Well, I have now completed all of the edits though we still have to do something about widows and orphans in the finished text. We’ve really tightened up the letters, making them no more than one side long and containing just those details that add to the two other plots or give some important setting detail. It was one of those cases where less or more is needed. We went for less. That is probably the right decision: the novel is now a more realistic length.
But what of that extraordinary story the letters tell?
The German girls’ story
I’ve decided that I needed to write another novel. I still need to represent that naïve German point of view and that is the story told by the class letter. The real class letter contains some fascinating detail but makes for dull reading. I’m now working on telling the story of four of those involved in the letters: the farmer’s daughter, the twin who does not get married, the girl who becomes an actress and the class teacher. They gradually become enlightened as the story goes on.
The Schellberg Cycle
I started with one story – then I realised I had to write Clara Lehrs’ biography. I’m working on that now. I want to investigate the fanatic’s mind. How did they become like that? So I’m going to tell the story of BDM leader who eventually see fit to warn Hani and the others about what is going to happen to the Hilfsklasse’s little school. Then as I worked on Clara’s story, I realise that Käthe Edler is an interesting enough character to have a book to herself. Now I have a fifth.
The books can be read in any order. Two are written for adults and the other three are teens / young adults. Once one has been read, the other should be of interest regardless of age. So we have in order of writing:
The House on Schellberg Street
The BDM Girl (working title only)
The Woman Who Nearly Shot Hitler
The Class Letter (working title?)
Will I ever get away from the first half of the 20th Century?