Wanna know her answer? Check the interview below!
Twitter pitch: Describe your novel in 140 characters!
Whew, this is tough! But here goes nothin':
Set in a world where Hitler won WWII and colonized the US, a Virginian farm girl starts a revolution to overthrow the Fuhrer.
Share with us your writing process... where did the inspiration for The Only Thing to Fear came from? What made you write this story?
The inspiration for this book came to me in 2011, right after I read The Aquariums of Pyongyang, which is a memoir by a North Korean refugee. That book really stuck with me, and I started wondering what it would be like to grow up in such a harsh and controlling regime. My imagination took over and an idea struck me—of a teen girl being raised by her uncle and who desperately wants to fight against her oppressive government. Then I brainstormed some more and added in the alternate history angle, and voila!
Another reason why I wanted to tell this story is because I've always envisioned my protagonist Zara as biracial. As a mom of a biracial daughter, it was really important to me to write a character who looks like what my kid looks like.
The Only Thing to Fear is a re-imagining of World War II history, but I'm curious... how much research did you do for this novel? How did you go about with it?
I did quite a bit of research! I read a lot of books about Germany during WWII, particularly how they treated the populations they conquered. I'd ask myself: What was life like in Occupied France versus Poland? Or the Netherlands? The Nazis had varying policies for each country, and I used that research to help me craft what a Nazi-occupied America would look like.
What's the most challenging thing you had to face/tackle while writing this book?
It took me a LONG time to write this novel! I'm a notoriously slow writer but the first draft of TOTtF poured out of me in a few months, which is a miracle in it of itself. Admittedly, I was feeling a little smug about it—like, ha! I can write quickly!—but…my agent sort of hated it. Haha. But he really liked the premise so I went back and rewrote the novel from first present tense to third past, at his recommendation. Then after that massive rewrite, I revised the book heavily three times more before it was ready to go out on submission. This novel nearly did me in but I'm so happy that it's now out in the world!
Lastly, will there be a sequel for this book? (Please I need to know what happens after! Was the revolution successful? What happens to Zara and Bastian?)
Alas, there is no planned sequel right now! But maybe one day? I actually have a sequel mapped out in my mind so we shall see!
And just because I couldn't resist, an extra question for fun: If you were an anomaly (or a double anomaly), what kind of powers would you like to have?
Oh, this is a fun question to think about! I grew up rabidly watching the X-Men cartoon with my brother, and we'd debate this for hours. Ultimately, I think I'd like to be telekinetic. It'd be super cool to be able to move big stuff like cars and downed trees with a flick of a wrist. And let's be honest---wouldn't it be nice not to have to get up from the sofa to reach the remote? :)
Caroline grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and, after stints in London and North Carolina, is proud to call DC her home again. (National Gallery! Cherry blossoms! Georgetown Cupcake!) She likes to read awesome books in her free time, fiddle with her DSLR, plot ways to get more stamps in her passport, and hang out with her wonderful husband and daughter (aka the Baby Overlord).
She doesn't not like pancakes, waffles, or any other foods smothered in maple syrup.
Follow Caroline on: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
Published on September 30th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
It's been nearly 80 years since the Allies lost WWII in a crushing defeat against Hitler's genetically engineered super soldiers. America has been carved up by the victors, and 16-year-old Zara lives a life of oppression in the Eastern America Territories. Under the iron rule of the Nazis, the government strives to maintain a master race, controlling everything from jobs to genetics. Despite her mixed heritage and hopeless social standing, Zara dreams of the free America she's only read about in banned books. A revolution is growing, and a rogue rebel group is plotting a deadly coup. Zara might hold the key to taking down the Führer for good, but it also might be the very thing that destroys her. Because what she has to offer the rebels is something she's spent her entire life hiding, under threat of immediate execution by the Nazis.
In this action-packed, heart-stopping novel of a terrifying reality that could have been, Zara must decide just how far she'll go for freedom.
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