. . . Alone, far from home, hunted by the Danish Resistance and the might of the Allied Forces, he must obey either his final Orders…or the inner voice of his conscience.
This week, Wild Women Authors welcomes Paul McDermott, author of Spear of Destiny, an April 15th release out of Class Act Books. With him is protagonist, Herbert Nollau.
Welcome, Herr Nollau. Tell us a bit about Spear of Destiny. You must understand, you are asking me to disclose Classified Information. The Geneva Convention requires of me only to disclose my name, rank and military number. But I can confirm that my escape from U534 was made possible when I clung to a piece of flotsam which proved to contain an ancient spear.
What made you choose the submarine service for a career? Family tradition. In Germany we have a saying: “One for the Farm, one for the Kaiser and one for the Kirsche.” (‘Church’). The eldest son took over the farm, the second son would enter the Armed Forces, the third was expected to become a priest. I chose to serve in the Navy, and applied for secondment to the U-boat division.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with being a naval officer or do something different? With hindsight, I believe my elder brother got the best deal – that’s probably why taking over the family farm was his right! Traditions should be respected, and in peacetime I would happily accept my responsibility to defend the Fatherland, but I would most likely seek a commission in the Army rather than the Navy.
What is your biggest fear? You might think it logical that a sailor would fear death by drowning, especially if you spend a large part of every day at depths which make any hope of reaching the surface impossible. Efficient naval training has helped me cope with this instinctive fear, but I would be terrified of flying: for me, the Luftwaffe was never an option.
Who is your favorite fictional character? I went to school before the Reich began to censor the literature we were permitted to read. I loved the Classics, and I most admired Jason and his voyages on the Argos, combating mythical monsters, performing truly heroic deeds. He always made the honourable choice, and I have always striven to follow his example.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? When I left home to begin military training, I was told to serve my country well, and return home a hero. I have tried my best to serve my country: how I am received when I eventually return to the Fatherland remains to be seen.
Thank you for this interview. We'd now like to talk to your creator, Paul McDermott.
Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies have had a major impact on your writing? When I decided to attempt a piece of fiction with such close ties to historical events which occurred within living memory (World War 2) I realised that I would have to respect the known recorded history of the time. In this, the Irish tradition of Oral History was a godsend: speaking to people who had ‘been there, done that …’ – the men who had been members of the Danish Resistance “Mødstandsbevægelsen”) – was essential. Military fiction from e.g. Dennis Wheatley, and W.E. Johns (avoiding gung-ho Hollywood-style film scripts) and non-fiction accounts of major action (especially in the North Atlantic) were also necessary.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? My start point for this novel was the respect and admiration I had for the unsung heroes I had the privilege of knowing while I lived in Denmark. It was a constant ‘itch in that one inaccessible spot’ for me to know that their heroic actions were almost unknown, their story untold. I wanted to do something to redress that perceived injustice. 4
When the Danish billionaire Carsten Rees funded the salvage of U-534 and agreed to have it installed as a permanent exhibit in my home town (or to be precise, on the opposite bank of the river, in Birkenhead) I decided it was time to take the plunge. I knew where I was going from Day One: nothing changed the course of my Synopsis/Plot Arch, and there were times when I felt I was simply watching the word appear unbidden on the screen before me.
Anyone thinking of taking a cruise from the US to Liverpool will see the Museum opposite our brand new Cruise Terminal. Get on the famous “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and you can be there in ten minutes …!
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? How is the submission process? I first heard of Class Act through being a ‘regular’ at www.thewriterschatroom.com [Sundays & Wednesdays]. The same ‘self-help’ chat group were also my link to the publishers of my first books, Whimsical Publications [Florida]. Class Act recently re-opened for Submissions after a few months dealing with a backlog, and if my own experience is typical, their turnaround time from acceptance to production is impressive! The submission process itself seems pretty straightforward, even for a technophobic dinosaur like me.
What are you reading right now? At the moment I have on my bedside table a twin-language collection of Celtic Fairy Tales in Gælic & English, forcing me to learn a bit faster! I’m a local patriot, so I always read the local newspaper looking for inspiration for a story. I also keep several notepads on my night table. Lots of my yarns are based on DREAMS … that could be the start of another four pages of Interview, so I’ll leave that for another time.
What's next for you? Next up for me: before The Spear of Destiny I’m having a children's’ book called Rocking Horse Dropping,” published on World Book Day, March 2, thanks to a local publisher, another proud Scouse patriot www.BeatlesLiverpoolandmore.com
To learn more about Paul McDermott and the stories he creates, go to: www.paulmcdermottbooks.webs.com
Paul frequently lurks at: www.thewriterschatroom.com (Sundays & Wednesdays)
To purchase Spear of Destiny, go to: