Wednesday 6 July 2016

Writing about Käthe

The Pitch

At the SCBWI Conference held in Winchester 2105 my ten minute-pitch:
“An anteroom,
a gun,
a Führer.
Will she shoot him?”
was runner-up in the ten word pitch contest. I entered on a whim. I passed the notice about the contest on the way back to my hotel and tried to work out how I could make my work in progress fit the bill. And yes, I am writing about a woman who may or may not have shot Hitler. In real life, we know she didn’t. In fiction she may have. I’ll give no spoilers here. Whichever way it turns out, there are two possible stories here anyway.  


Pitch versus reality

It’s one thing having this very quirky pitch. It’s another trying to sell the story. “This woman had the chance to shoot Hitler? Never!”
Yet it is true that Käthe Lehrs was offered that opportunity. Those of you who have read  The House on Schellberg Street may also like to know that I had difficulty convincing publishers that, yes, it was true, Renate did not know that she was Jewish before 22 December 1938.


Different girls, different points of view

Käthe Lehrs, who is the main character in Shooting Hitler, appear in The House on Schellberg Street as the rather awkward and annoying mother to our main character. In Clara’s Story she is the rather feisty and slightly frivolous middle child. So far in the current work she is a little bit cowed by her older brother but starts getting on top of the world though her own determination.


Researching Käthe

Always the research is fun. I’m learning a lot of physics as I go and I’m particularly interested in Einstein and relativity. 1920s fashions are fun, too and my Pinterst board is getting full.
On that writing level, I’m really getting into her motivation.
I have a feeling that this one is going to be a long one and will need a lot of cutting back. It has taken me a while to get into it but now it’s beginning to roll.    
There are regular updates about the whole project on

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