The name of the book is Lost Ground and it was published: June 3, 2015
What’s the book’s first line?
Tina would never have stopped at the Hotel Andalusia if her father had been wearing his regular walking shoes.
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
The eyes of the world are on Finland in November 1939, as its Winter War with Russia turns into a classic David and Goliath struggle. When Tom Henderson, an American journalist, goes to Finland to cover the war he has no idea how far the assignment will take him. His relationships with Tina, a young Finnish woman, and Paul, her fiancé fighting at the front, escalate quickly and change all their lives. Tina must examine her priorities and emotions, and Tom’s journey takes him from the Berlin Olympics through wartime Helsinki to a place he had long since lost–his own heart. The backdrop for these stories is a tiny nation’s struggle for survival against massive odds.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
Since childhood, I’d heard stories about the Winter War. It is legendary in Finnish history although largely forgotten elsewhere, overshadowed by the later events of World War II. I personally knew people who were evacuees from the regions lost to Russia, my own father had fought in the war, and I heard many other stories and anecdotes, including that of an American journalist who went to Finland to cover the war and fell in love with a Finnish girl. For years I did research on the war, which was very difficult emotionally, and also time-consuming because I don’t read Finnish very quickly. Still, I felt these stories needed to be told.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
I hope readers will understand the experience of living through a war that has been called a “frozen hell”, both from the viewpoint of the front line soldiers who suffered terribly, and the home front that held its breath and helped in any way it could. Just as importantly, I hope the book shows that love can take root and flourish in the most extreme circumstances, and that sometimes in the crucible of a bitter war people find their true selves.