The Dukes Wrath cover.jpgEscape from the Past: The Duke’s Wrath
By Annette Oppenlander
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Time-Travel
Release Date: July 31st 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever.

Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets’ nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

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The Kid - cover.jpgEscape from the past: The Kid (Escape from the Past #2)
By Annette Oppenlander
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Time-Travel
Release Date: February 26th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Time-traveling gamer, Max, embarks on a harrowing journey through the Wild West of 1881! After a huge fight with his parents, Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler s evil computer game misleading him, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.”

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At Witches End cover.jpgEscape from the Past: At Witches’ End (Escape from the Past #3)
By Annette Oppenlander
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Time-Travel, Action/Adventure
Release Date: November 25th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

When Max learns that Karl helped spring him from Schwarzburg’s dungeon during the first game, he feels obligated to return the favor. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but supposedly Max is the one who rescued Karl from Hanstein in 1473 and helped him return home.
With Karl’s programming help Max reluctantly agrees to enter the game a third time. At least he can visit his old friends and get cozy with Juliana while he’s at it. But two years is a long time in the Middle Ages. Something foul is in the air. Lord Werner is mysteriously absent and the new guards refuse Max entrance. Even Bero’s mother is terrified to see him. With no place to stay, Max soon finds himself on the run from Schwarzburg who hasn’t forgotten Max’s miraculous escape two years earlier.
When at last Max finagles a way into the castle, Bero is less than pleased to see him, Lady Clara is near death and Juliana is not meeting his eyes. Can Max sway his friends, help Karl and stay out of Schwarzburg’s clutches? And will he ultimately stop Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game?

This is the final book in the Escape from the Past trilogy.

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annette oppenlander.jpgAbout the Author
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults and anyone who loves stories set in the past. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

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To celebrate the release of AT WITCHES’ END, my publisher has reduced the eBook price of book one, THE DUKE’S WRATH, and two, THE KID, to $0.99 each – regularly $6.99 each.

Guest Post –The difficulties that arise while writing historical fiction
I’d have to say that straight-up history, the way I was taught in school, was super boring. I remember long lists of battle dates and bloody conflict. So, when I think of historical fiction the way I write, I’d describe it as historical action/adventure. Rather than having history as the basis for the story, the story comes first and is then infused with history. In other words I attempt to immerse the reader into a world set sometime in the past.

I’m fascinated by the many colorful and exciting times humans have lived and suffered through. I find that the more I dig into the past of an individual, the more interesting that person becomes. Let’s take Lord Werner von Hanstein, a knight who lived in Thuringia, Germany during the late Middle Ages. He was master of Castle Hanstein and had a love affair with a beautiful woman. He also feuded with a nasty duke, did a bit of street robbery and later in life became city captain of Lübeck in Northern Germany. I typically use real characters who lived in a particular era and weave my stories around them.

That said there are a number of challenges when writing historical fiction.

Each genre has their particulars. With historical fiction, you’ve got to know a lot about the era your story takes place in. That includes things like landscape, way-of-life, belief systems, food, drink, housing, weather, behaviors, speech patterns, dress and a few more. The farther back in time we go, the less is known about the specifics of every-day life. So the author has more freedom to invent. We do know quite a bit about life in the Middle Ages, so I spent considerable amount of time researching the most minute details. Imagine all these details feeding into a blank canvass until you’ve got a solid image of what that setting is like. Understand what people wanted and lived for. What they hated and feared. And while we’ll never truly know what life was like, a solid historian will seek to understand as much as possible. All that research takes a lot of extra time, so a historical novelist is willing to put his writing aside in favor of studying the era.

To give another example of a challenging setting in history, I’m currently completing a manuscript set during the American Civil War. While much is known about the Middle Ages, the American Civil War has been researched in much greater detail. There were thousands of skirmishes all over the country, there are documents, even photos available. The more is known, the more important it becomes to avoid errors in detailing a setting. I must know the dates, weather patterns, the size of troops, who was where when, what decisions were made, the types of weapons used, casualties and injured, and, and… Whatever story I invent, it better fit within the parameters of the historical data.
Good thing I love researching history or I’d never get anything done.

 

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