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IRDA Winner K.A. Nelson Tells All About His Book

Killing Shore: The True Story of Hitler’s U-boats Off the New Jersey Coast was the winner in the HISTORY category of the 2024 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author K.A. Nelson.

I am hugely grateful for KILLING SHORE to be awarded first-place in History for the 2024 Indie Reader Discovery Awards . My sincerest appreciations go to the Indie Reader team for their thoughtful consideration of this book, and for running a competition that recognizes so many independent authors.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Killing Shore: The True Story of Hitler’s U-boats Off the New Jersey Coast (4 April 2024)

What’s the book’s first line?

“Thirty-seven days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Hardegen ordered the U-123 to a stop.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The shocking story of Nazi Germany’s naval assault in American waters, told through the eyes of seafarers who experienced it off the Jersey Shore.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I’ve always been a student of war history and I am endlessly fascinated by shipwrecks, so this project represented a convergence of several longstanding interests. Shortly after diving several wartime wrecks off New Jersey, I found myself seized by the idea of telling the stories of these ships, the men who crewed them, and the men who sank them.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

The many characters who comprise Killing Shore‘s ensemble cast, civilian and military alike, are all real people. Although there isn’t one main character, the way I wrote these individuals was steered in part by my own military service. Various facets of real people I knew in uniform became manifest (not always consciously) in these flesh-and-blood characters. The most distinctive aspect about so many characters in Killing Shore, in my opinion, is how they seemingly aren’t distinctive. They were shockingly ordinary young men, which makes their bravery and dedication all the more impressive.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Entertainment—because, for purposes of educating a reader, everything must flow from that. My intent was always for Killing Shore to be a high tension page-turner, but not only because that makes for engaging reading. A reader who finds a story compelling is also more likely to internalize its more serious themes and messages.

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