About the Author
ECPA best-selling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story—a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes romantic, historical fiction, penning stories of beauty and brokenness set against the backdrop of bygone eras not so very different from our own. Her novel My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love, released from Kregel Publications in June 2019.
She’s also the author of My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele’s Journey, as well as seven novellas with Barbour Publishing. Two of her novellas have been finalists in the FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.
Amanda lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, where she can be found reading way too many books, plotting her next novel, and jotting down imaginary travel itineraries for her dream vacation to Europe.
1. If you could travel anywhere in the world for book research, where would you go and why?
I love this question! It’s a dream of mine to travel to Europe, both for research and to see the places I’ve read about since childhood. Right now, France, Germany, Poland, and England are at the top of my list!
2. What inspired the idea for My Dearest Dietrich?
They say every story has a seed. The seed for My Dearest Dietrich emerged when I heard the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for the first time. I’m from a very literary family, and our dinner conversations often revolve around the books we’re reading. When my mom read Eric Metaxas’s Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, she shared the story of Bonhoeffer with us. But I wasn’t inspired to write about him until I came across a quote from Love Letters from Cell 92, a compilation of the letters Bonhoeffer exchanged with his fiancée during their engagement. When I read the quote, the dots connected in my mind. “Wait. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a fiancée?” Instantly, a question begged to be answered—What kind of a woman would capture the heart of a man like Dietrich Bonhoeffer? I set out to discover the answer, and in doing so, came to tell their story.
3. What did you as an author take away from writing this story?
So many things! I could spend pages sharing. As I was researching and writing, I was challenged and even convicted again and again by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s lived-out discipleship. In 1939, right before the outbreak of WWII, Bonhoeffer left Germany for America because he knew he couldn’t participate in the kind of war Adolf Hitler would wage. While in America, he felt intense unease, an inability to pull his thoughts away from his friends in Germany. Twenty-six days later, he boarded a ship back to Europe, because he believed he couldn’t return to Germany after the war and help with reconstruction, without first standing with its citizens during the dark days ahead. Following his return, he became involved in the conspiracy attempting to overthrow the Nazi regime. He spoke out against the persecution of the Jews when it was almost unheard of to do so, stating “Only those who cry out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants.” As I pondered those words, they deeply convicted me, and I wondered: Are we as Christians today seizing the call to leave behind comfortable Christianity? Bonhoeffer trusted God’s will above all else, even unto death. His final message hours before his execution was: “This is the end. But for me, the beginning of life.” He spoke those words knowing his earthly life had only hours remaining, knowing he would never marry the woman he loved, see his family again this side of heaven. His trust and faith profoundly impacted me, and I count it a true privilege to share his story with readers.
4. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?
In 2020, I have another WWII novel releasing with Kregel Publications. It’s based on a true story of resistance, courage, and hope, and I can’t wait to share more about it with readers in the months to come.
5. What top 5 books do you currently have on your TBR pile? Currently, I’m reading Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes. It’s a rare novel that takes hold of my heart and imagination as this one has done, and I know I’ll be thinking about it and recommending it for a long time to come. Next, I’m looking forward to All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner, Becky Wade’s Sweet on You, Rachel McMillan’s Murder in the City of Liberty, and Cathy Gohlke’s The Medallion.
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