Wednesday, April 20, 2016

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with James McManus - Midnight in Berlin

I'm so excited to be bringing this interview with author James McManus about his new release Midnight in Berlin. It seems like there are WWII stories popping out all over now and I have to admit that they are always on the top of my wish list.
Enjoy the interview with James then enter to win a copy of the book sponsored by Jame's US Publisher, St. Martin's Press, Giveaway details below.

ISBN-13: 9781250079404
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 04/19/2016
Length: 416pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


Berlin in the spring of 1939. Hitler is preparing for war. Colonel Noel Macrae, a British diplomat, plans the ultimate sacrifice to stop him. The West’s appeasement policies have failed. There is only one alternative: assassination. The Gestapo, aware of Macrae’s hostility, seeks to compromise him in their infamous brothel. There Macrae meets and falls in love with Sara, a Jewish woman blackmailed into becoming a Nazi courtesan.
Macrae finds himself trapped between the blind policies of his government and the dark world of betrayal and deception in Berlin. As he seeks to save the woman he loves from the brutality of the Gestapo, he defies his government and plans direct action to avert what he knows will be a global war.
Inspired by true events and characters, James MacManus’s Midnight in Berlin is a passionate story that will leave you in awe of the human capacity for courage, sacrifice, and love set against a world on the brink of war.

The Giveaway is for one print copy of
Midnight in Berlin by James McManus
Please use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks St. Martin's Press
Good Luck!

Read an excerpt courtesy of James McManus:

She reached across the table and placed a hand on his arm. Frown lines creased her forehead. The dark eyes looked at him imploringly. She was breathing heavily – hyperventilating, thought Macrae. He saw the swell of her breast against the red dress. She’s going to faint, he thought. He looked around for a waitress.
‘Look at me,’ she whispered.
He looked at her properly for the first time, swirling the dregs of brandy in the tulip-shaped glass, badly wanting another one. Her eyes were dark and deep beneath long lashes heavy with mascara. Her small oval face, pale and powdered, looked fragile and pretty, like a fine china doll. Claret-red lipstick traced a perfect bow over her mouth. There was a beauty spot on one cheek and faint beads of perspiration along her upper lip.
She would have looked childish but for the long ringlets of dark hair that dropped to her shoulders. Her sleeveless dress rose from ankle to neck. It was tight, designed to emphasize her figure, and he could see the faint rise in the fabric made by her nipples. The image of a china doll dissolved, to be replaced by that of an actress. That’s what she was, he thought, a beautiful actress, with the powdered face and imploring eyes of a silent-movie heroine.
‘I’m not asking much, just news of my brother.’
‘Joseph Sternschein?’ he said.
‘Yes. I’d give anything to know that he is at least alive.’ She shifted slightly in her chair, taking her hand from his arm, sitting up, her shoulders back. ‘Anything,’ she said again.
He shook his head, finished his brandy and got to his feet.
‘If I asked, they would want to know why. The Gestapo would be curious. I am a diplomat, after all.’
‘And he’s just a kid in one of their camps, right? Just another number on a file?’
He sighed and looked across the room at the door. ‘We have to deal with these people every day; it’s not nice and it’s not easy.’
‘And you don’t want to upset them – is that it?’
Her eyes had lost their soft appeal. She was angry. ‘You know, I hear things back there…’ She jerked her head towards the fanlight door.
‘What sort of things?’
‘You would be surprised what some very important people tell me. It’s all part of the power thing, isn’t it? Men want to impress me with their little secrets.’
‘I must go,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what you’re doing here, but…’
She reached across and took his arm, this time gripping it tightly. She stabbed her forefinger at the table, the varnished nail beating out an urgent tattoo. ‘I’ve told you what I’m doing here. I’m doing it with some of the most powerful men in this country. I’m good at it. They like me. And I don’t have any choice – do you understand?’
She got up and walked back to the bar. Almost immediately, a man sat beside her.

James, hi welcome to The Reading Frenzy to talk about your latest release Midnight in Berlin.
Was there a particular catalyst that led you to write now about these real events in 1938-39?
There was no lighting strike of inspiration behind the writing of Midnight in Berlin.What caught my eye however was the reference to a plan to assassinate Hitler by a British diplomat  in a video I watched one day  about pre war German history. I thought  this very strange and on investigation discovered that it a Colonel Noel Mason-MacFarlane,the military attache at the British embassy had proposed the plan.
Further research revealed that the British government had turned the plan down "became it would not be sportsmanlike behaviour."  All this happened in 1939 when we could so easily have prevented the outbreak of war in September that year.That is what got me going.

