My email is info (at) heritageliterature (dot) com

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  61. As long as the historical figures are represented accurately, I very much enjoy reading about them in fictional settings.
    My email is info (at) heritageliterature (dot) com

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