Benjamin, a youthful man working at the U.S. Consulate-General in Barcelona, finds himself in a world of danger, vengeance, and intrigue in the early autumn of 1942. His position as cultural attaché will prove to be merely a stepping stone in his European post. Only time will reveal what perilous stepping stones await him, as well as what consequences will arise from his decisions. But will those consequences prove to be too much for him?
What inspires me to write? How do I approach my writing? These question, among many others, have been asked by many people over the past three years since I began writing historical fiction. The genesis of my writing, at least my published writing, began in college when I enrolled in an Introduction to Fiction course. For an assignment, I had to create a short story from scratch and implement various components that were discussed up to that point in the course (theme, tone, characterization, and so on). Due to my growing passion for history, especially of the Second World War, I decided to do a little research and set my story during that time period. It turned out to be a ‘great story’ in the words of my professor. Long story short, that short story got my gears turning about taking writing more seriously.
That was in the spring of 2011. Almost six years later, I find myself on the cusp of self-publishing my fourth book in three years, all the while couching it in my passion for history. Being that I’m a high school history teacher by day, I’m able to be more enveloped by the content in which I write than if I wrote, say, steampunk novels. I quickly found that historical fiction is my niche and I’ve stuck to it. When it comes to history, I am of the belief that we can learn something from it. Sure, that sounds cliché and overused, but it is indeed true. And it’s not just the study of history that can teach, but also the manipulation of it. By intertwining creativity with historical fact, an author can oftentimes subtly and easily teach a reader about life, the world, history…without the reader even picking up on it. And for me, gearing my storytelling toward that end is exhilarating.
I admittedly can sometimes get carried away by the romanticism of such familiar historical events like D-Day or Stalingrad or Pearl Harbor or the activities of resistance movements or the secretive acts of the OSS, but it’s in those moments that I usually find a starting point for my ideas. In the context of my upcoming book Needless, I approached the writing in a way that allowed me to learn as I wrote. I knew a fair amount of information, at least basic information, on the subject, but reading into it more led me to want to develop a story that would exist in the same vein as the previous three in the Collection, but would also stand alone in its own right. I went out on a limb at times in the storytelling, while at other times I played it safe. I tried things I hadn’t done before in the name of creativity and adventure. And over the course of about three months, I cranked out over 46,000 words.
Writing can sometimes be hard, but I think that’s what keeps it interesting – trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, how I should or shouldn’t develop a plotline, when I should write in the climax or throw in a twist. It’s definitely a craft, and one that is always being refined. Writing two books the exact same way is a sign that I’m not growing as a writer. In my work, I strive to tell stories that evoke emotion and realities of the time period in which they’re set, and to do so in a creative and appealing manner. Given that I don’t write full time, I have to pick my moments to write. Maybe one day, though, I’ll get to a point in life where I can write every day.
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About the Author
Eli Kale is an author, educator, and traveller. “Needless” is the fourth book in his collection entitled “Faces of the War,” where the Second World War is seen through the perspectives of different people. In addition to his WWII historical fiction, Eli writes short stories for one of his ongoing projects, “The Short Story Collection.” Eli graduated from the University of Mount Union with a history degree and a teaching license. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Sarah, and their pets, Nika and Zazu. Find out more at his website https://elikaleauthor.com/ and find him on Twitter @Eli_Kale.