I was reading your blog post about the appeasement of Hitler prior to war. Even in the light of the world’s present turmoil, do you think this would have happened today?
The way we appeased Hitler in the late thirties, ie by  refusing to criticise his aggressive land grabs in eastern Europe and by turning a blind eye to the savage treatment of the Jews, reflects  in my view our pusillanimous policies towards Putin in Moscow today. The west raised not a finger when Putin took over Crimea and we have said nothing about the continued persecution and occasional assassination of his political opponents inside Russia and beyond its borders. Plus ca change

James do you think your being a journalist makes you a better author and if so how?
The discipline of journalism, that of the need  for swift  accurate  research and getting basic facts right, certainly helps a novelist, especially a writer of historical novels. Charles Dickens was one of our greatest journalists and that gave him  an eye for detail and an ear from common speech that informs all his novels.

You’ve written both contemporary and historical fiction. Is there one over the other you prefer to write?
I love bringing history to life in fictional form because doing so in a credible way that stays true to the time place and people of the story gives readers a window onto the past that is both entertaining and informative.More people have learnt about the American Civil war and Reconstruction from  Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind than ever did so in class.Her history is flawed in that it glosses over the whole issue of slavery but nevertheless it gives a compelling account  of  southern plantation life at that time.

James you’ve also wrote a screenplay based on the real George Hogg an English adventurer credited with saving orphans in China during the Japanese occupation that was subsequently turned into a film.
Are there more screenplays in your future?
I love writing screenplays although it is a maddening collaborative medium for a writer. Yes i hope so.

You say you launched a “parallel” novelist career in 2005. Are you still working as a journalist?
I no longer work as a journalist but retain the position of Managing Director of the Times (of London) Literary Supplement. This is a weekly publication which carries reviews of the best in the fields of literature, cultural events  and also publishes original poetry and essays.

James are you a reader, if so what do you like to read?
Writers never have time to read as much as they would like.I am currently  enjoying James Salter's "A Sport and a Pastime" which is both a great literary novel and  an erotic masterpiece - a very rare combination. Elena Ferrante's "My Brilliant Friend" stares at me accusingly from my bedside table but I am going to go next to Garrett Mattingly's much praised "Armada " a Pulitizer prize  winning account of Spain's doomed attempt to invade England in the 16th century -  history served with zest and relish.
Finally I am dipping in and out of the late Christoper Hitchens' posthumously published collection of essays "And Yet".Combining the pugnacity of a Normal Mailer and the wit of an Oscar Wilde Hitch, as he was known, never let you put his books down whether you agreed with him or not..

James, thanks so much for answering my questions, good luck with your new release!

Midnight in Berlin Book trailer

Connect with James - Website - Facebook - Twitter

MEET James:
James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of Ocean Devil, which was made into a film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, The Language of the Sea, Black Venus, and Sleep in Peace Tonight.He lives in London.

Today's Gonereading item is:
Keeping in with our British author
A Shakespeare Journal
Click HERE for the buy page

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Ha unsportsmanlike behavior! Funny to think about now isn't it? Well not funny but now I dont' think we would even second guess it when it comes to people like him.

    Great interview Debbie and so interesting!

    1. Thanks Ali I love learning about new to me authors

  2. I enjoyed this informative interview very much. This novel set during an era which has profound depth and meaning is a treasure since World War 11 novels are my favorite of all. I read this author's other novel and loved it. My favorite World War 11 novel is The Winds of War by Herman Wouk. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway.

    1. Thanks for the very nice compliment traveler. Good Luck!

  3. There are indeed many WW11 fiction books popping up. I am reading one that is abhorrent in many ways but does hold up a mirror. Maybe we have much to learn yet as the author points out about today's world letting a certain someone off the hook.

    1. You know Kathryn its funny you should say this because as I was thinking up the interview questions I was thinking that a monster like Hitler would not have been able to do those awful things today but then I think of all the warlords in tiny African/Middle Eastern, fill n the blank 3rd world countries and ethnic cleansing goes on right now under our noses.

  4. It's always so interesting to see what sparked a story/book. Thanks for the intro!