Because this is historical fiction I’ve had to do quite a bit of research to help me wade through it. I know I’ve only touched the surface of what I should know about that time period, but in the meantime this is what I’ve got so far.
Fact vs. Fiction – Chapter Four
Fact: Vernacular … you’ll notice VanBuren called Megan Frauline Vonclese in Chapter Three, but here in Chapter Four I’ve dropped it to call her “Miss Vonclese”. I did that on purpose. As I’m writing primarily for an English-speaking audience — I speak English, I write in English, I understand things in English — I thought it best to help equate what ‘Frauline’ means roughly in … you guessed it … English.
Way back in Chapter Two I used the word “Nein” as well, because I wanted to make it clear who was plucking her out of the ocean. I use German sporadically throughout the book but don’t want to frustrate readers with too much of it. (Remember, I’ve got a primarily English-speaking audience.)
Fiction: I don’t go into too much detail with the port authority and everything. This is for two reasons; one, I’m really not familiar with how the Nazi party would have handled this particular situation; and two, VanBuren is rich enough to circumvent the normal processes anyway.
However, it’s safe to say that if Megan were a real person and had somehow been rescued by a German vessel in the middle of WWII, she would not have been show this much lenience. She’d likely be sent to a camp somewhere to wait out the war. I acknowledge this and then point emphatically at the word “fiction”, asking for … well … some suspension of disbelief.
Fact: Frostbite! This was actually researched for Chapter’s 3 & 4 due to Megan’s lengthy stay in the water. I learned that, in the event of frostbite, you actually have to keep appendages (such as Megan’s poor feet) in water and slowly acclimate them to warmth over a period of time.
Also, those parts of the body that have suffered frostbite cannot be used until they are completely healed. (Which explains why Megan was in bed for all of Chapter Three.)
Having never suffered frostbite myself, I am only imagining that two to three weeks after the injury Megan would still feel some tenderness on her rescue toes. Especially given she hasn’t actually been allowed to walk for much of that time while the feet were healing.
Fiction: The bakery scene. Honestly, I’m not sure how good Wilhelmshaven looked after the 1941 bombing of the port town. I’m not certain they would have kept a bakery open in such a targeted area during the war.
But I needed a place for Megan to meet up with Schuler. It’s possible that I could alter this scene in a future revision to show Megan and VanBuren making their way to the train depot instead.
Author’s Note: Now that I look at it, the depot does seem like a better place to send her. I will likely change it.