The picture is my Dad as a young man, taken about 1947.
My Dad is the original inspiration for writing my novel. He was born and raised in Latvia but left toward the end of World War II. He wound up in Germany in a displaced persons camp where he met my mother and where I was born. We immigrated to the United States when I was three. During my growing up years, Dad often talked about what happened to his country and his family during World War II. He also talked about his early years when Latvia was a free country. His stories stuck in my head and kept pestering me to write them down.
Over time, I also heard stories from other relatives. My maternal grandfather had been a career officer in the Latvian Army. During the first year of occupation by the Soviets (1940-1941), many Latvians were either deported to Siberia or killed on sight. Because of his position in the army, my grandfather, grandmother, mother and her brother were on the list to be shot on sight. As time went on and I heard even more stories, it was my wish to tell the story of the Latvian people, not just a family story. Many things in the novel happened to my family. Many things happened to others. I tried to interweave as many stories as possible in the context of the narrative.
I hope I did them justice.