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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

ℚ Sudetenland - George T. Chronis

Today we have the pleasure of talking to George T. Chronis, author of Sudetenland (, George T. Chronis), a historical fiction novel that unfolds in Central Europe between 1930 and 1938 and which has received high praises:

"Chronis impresses with such a challenging and intriguing debut effort, well written, impeccably researched.” —  Unshelfish

"Kudos to the author who took on an era that is fraught with complexity and what-ifs." 
Coffee Hobby

 “Anyone that is looking for a thorough and rewarding read will enjoy Sudetenland.” — Book Nerd

“The plot moves quickly along keeping you intrigued with well defined characters and great imagery to help immerse yourself in the story… I adored the way George managed to weave together the tragedy of war, depression and politics with romance, love and hope.” — Pirate Girl"


Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops
Hello George and thank you for joining us today at BooksChatter

What was your inspiration for Sudetenland, your first novel?

"When I was a teenager in the 1970s I had a pen pal in Prague.  We exchanged a lot of stuff.  I would send him model kits and he would send me history books and magazines.  They were all in Czech but there were lots of color plates and pictures so you could pick up a lot.  It was fun getting a window on mid-century history from a different perspective.

Having devoured history books with a passion I was aware of the Sudeten Crisis of 1938 between Germany and Czechoslovakia and the materials I received from my pen pal led me to look deeper into English sources.  Much later when I decided to try writing a novel, I wanted a background scenario with a lot of intrigue and suspense for my characters to navigate and I kept on coming back to the Sudeten Crisis. "
How much of yourself is reflected in Sudetenland, and how?
"A great deal, I imagine – not so much my personal experience but a lot of things I am passionate about.  I adore the 1930s as an era.  It is no surprise that I ended up in a film program in college since I have a love of '30s motion pictures with their smart and sassy characters.  The director Howard Hawks had a penchant for storytelling that I enjoy and appreciate with a sense of intertwining relationships between people and how they are connected while going about their business. He also had the ability to shift from drama, screwball comedy or adventure and back again as needed to tell the story. These are traits that I tried to bring to Sudetenland.

My fondness for history less traveled is also in there.  I find many people are not that aware of Central European side of the run-up to World War II, but they really like being introduced to it.  Peg it to my days as a journalist but I really enjoy personal observations of major events so I tried to pull in as many of those as possible from my research into the novel.  Similarly, much of the book is experienced through foreign correspondents.  Having spent most of my adult life as a journalist and editor they are close to my heart and provide a chaotic element to the narrative."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Sudenterland – why you chose that concept and who the artist is?
"Since there is a strong suspense element to Sudetenland I wanted a cover that was a bit edgy.  Many historical fiction novels come off a little stiff or too much like a textbook.  So I went searching through portfolios until I found Adrijus Guscia in Dublin, Ireland.  He's a great young cover designer and very easy to work with.

My concept was for a clash of symbols between Czechoslovakia and Germany.  We kept proposing different concepts until we hit upon the Brandenburg Gate and the Czechoslovak lion from the national monument on Vítkov hill in Prague.  Adrijus did a fantastic job from there and that's how the cover came to be."
What sets your novel Sudenterland apart from the rest and makes it unique?
"Sudetenland is a great story with lots of twists and turns that draw you in and keep you interested.  The subject matter has not been dealt with that much in Western novels, and those that have broached the subject do not feature the same level of historical detail, so most readers will find this is new territory.  To my great pleasure, women and men both enjoy Sudetenland."
Can you tell us something quirky about Sudenterland and its characters?
"Let's see, one of my correspondents, Ros, was named after Rosalind Russell from her role in His Girl Friday.  The American military attaché, Bulloch, is several generations removed from the Civil War and shares the same last name as a Confederate naval secretary.

