Ah-MAY-zing Reads 2014: Slambook Interview with Anne Blankman


Hi everyone! Today, I’m interviewing Anne Blankman, whose debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, came out a month ago! Prisoner of Night and Fog has one of the most thrilling premises I’ve heard of and while I’ve yet to read it myself, I am very much eager to know all about it! I hope y’all are too!

The Author

anne blankman slambook interview

Writer loves

  • Comfort food – Apple slices with peanut butter. Yum.
  • TV Show – I just started watching “The Vampire Diaries” on Netflix, and I’m officially obsessed. Team Stefan all the way!
  • Writing ‘fuel’ (beverage) – Water. I know, can I sound more boring?

Fill in the blanks

  • One thing that I both love and hate about writing is… research. I adore learning about different time periods, but it can be frustrating when I come across amazing details that I can’t use for a variety of reasons–sometimes it’s information that my protagonist wouldn’t know or it’s an event that occurs after my story’s time frame. (For example, in PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, I would have loved to share with readers that Hitler’s favorite movie was “King Kong,” but the film came out two years after PRISONER takes place).
  • My usual writing routine is… I have to be very disciplined since I have a young child. Every morning, I get up early and run five miles, using that time to brainstorm and plot out my next scene. As soon as I drop my daughter off at preschool, I race home and write as much as I can.
  • The best tip I could give to aspiring writers is… write. We’re always told to read, and reading is important, too. But the best way to learn how to write is to do it a lot.

The Book

Your debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, is a YA Historical Thriller, set in Munich at the time of Hitler. What made you want to write this unique story?

A couple of years ago, I read a nonfiction book called HITLER & GELI by Ronald Hayman. It’s about Hitler and his little-known, much younger half niece. By all accounts, he loved her very much, and for a few years when he was an emerging politician, she even shared his luxurious apartment in Munich. Long after I finished the book, I couldn’t get Geli out of my head. What must her life have been like, growing up within Hitler’s inner circle? Living with one of the most evil men in history? I knew I had to write a story about someone similar, but I needed the freedom of a fictional character, so Gretchen Müller was born.

Gretchen, your main character, is the favorite of his Uncle “Dolf” a.k.a. Adolf Hitler. How did you develop the relationship between Gretchen and this famous dictator?

This is the first time I’ve ever been asked this question! The answers is: research. Lots and lots of research. I modeled Gretchen’s friendship with Hitler on the relationships he had with three other young women: his half niece Geli Raubal, his eventual mistress Eva Braun, and the daughter of his favorite photographer, Henny Hoffmann. Incidentally, all three of them are characters in PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. And for those of you wondering about Hitler’s “attempted kiss” scene–if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about–that part was inspired by a real incident, when Hitler asked the fifteen-year-old daughter of one of his Party followers for a kiss.

Despite being a Historical Thriller, your book also focuses on the romance between Gretchen and Jewish reporter, Daniel. How would you describe Daniel as a love interest?

Intense, ambitious, sarcastic, quick-witted, and fearless. Some people assume that Daniel’s based on my husband, but they’re actually quite different. I was inspired to create Daniel’s character by the real-life heroic anti-Nazi journalists of the Munich Post (the newspaper where Daniel works in the novel) and my own father, who was a reporter as a young man.

I bet you had to do so much research to piece together this extraordinary novel! Where there parts of the story that featured real-life events?

Oooh, I have to be careful how I answer this so I don’t give away any spoilers! Yes, I wound PRISONER around several real events, including the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, the Nazis’ disastrous attempt to overthrow the government in Munich, which ended in a street shootout in which Gretchen’s fictional father is killed. There’s a certain event that occurs near the story’s end that really happened, too–and I don’t dare reveal it here and ruin any surprises for readers!


anne blankman dedication

Eeeep, yey for sharing secrets! Thanks so much, Anne- especially for the chance to interview you and ask you about your awesome novel! Book nerds, don’t forget to add Prisoner of Night and Fog to your to-read shelves! Looking to follow Anne? Check out her websiteTwitter and Goodreads!

Wanna win PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG? Enter the giveaway below:

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20 Responses

  1. If i was Adolf Hitler’s neice, i’d sneak into his office and call everyone and tell them to release all the Jews and to stop fighting

  2. If I was Adolf Hitler’s niece, I would run away. Because deep down I know what he taught me about Jews are not true. And killing people just because they’re Jews is injustice.

  3. I love any book that takes place during the Holocaust/around World War II. I find it really fascinating, interestingly enough!

  4. I want to read this mainly because I find it super fascinating. My grandfather fought in WWII in Europe, and he never talked about it. When he passed away, we found all these incredible photos, and things he had collected while he was there, it was amazing. It is such a horrific time in the history of our world, and I find the idea of a fiction novel about it very compelling.

  5. I think this book sounds very intriguing. Books taking place during the Holocaust/World War 2 era are usually pretty fascinating.

  6. If I were Adolf Hitler’s niece (this is awkward bc Im a guy) I would make him change his views about Jews.

  7. I love historical fiction and even though the holocaust was one of the most tragic events in history i still find it fascinating, the stories of survival and hope that are spawned from such hate are the most amazing. if i was his niece i would have poisoned his tea or done everything i can to stop him.

  8. Prisoner of Night and Fog is seriously one of my favorite reads this year! It’s just so well-written, so intense and the characters are great. I was so thrilled to hear there would be a sequel!

  9. I love books set during the Second World War and have had my eye on the book for ages.

    If I was Hitler’s niece? I would remind myself every day that I can’t be held accountable for my relative actions and would do as much good as I can to help counter the evil in the world.

  10. If I was Hitlers niece, I’d probably try to help as many Jews as I could, right under his nose. After all (to quote Pippin) “The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm”.. so basically, he’d probably suspect his niece of secretly opposing him the least. If that makes sense :P

  11. I am excited for this because I have been reading futuristic novels but this one is different so I am looking forward to it

  12. I might have betrayed him because he deserves it and apparently he has been using his power to abuse. thanks for this giveaway! very interested with this book.

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