Monday, June 18, 2018

The Fortress by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey - Book Tour and Giveaway

The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death


“Honey, if anybody’s looking for it up here, it means you’re already dead. So it won’t matter to you. Listen now. People will call you on the other phone, the one downstairs, and give you coded messages. As a rule it will be about movements in our direction, Germans, Militia, or even new recruits for our camps. Remember, the security of Mortval depends on you. Here is a list of codes. You must memorize all of them and get rid of the list.”

She started to read. “The strawberries are in their juice. Your walnuts were wormy. You can’t put rabbit in the cassoulet.” She looked up. “Are they all about food?”

“No. Read the next one.”

“Yvette préfère les grosses carrottes. Well?” 

“Well, it’s not about food.”

“Yvette préfère… Oh. I understand now. Did you come up with that one?” 

“I thought it would be memorable.”

“It’s lovely. I bet the British are impressed.”


What do you think makes a good story?

You have to stay far away from formulas, and trust your instinct and your emotions. Where do you feel good? Share that, and share it with passion. Remember that your characters don’t do what they do so you, the writer, will make money. They don’t care about how many books you’re going to sell, or whether you will be famous. They’re not your puppets, they’re not your slaves. If you want your story to be good, write for the story and not the money. 
Now, at a more practical level, it’s amazing what fifty rounds of editions will do for your story. My first draft was abysmal, although I did not know that, thank God, or I would have never submitted it.

What was the hardest part to write? 

For me, it was technical. I am not a writer, not even a native English speaker. I struggled with the American writing format, POV—French people don’t care about POV, anthropomorphism, and even commas. My agent was very patient with me, and although I stood firm against a few of his recommendations, he is the professional touch behind the project. 

What profession would you choose if you were not a writer?

I don’t identify as a writer. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher. I am Christian, I am a woman—but not a feminist. In fact, I am nothing that ends in ist, unless it’s individualist. My day job is teaching a wonderful bunch of non-verbal high-schoolers, a real challenge for someone who lives to share ideas. The positive side is that I won’t get in trouble with my school district for jumping on my soap box and voicing politically incorrect ideas. I like to work, it provides a wealth of details and ideas I can adapt to my stories, particularly the MS I’m working on now.

Do you have any unusual writing rituals?

Yes, of course. A French notebook—thick, silky paper with special lines, a couple of drinks, and Finnish Death Metal. My favorite are Wolfheart, Insomnium, Ghost Brigade, and Swallow the Sun. Sometimes a little Beethoven.

What’s next for you?

My agent said I should do a sequel, but I think I’ve said everything I had to say on the subject, so I am working on the contemporary tale of a young school teacher who is entrapped in a scheme to cast her as a terrorist. There are strong political and religious themes, as well as a romantic element. I guess you could call it a tale of modern resistance. 

Do you prefer ebook, paperback, or hardcover?

Anything but a ebook. I have lots of shelves at home, and there’s a special pleasure in looking around at millions of pages, knowing they’re part of who you are. 

Any last words?

If my four hundred pages make it to someone’s bookshelves and contribute something positive to who they are, I will be happy.


About the Author

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey was born in the French Alps, moved to the United States twenty-five years later, and currently lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, two daughters, and Mikko.


Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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