Despite the emphasis on historical accuracy, the last quarter of the book veers off into alternative history so that I may set up a completely unique Cold War to play with in the sequels."
Who would you recommend Sudenterland to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Sudetenland is a pretty soft R as ratings go so it should be fine for teenagers and older.  Since the narrative threat is mostly of the exterior variety I was initially concerned that the appeal would be more to men.  But what I have discovered since the book was published is that women appreciate the story, the historical detail, the suspense, the pacing and how the characters develop.  So anyone who enjoys the World War II era and are looking for something a little different should check Sudetenland out.  An interesting factoid is that a quarter of my sales have come from the United Kingdom."
If you could turn Sudenterland into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"That's a tough one since the director has to be capable of switching from drama and adventure to a little screwball comedy without undercutting the poignant aspects.  Sudetenland is also a big book, so we are probably talking a mini-series on television.  I would want J. Michael Straczynski to produce and adapt the book for the screen.  Someone like Doug Liman might work well as director.  My tendency would be to cast a lot of fresh faces for the characters since I think they would bring fresh interpretations to their roles."


What do you like to read and write about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"My sense of storytelling tends to draw from a lot of genres in the sense that good stories all have a bit of drama, comedy, romance and adventure to them.  With that orientation, you can shift from historical to science fiction without missing a beat if the story is there.

While I work on the sequel to Sudetenland, my next novel is a fun little Film Noir that I am adapting from a screenplay I wrote ages ago.

Pretty much I like stories with smart people thrown into a stimulating crisis where they have to sink or swim and learn more about themselves in the process.  My love of history keeps me somewhat grounded in reality, but I enjoy fantasy stories that feature the same traits."
What is you writing process?
"I like a broad outline where I know where I am starting, where I am finishing and major points in-between.  That provides me the freedom to adjust and adapt as characters take on a life of their own and I need to adapt the story around them.

That was the case with Sudetenland, which originally was a much more modest endeavor with a heavier emphasis on espionage.  But I fell in love with Ros and decided I wanted to give her more to do.  That required more correspondents for her to play off of, and a whole new sequence in Vienna to get them rolling.  This was great for the story since all of these reporters could be placed to be eyewitnesses to major events, as well as introducing comedy for tension relief.  With all those changes I still started off in the same place and ended in the same place I mapped out."
What is in store next?
"That little Film Noir is next but the big project is the sequel to Sudetenland.  I am working on primary research now.

This is a little different as now I am working with alternative fiction with as strong an historical base as I can manage.  That means the research is more contextual regarding the cultures and circumstances I am dealing with.  For example, the sequel operates in Asia as well as Europe so there are cases like Korea under Japanese colonial rule where I want to know as much as possible about what it was like to live there during those times.

Even though I will progressively be generating circumstances and events in the story, this time around I want them to have the feeling of authenticity.  As I alluded to before, I am introducing a completely different Cold War with unique dynamics that arrives 10 years early.  It all takes place on a global stage with each installment set around a new crisis. "
Thank you for sharing so much with us.  I truly look forward to reading Sudenterland - and that line-up for a TV series sounds awesome ;-)  BooksChatter wishes you all the best for the rest of the tour and your latest endeavours.

Sudetenland  - available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US find on Goodreads

10 comments:

  1. Really nicely done with all of the links and art. Great job. I am honored.

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    1. Good morning! Thank you for stopping by. And thank you for the great content :-)

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  2. I really enjoyed your comments. Sounds like a fascinating book.

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    1. Hello MomJane

      thank you for visiting. Have you tried the first three chapters that are available on Amazon (see link above)?

      Happy reading,

      BooksChatter

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  3. I really enjoyed the interview and I find it interesting that your inspiration came through your pen pal. I wonder if pen pals even exist today~I guess it would be email pals. Your book sounds terrific! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Betty. Yes, those were different days. My daughter often makes new pals via online forums dedicated to specific subjects she follows, so there is always the opportunity to trade some international culture today. In my case, I was a young scale modeler. The international group had a pen pal program that all the national chapters made available to their members. You put your name in and they made the pen pal match. I hope you look further into the book. There are three chapters on tap via the ebook listing on Amazon. All the best.

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    2. Hi Betty and George,

      Pen Pals: that was exactly my thought. I suppose things nowadays are a lot more immediate with all of the social of the media platforms available to us.

      Three Chapters: I will add an Amazon Look Inside link.

      Thank you for stopping by :-)

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