All right, friends – I’ve got another fantastic author and writer for you. Teresa Funke is an award-winning author of six books for children and adults both, all of which stem around adventures of World War II. I got to read one of her books, Dancing in Combat Boots, and couldn’t get enough of the stories of women from that period in life. Keep reading to hear the story behind HER story, and leave a comment here or on Instagram to win the Home-Front Heroes Series! (Elementary and middle school teachers, this would be a GREAT addition to your classroom).
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I love personality evaluations, so I can tell you, I’m a first-born, a Leo, and an ENFJ, and my Fascination Triggers are Rebellion and Prestige. I’m a 7 on the Enneagram, and my Love Language is Quality Time. My top five strengths in Strength’s Finder are Ideation, Activator, Maximizer, Input, and Futuristic. I’m also a Slytherin, but I don’t like to talk about that.
I’m an author, speaker, and nationwide writer’s coach. I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and that’s where I met my wonderful husband. We moved to Colorado 25 years ago and love it. We have three awesome children, ages 23, 21, and 19. I’m a film and theater buff and an avid reader. I have a rule that I must visit one new state or country every year.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? My first book, Remember Wake, is an adult novel based on the memories of a man who was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the outset of WWII and spent the entire war in POW camps. My second book, Dancing in Combat Boots: and other stories of American Women in World War II is a collection of short stories based on the memories of 10 very diverse women. I am now working on my children’s series, the Home-Front Heroes. It’s a multi-cultural, middle-grade series, and each book is based on a real person I’ve interviewed, but the stories read fast and fun. There’s a story of a Caucasian girl working in a war factory, a Japanese-American boy in an internment camp, a Mexican-American boy in San Antonio, and a Jewish girl in the Bronx.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? I didn’t set out to spend 25 years writing about World War II, but I was working for a PBS series when I met the man who inspired Remember Wake, and I was shocked that I had never heard a story as enthralling as his. In creating that novel, I also discovered that no one in 50 years had ever asked the wives of the Wake Island men what they had endured. The knowledge that women’s WWII contributions had been overlooked led me to write the second book.
Then something interesting happened. I started getting invited to speak at elementary schools about writing and World War II. But we never got to the writing part. The kids were so interested in the war. These were fifth grade students who had never heard of Pearl Harbor or Adolph Hitler. So the kids suggested I write a children’s book. I’m currently working on the fifth book in that series, which is about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and I’m pleased to say that my books are now taught in classrooms across the country. So hopefully kids are now learning about this fascinating time period.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? The comment that always makes me the happiest is when people tell me, “I didn’t know much about World War II until I read your book/s. Now I want to learn more.” Whether it is an adult or a child (and lots of adults seem to read my children’s books too for some reason), the thought that I am preserving history and the memories of real people makes me glad. I don’t write about famous people or battles, I write about ordinary people rising to the challenges of an extraordinary time, and I think people can relate to my characters. They put themselves in their shoes and ask what they would have done in similar situations. I love that kind of immersion in reading and learning.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? That is a great question. Mostly I’ve been changed by the wonderful people whose stories I have captured in print. I can still hear each of their voices, and I still live by some of the advice they gave me. I’ve also been changed by the fans who have come up to me after a reading or written me an e-mail to tell me what my books meant to them, or how, after reading my stories, they talked to their own relatives about their experiences during the war. Writing these books has taught me discipline, given me courage, and convinced me to never give up on a project in which you believe.
How and where can we find you on the internet? Visit me at www.teresafunke.com to learn more about my books, see pictures of the real people I interviewed, learn about our resources for teachers, purchase sets of the books and more. You will also find free writing videos on my website and lists of resources to help you on your writing and publishing journey. Sign up to receive my monthly newsletter to get the latest information or enter our giveaways. You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Lastly, you can access my instructional webinars at www.writingblueprints.com or get $50 off my Self-Publishing Blueprint at www.spblueprint.com. The Self-Publishing Blueprint is the only resource you will need to cut through the confusion of self-publishing and save you from costly mistakes.
Teresa puts out some pretty fascinating stuff, folks – and I love that she and I are both rocking the Enneagram Seven and ENFJ (her) and P (me) boat. Nearly same-same, I say. Leave a comment here to win a copy of the Home-Front Heroes series, or head over to Instagram for even more chances to win. Contest ends Friday, September 29th. Good luck!
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