About the Author
Doris Dumrauf grew up in the West German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, a region with a huge concentration of U.S. military bases. She worked as an administrative clerk on a U.S. air base for many years. After moving to the United States, Doris published numerous articles in magazines and newspapers while working on her novel. Doris Dumrauf is also an award-winning nature photographer and public speaker.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
My grade school teachers read stories to us and taught us local history. Libraries were my second home and I have loved books all my life. I wrote two novellas before graduating from high school and a historical novel in my twenties. My first publications were nonfiction articles for regional newspapers and magazines. I learned the craft and business of writing by joining an authors organization and attending workshops and meetings.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
Oktober Heat is my first published book, a historical novel/mystery.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I am currently translating Oktober Heat into German, which I plan to publish next year. Other long-term goals include picture books about nature themes, a sequel to Oktober Heat, and a final revision of my Civil War-era novel.
4. What does your writing process look like?
I research the time period to get a feeling for the life, culture, and political events that shape my characters’ lives. During that time I toss around plot ideas in my head. As I begin to write, I’ll do further research. For Oktober Heat, I researched – among other topics - American cars and music of the 1950s, German cars and other consumer goods, police work, village life, and the building of the air base. I also fictionalized a true event that occurred in my hometown during the 1970s. When I start writing, I have a vague idea where I am going with it, but then the story comes to life and takes twists and turns that I did not expect. I am a very visual person and photos often triggered a story line. Photos taken from people’s photo albums were my visual aids for my major characters.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I write on my PC, but during the warmer months I write on my laptop in our backyard.
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
I wanted to give my characters names that are easy to pronounce for English-speaking readers. Therefore, my main characters don’t have Umlauts (ä, ö, ü) in their names. I was also careful to choose names that would have been common during the 1950s.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
Authors I have read extensively are Daphne du Maurier, Leon Uris, John Steinbeck, James Michener, and John Jakes. In my younger years I read epic novels. Nowadays I prefer novels that are dialogue-driven and intriguing. I will read unknown authors when the topic of the novel interests me.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
My backyard during the warmer months while listening to the birds and the flowing water of our pond. During the rest of the year I read on our couch.
9. What period of history interests you the most?
I am mostly interested in novels that take place during the 19th and 20th century.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
This is difficult because my protagonist is a young man with average looks (or so he thinks). Given his partly-German background, I would say Leonardo diCaprio.
11. What inspired the idea for Oktober Heat?
I grew up in the West German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, a region with a huge concentration of U.S. military installations. We were Ground Zero during the Cold War. I worked as an administrative clerk on a large air base for many years before I moved to the United States in 1995. During one of my visits to Germany I discovered a book about the 50-year history of the air base. I was fascinated by the early years, when American and German entertainers toured the enlisted clubs to entertain the troops. The local youth flocked to the bases to take in the shows. It was a huge event when Elvis Presley arrived in Germany on October 1, 1958, to serve a tour in the U.S. Army. Even though my novel does not take place at his post, it seemed like a perfect hook, so I decided to make one of my main characters an Elvis fan.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I enjoy wildlife photography, which has turned into more than a hobby. I also love taking nature walks in our local and state parks. And, of course, I read a lot.
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