Monday, December 2, 2019

Blog Tour Q&A: The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton

Please join me in welcoming Andie Newton to Let Them Read Books! Andie is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical novel, The Girl I Left Behind, and I had the chance to ask her about the inspiration for the story and the characters. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of The Girl I Left Behind!

What would you risk to save our best-friend?

As a young girl, Ella never considered that those around her weren’t as they appeared. But when her childhood best-friend shows Ella that you can’t always believe what you see, Ella finds herself thrown into the world of the German Resistance.

On a dark night in 1941, Claudia is taken by the Gestapo, likely never to be seen again, unless Ella can save her. With the help of the man she loves, Ella must undertake her most dangerous mission yet and infiltrate the Nazi Party.

Selling secrets isn’t an easy job. In order to find Claudia, Ella must risk not only her life, but the lives of those she cares about.

Will Ella be able to leave behind the girl of her youth and step into the shoes of another?

Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The German Midwife and Kate Furnivall.


Hi Andie! Thanks so much for stopping by Let Them Read Books!

What inspired you to write The Girl I Left Behind?

I never thought I’d write a novel. Ever. By accident, I caught a documentary on the History Channel that talked about the youth resistance. I have a degree in history, so I suppose you can say my thoughts are already in the past, and when I find areas of history that I don’t know a lot about, I’m always inspired to find out more. I searched for a novel about the youth German Resistance and couldn’t find one, and as cliché as it sounds, I set out to write the novel I wanted to read.

I had so many questions. How far would a young person go in the name of freedom? Most importantly, what would make them break? In my book, Ella, the main character, joins a resistance group called the Falcons. This group was inspired by the resistance groups that existed in Nazi Germany at the time. The White Rose, probably one of the most notable youth resistance groups, was a passive group of young adults known for their anti-Nazi leaflets. The Swing Kids was another, a group (and a movement) who openly resisted the confines of Nazi behavior. They listened to banned music and essentially behaved like American teens, which was absolutely scandalous and an arrestable offense. However, not all youth resistance groups were passive. In fact, some were violent street thugs who sought out kids in the Hitler Youth to beat up.

Yet, in between these groups, between the passive and the aggressive, there were youths printing phony identification papers and providing safe houses for Jews—ah, now this was getting very interesting. Then there were the special sects: renegades—some of them female—who sabotaged patrols, schemed to assassinate Hitler, and infiltrated the Reich to spy for the British. It was upon learning this that the idea to have The Girl I Left Behind play out as a female-driven spy novel became too good to resist. 

How did you shape your characters? Did they pop into your head fully formed, or did you discover them as you wrote?

I had a general idea of how the characters behaved, and what their beliefs were, but they didn’t become fully developed until I started experimenting with dialogue. I envy writers who can flesh out their characters and write plot outlines before they start writing their books. Some writers tweet photos of their desks with post-its on the wall, their story all planned out. I’m just not that way (I did try once.)

What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you get to go somewhere memorable or discover anything that surprised you?

I began this novel ten years ago. In 2009, there was an average amount of information on the internet and at my library about the youth resistance, but I knew I needed to go to the source and ask questions—I needed to ask Germans in Germany. I knew that Germans were reluctant to talk about this dark period of their history, so I looked up businesses in and around the areas my characters found themselves. I figured that if they had a section on their website about their shop’s history (which several did—mostly about the building’s history throughout the ages) they might reply to an email. Some got back to me; some did not. The Korn und Berg bookstore was one who wrote back. It was through this exchange I learned that Hitler didn’t like the bookstore’s windows, and during a rally he broke away, walked right into the store and demanded the owner change the shape. This is just one of the many nuggets I found. And yes, I wrote this into the story.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope readers come away with a greater understanding of those who lived inside Nazi Germany, more so, what life was like for Germans who didn’t believe in the Reich’s ideologies. There was an incredibly brave movement by Germany’s young people. They risked their lives and did extraordinary things during an extraordinary time. Like I said earlier, when I first came upon the subject of the youth resistance, I looked for a novel on the subject and couldn’t find one. I think that is a shame. These young people deserve many novels written about them.

What are you working on now?

My next book will be out this summer, The Girl from Vichy. It’s about a woman who joins the French Resistance (1942) and spies on her collaborator boyfriend—a gendarme in the Vichy police. This book is about a family that is politically divided, which was really interesting to write, given the state of our political landscape in America and in the UK, which is really divided. My third book with Aria Fiction is still top secret. (I just finished writing it and my agent is currently reviewing.) What I can tell you is that it’s a WWII female-driven spy novel involving American women, and I absolutely love it.

The Girl I Left Behind is on a blog tour!

About the Author:

Andie is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven WWII historical fiction. Her debut novel, THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND, was published by Aria Fiction in October 2019. THE GIRL FROM VICHY, her second novel with Aria Fiction, will be released in July 2020 with a third untitled novel due to release in 2021. She has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Washington State University and a Master in Teaching. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, trail running, traveling the world, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Andie would love to be a guest at your next book club! You can find discussion questions for her novels on her website You can also find Andie on FacebookTwitterInstagramBookBub, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Girl I Left Behind! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
The Girl I Left Behind

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting Andie's Blog Tour! I loved the interview!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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