Monday, April 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes with Lizzie: Chapters Two and Three

by April W Gardner

An island occupied by Nazis makes life hazardous, but for an adventurous nine-year-old girl bent on escape, it could be deadly.

Wholesome and filled with adventure and history, Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang is a jackpot for parents on the lookout for good reading material for their kids. Lizzie is written for ages 9-12, and is based on the life of, Ruth Davies, who lived through the German occupation of Guernsey Island. Her own adventures living among the enemy are shared through Lizzie's life in the Channel Islands Resistance series.

To make things more fun, and to help kids keep the facts straight, Ruth is traveling through the book chapter by chapter, chatting about her memories and which parts of the book are real and which are make-believe.

You'll find previous chapters HERE.

Before we jump into chapters two and three, here's a little about the book:

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German bombs drop on her crystal beach, her peaceful world is shattered. For months, the big war on the continent has been nothing more than stories in the paper, but as the enemy takes over Guernsey, the war rushes to her doorstep. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it.

Phillip Seifert, the odd boy from down the street, has all the markings of a genuine Nazi-lover. Lizzie knows better than to trust him, but he somehow manages to weasel his way into James’ good graces. Phillip joins the gang in their audacious escape plan, and Lizzie can do little more than pray he doesn’t get them all shot. But Lizzie soon learns that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way she expects. He might actually plan for them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

Beware! If you haven't read the book yet, there might be spoilers. You can solve that problem by purchasing your copy of Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang today.

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Ruth, were you disappointed about missing the boat?

I was disappointed that we were not going on this “huge” boat, now I think back they weren’t really very big, I certainly wouldn’t want to travel on them now. I was also disappointed I would not see London (as if I would have been taken there), had I packed a very small backpack with one change of underclothes, one item of nightwear one clean dress and my small Bible with pictures in it all for nothing?

However as I trusted my parents with God’s answer to everything they took to Him in prayer, and my father explained that he was not allowed to travel with us and my mother was only permitted to travel because my younger brother Clar was just 4 years old. There was a possibility that we would be separated , having to travel with the other school children and billeted with them for the time being. The whole situation was far less attractive.

Later on that day, Dad explained how Mom and he had prayed the previous night, that if it was God’s Will for us to leave, they would leave the early morning alarm to Him. We had been taught that God never sleeps, therefore that wasn’t the reason He allowed us to sleep in.

As I got older and understood Spiritual things more, I was – and still am - grateful to the Lord that He took us along that path, and even more grateful that He brought us through the trial. We all learned such a lot which we, well certainly I, have never forgotten. I am grateful even now for so many different things, even to this day I would never waste bread by throwing it in the trash, I feed birds with it, but throw it away? Never! I hate to see food waste as it always brings to mind the absolute rotten, mouldy, even filthy stuff (called food) which we had to eat – or go without.

Were you really on the beach at the time of the bombing?

Yes! We certainly were! I was not searching for crabs, but maybe my brothers or cousins were, none of us were swimming for I remember the tide was well out, we always waited for the tide to come in otherwise we had to walk so far out to be even waist high in water, no fun in that. I can still remember the spot where we were, probably just soaking up the sun while waiting for high tide. The bombs did not drop on Cobo Bay, they aimed at an old Napoleonic look-out, thinking no doubt that this was a gun post or something similar, the bay was called Salines Bay, and the target was about ¼ mile away, so close enough to deafen us, I think the planes coming out of nowhere just above our heads were even more frightening. We then heard the thunder of machine guns and bombs over the main harbour in St, Peter Port – the capital of Guernsey. Within minutes my mother appeared looking absolutely terrified rushing us home, no time to get dressed, no time to put shoes on our feet, fortunately the journey home for us just took 5 minutes, and for our cousins 2 minutes, their home was just about on the sea-front. Our biggest fear when we reached home, our father was not back from work, he should have been, but he turned up eventually, after sheltering behind a granite wall just a few minutes from home, there were no bombs dropped in our area, but we were not to know that at the time. He told us he had been praying out loud accompanied by another man he knew, one of the biggest loud-mouthed heathens in Guernsey. This man asked Dad to pray for, (to quote his words) “We have been a wicked lot and God is angry with us”. I would like to imagine that my father’s reply was “Speak for yourself”, but I know it was nothing of the sort.

All this happened on June 28th 1940, two days later June 30th, my father received the most unforgettable Birthday present – the Germans had landed and began the five longest years of our lives.

Learn more about the Channel Islands Resistance series HERE. Visit this site for more about the author and her historical romance series, the Creek Country Saga.

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