After Paris by Renny deGroot
Publication Date: July 8, 2016
Paperback & eBook; 364 Pages
Paperback & eBook; 364 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
From Shortlisted Author of the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Renny deGroot comes a new Historical Fiction.
Liesbeth Zwart forges her identity with courage and aptitude while nursing in France during WW1. As Liesbeth Bos, she feels that identity melting away; the skills she needed as a nurse in Paris are of little use to her as a wife and mother in post-war Netherlands.
As she grapples to adjust to her new reality, she is confronted with a shocking discovery that sends her fleeing with her young daughter to start a new life in Canada. The New World forces Liesbeth to reassess her own life and beliefs, but will it be enough to save her fractured family?
About the Author
Renny deGroot is a first generation Canadian of Dutch parents. She is a published poet, song lyricist and novelist. Her debut novel, Family Business, was shortlisted in the Literary Fiction category, for the 2015 Emerging Writer Prize. She studied English Literature at Trent University.
Her strong Dutch roots continue to influence her while the love of her Canadian homeland with its beauty and freedom, flavors all that she does.
Renny lives in rural Ontario, Canada with her Great Pyrenees and Chocolate Lab.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!
-I know that I’ve often wondered why World War II has so many books (fiction and nonfiction) written about it with WWI having a comparatively smaller catalogue. What made you focus on a WWI story?
It was a time that changed the world forever – like 9/11 has in our lifetime. I wanted to use that massive event to look at how it could change an individual. There are many amazing books that look at the emotional impact the war horrors had on the damaged soldier (my favourite being Mrs. Dalloway), but I wanted to look at how the individual’s role in society changed; the role of women especially changed and I wanted to look at that.
I chose the specific setting of a hospital in Le Pré Catelen in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris to open the novel because I have a one-hundred-year old photo album of that place taken during the war years and I found it inspiring.
-In your research for this book, did you come across anything that really surprised you?
The innovation in medical practices surprised me. The proverb: “Necessity is the mother of invention” really showed up in the advances that were made to address surgery and post-op infections. I found the medical diaries (those of nurses and doctors) and journals from the war fascinating.
Looking at the role of women in post-war Netherlands also surprised me – since the Netherlands had been neutral during WW1, women didn’t step into the jobs of men, as they did in England, France, etc. This meant that the change for women in Dutch society was quite different than in those countries who fought in the war.
- Do you see some of your own personality/attributes in Lisbeth?
There will always be a little of oneself in a character, but generally speaking I think Liesbeth is a little more lost than I ever recall being.
- Tell me about your writing process. Do you write at a certain time of day everyday or just when the creative moments hit you? Music in the background or quiet?
I am a morning person, so I like to write early in the day. I don’t write every day, but I think every day and that is a huge part of the creative process. I live in the country and love nothing more than taking the dogs for a hike through the woods and during that time I will have imaginary conversations or see my people taking certain actions – so that when I get back to the writing, I know where I want to go. I need classical music playing in the background.
-What’s up next for you?
I am starting to map out my next book which will take place in Ireland. There are so many stories to tell from that country, as it’s a place of great history, beauty and character.
Thank you to Library Educated for giving me this opportunity to talk about my book After Paris.!