When I blogged about running this ‘Staying in with…’ feature on 31st December 2017 I didn’t know if anyone would want to take part. Since then almost 80 authors have participated with almost 60 waiting in the wings. I’m just about to take a little blogging break and head off to India looking for tigers, but before I do I’m thrilled to welcome Angelle Petta to Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me and tell me about one of her books.
If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.
Staying in with Angelle Petta
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Angelle.
Hi Linda! Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in “Staying in with Linda.”
A pleasure and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Today I have my debut novel, The Artist and the Soldier with me. I am so excited about this book. I started writing novels 15 years ago, and four novels later I was offered a publishing contract with a small press. The journey has taught me to persevere. I am thrilled to be starting my author career with this historical fiction novel.
(Huge congratulations. The cover of The Artist and the Soldier is wonderful. It makes me want to dive right in!)
The concept for this book is based around two true stories I heard while on a trip to Rome in 2015. The first story was about a film that was made in a Vatican controlled basilica, which saved hundreds of Italian Jews from the Nazis during the occupation. The second story was about summer camps that were run for youth in the 1930’s throughout American that taught the ideals of Hitler. Both stories fascinated me and stayed with me throughout my trip. Thus Max and Bastian, my main characters, were born. I did not see their entire narrative from the start, but I saw them. I wrote their character profiles and part of the outline on the plane ride home from Rome, a few days later. I spent about a year on research and formed the characters and parts of the storyline during the process. Though the main characters are fictional, most of what happens on the novel is based on historical events.
(I love historical fiction and I think The Artist and the Soldier sounds exactly my kind of read.)
What can we expect from an evening in with The Artist and the Soldier?
The Artist and the Solider tells the story of two young men who come of age and fall in love, set against the backdrop of true events during World War II.
It’s 1938. Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel meet at an American-Nazi camp, Siegfried. Neither have any idea what to do with their blooming, confusing feelings for one another. Before they can begin to understand, the pair is yanked apart and forced in opposite directions.
Five years later, during the heart of World War II, Bastian’s American army platoon lands in Salerno, Italy. Max is in Nazi-occupied Rome where he has negotiated a plan to hire Jews on as ‘extras’ in a movie—an elaborate ruse to escape the Nazis. Brought together by circumstance and war, Bastian and Max find one another again in Rome.
Exploring the true stories of Camp Siegfried and the making of the film, La Porta del Cielo, The Artist and the Soldier is intense, fast moving, and sheds light on largely untouched stories in American and Italian history.
(Sounds fabulous Angelle.)
What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
I’ve brought four things with me today. The first is a photo I took in Rome of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, where the movie that the book is based on was filmed.
I also have one of the original movie posters advertising La Porta del Cielo or The Gates of Heaven.
(How interesting. I’d never heard of this film before today.)
Next is a link to the article featured on NPR that inspired the summer camp where the boys meet titled “Nazi Summer Camps In 1930s America?” You can find the article here.
(I’ve visited your link Angelle and found the information fascinating.)
Finally I’ve included one of my favorite quotes from the book:
(What a wonderful sentiment Angelle.)
Thanks so much for staying in with me Angelle, to introduce The Artist and the Soldier. It sounds a wonderful story and I very much look forward to reading it.
The Artist and the Soldier
It’s 1938. Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel meet at a Nazi-American summer camp, Siegfried. Neither boy has any idea what to do with their blooming, confusing feelings for one another. Before they can begin to understand, the pair is yanked back into reality and forced in opposite directions.
Five years later, during the heart of World War II, Bastian’s American army platoon has landed in Salerno, Italy. Max is in Nazi-occupied Rome where he has negotiated a plan to hire Jews as ‘extras’ in a movie—an elaborate ruse to escape the Nazis. Brought together by circumstance and war Bastian and Max find one another again in Rome.
Exploring the true stories of Camp Siegfried, a Nazi-American summer camp in New York and the making of the film, La Porta del Cielo, which saved hundreds of lives, The Artist and the Soldier is intense, fast moving, and sheds light on largely untouched stories in American and Italian history.
Out on 1st May 2018, The Artist and the Soldier is available for pre-order here.
About Angelle Petta
Angelle Petta holds an MA in Theater Education from Emerson College, and a master’s equivalency in Drama Therapy through the NADTA. Angelle is a registered drama therapist and a PhD student at Lesley University. She works as a Drama Therapist at an Expressive Arts Center in Virginia called A Place To Be.
She lives, works, and writes in Northern Virginia along with her husband, two delightful dogs, and one fat cat.