Airdrie author combines fact and fiction to write WWII spy thriller


A novice novelist from Airdrie used her primary research skills to create a story that combines fictional characters with the historical precision of World War II.

A novice novelist from Airdrie used her primary research skills to create a story that combines fictional characters with historical WWII precision.

Elizabeth Gordanier, a Jensen-based author, recently published her first novel – Family love and betrayal. The 212-page book, which is the first in a trilogy, is set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War II.

According to Gordanier, the plot follows the story of Helga, a young Dutch woman who is forced to work at the Amsterdam Central Register for the Nazis, due to her multilingual skills. While working there, Helga becomes curious about a secret room and tries to find out what is going on behind the closed door. After being promoted, she uses her knowledge of the inner workings of the registry to undermine the Nazi regime.

Gordanier said that while the plot and characters are fictional, the story contains a lot of historical accuracy.

“I’ve always had an interest in history because my father was a history buff,” she said. “He always taught me that when you read a book you have to look for the facts, and that’s what I started to do.”

As an example of the historical correctness of the story, Gordanier explained that the central register in Amsterdam was a real place, where residents and refugees had to apply for identity cards showing their name, age, their religion, profession and other personal information in order for the Nazis to keep tabs on people.

Gordanier said she conducted months of primary research before starting the writing process, studying the historical archives of museums in the Netherlands, Germany and other places.

“It’s a lot of careful digging,” she said, adding that her main research skills were honed while working in the Alberta Legislature for two years.

“I got my hands on the archives and museums in Amsterdam. I could translate the information and learn more and more. I would dig in the Nazi stuff, get in [Heinrich Himmler’s] documents and I would piece them together by saying, “My God, that’s a good story. “

After spending eight months researching, the process of writing and reviewing Family love and betrayal took about four months, according to Gordanier. She said the hardest part of writing her novel was putting all of her research together and getting it all on the page.

“It’s easy to get the research,” she said. “Some people may find it difficult, but I had a lot of research. It was just a matter of fine-tuning everything.

The sequel to Gordanier’s first novel is titled Love and betrayal, while the third is called Betrayal from within. According to Gordanier, the two follow-up novels continue Helga’s story and will follow the theme of containing historical facts to support the fictional tale.

Without giving up too much in terms of plot, Gordanier said his second novel features espionage involving the Soviet KGB in East Berlin, while the third takes place in the future, after Helga had a daughter and immigrated to the United States. United States.

“I want people to have a sense of what really happened,” she said. “It can be coated in sugar, but I don’t work that way. Tome, [historical accuracy] brings the character and the timeline to life, so people can get a taste of what really happened.

Those interested in reading Family love and betrayal can find the book on Amazon. Gordanier said people can also email him personally to get their hands on the book at [email protected]

She said the release date for the second novel is set for November or December 2021.

Scott Strasser, AirdrieToday.com
Follow me on twitter @ scottstrasser19

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