Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
My Top 5 Favorite Books of Childhood
Author Guest / January 18, 2018

Meg Ryan nailed it. In You’ve Got Mail, bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) stands behind the counter of The Shop Around the Corner and insists, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” “Hear! Hear!” I remember books and their characters from my childhood as if they were living, breathing folk—animals and humans alike. I could bump into them today and know their names, understand their motivations, imagine the decisions they’d make in a world or time outside their own. They were and are my friends—part of my fiber and being. I’m not sure if I picked my favorite books because I’m like those characters and believe I could comfortably slip into their shoes, or because those characters have influenced my own thought processes and character growth. Either way, we’re friends for life. Here are my favorites and why I love them: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer—This story chronicles, tongue in Mark Twain’s cheek, a good-hearted, fun-loving, sometimes conscious-stricken, creative boy magnetically drawn to trouble and adventure, who precariously walks a knife’s edge of danger. Through it all, he remains steadfast…

Cathy Gohlke | Crucial Cameo Characters
Author Guest / June 13, 2014

First painful rule of fiction:  Everything–dialogue, characters, plot, scenes–must move the story forward.  If it does not, cut with the ruthlessness of a film editor.  So, why include historic or well-known characters in cameo appearances?  What would make the research for credibility worth the trouble for a character’s one or two-time walk into the pages of your novel? Sometimes, it’s the cameo character that holds significance for your main character, and sometimes it’s their work, their passion, or simply their influence that permeates the story. In SAVING AMELIE, a WWII story set in Berlin and Oberramergau, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a well-known dissident German pastor makes two brief appearances.  But, those appearances carry tremendous weight. Bonhoeffer saw early the dangers posed by the Nazis and Hitler’s quest for absolute power.  He recognized the horrific ramifications for Jews in the Nuremberg Laws and the Aryan Clause which stripped German Jews of their citizenship and rights, and eliminated Hebrew Christians from public and church roles.  He saw the burning of synagogues for the hate crimes they were, and sterilizations and “mercy killings” of the physically and mentally handicapped for murder.  Bonhoeffer knew that the church, by not protecting Jews or anyone else outside Hitler’s…