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Interview: Soren Paul Petrek, Author of Cold Lonely Courage

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While living in England and France, Soren Paul Petrek listened to people’s stories of struggle and sacrifice during the darkest periods of the war.  Soren’s debut novel, Cold Lonely Courage, draws on that.  It was inspired by the true story of a young Belgian woman who helped countless Jewish children escape from the terrors of the Nazi regime. This is a story that is sure to grip readers.

Soren resides in Minnesota with his wife and sons Max and Riley.  You can find Soren Paul Petrek at his blog, Cold Lonely Courage.

 Please tell us a bit about your book.

An assassin born of death and violation is the most dangerous of all. Cold Lonely Courage tells her story.

The action begins during the German Blitzkrieg attack on France in the opening days of World War II. The heroine, Madeleine Toche, races to the front to find her brother dying after his unit is destroyed as the Germans advance. Crushed, Madeleine returns his body to her parents.

In the months that follow, Madeleine is raped by a Nazi officer. Seeking revenge she kills him and flees to England to volunteer for duty with Britain's shadowy Special Operations Executive. Trained as an assassin, she clandestinely returns to France with Captain Jack Teach a veteran of the SOE 'Dirty Tricks Department'. They find themselves in love but are torn apart by duty and the insurmountable odds of survival. Madeleine fights on terrorizing the murderous Nazi elite always only one step ahead of capture and torture.

If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I would like to meet Madeleine. She is the embodiment of courage and self-sacrifice. She is a balance of compassion and rage, seeing herself as an instrument of good in the face of consumate evil. Few characters like Madeleine exist in fiction and fewer in real life.

If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?

I would like to be the defense attorney in the murder trial of an innocent man. In the tradition of Perry Mason, I'd reveal the true killer as I destroyed him on cross- examination.

Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your "writing mood"?

I write at my office in the early morning or on weekends. I try to get a page or two written per day. When I write the story often reveals itself in intense bursts. When that happens, I write until I have everything down. Those periods can produce several chapters at once.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading Elmore Leonard's novels. I recently finished The Hot Kid.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?

My favorite book is Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and I love Tolkein's The Lord of The Rings.

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I'd like to meet Carl Hiassen. I've read all of his novels and enjoy the balance between the believable and fantastic in his writing. He would be able to offer effective critique and insight into the world of publishing. I really enjoyed Hiassen's Sick Puppy.

Okay, here are a few "get to know you better" questions:

Please share with us a favorite memory.

I was six years old and living in Provence with my parents and sister. My sister, Michele and I were 'fishing' in the harbor in Cassis. I had a piece of white string with a paper clip on the end of it for a hook. My bait was a sliver of sausage. My parents were nearby when I leaned too far forward and fell headfirst into the water. I was pulled out and dried off by a nice Frenchman, who wrapped me in a towel and calmed me down just as my parents walked up. It could have happened yesterday.

Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present.

I love to share Dim Sum with family and friends. Long, lazy meals foster conversation and intimate interaction. Most often my favorite moments involve meals, friends and family. The variety of offerings during a Dim Sum meal never cease to amaze me.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax?

I love to read, cook or just hang out. I'm not an extravagant person and enjoy the abundance of simple pleasures in life.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would live in the Caribbean. I love the weather, the sea and the variety of cultural influences. I would move from island to island and experience the world in paradise.

If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol

I would chose Elmore Leonard. He has written dozens of novels. I enjoy his crisp, spare style.

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.

In addition to writing prose, I am interested in song writing. I am pursuing my dream of publishing several entertaining novels.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Some of my guilty pleasures are:

1. Fried chicken with blue cheese and tabasco sauce.
2. I am always willing to drive to buy chocolate.
3. Coca-Cola. Sometimes I think it is the elixir of life.

If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Love one another.

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