Jason K. Foster
on tour December 2-27 with
The House of Shudders(YA- Historical Fiction) Based on true events Release date: June 1, 2019 at Big Sky Publishing 370 pages Website | Goodreads
Nazi Germany is ruled by Hitler’s barbaric policies of racial cleansing. Ingrid Marchand’s only sin was to be born black. Horrifying institutions like Hadamar are where the undesirables – including the mentally and physically disabled and children – are systematically tortured, gassed and executed. It is where Ingrid is humiliated and brutalised and will encounter a depth of hatred the world has never seen before. On the brink of starvation, can Ingrid survive the horrors of her incarceration and help bring her tormentors to justice? Hadamar is a gripping tale of survival in a world of hatred, horror and insanity.
ABOUT THE AUTHORJason K. Foster is an author, poet, freelance journalist and high school teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) and Graduate Diploma in Teaching from WSU as well as a Master of Arts (History) from Macquarie University and a Diploma in Spanish from Macquarie University. Jason is widely travelled having spent time in five continents and over fifty countries. He has taught in Australia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Argentina; experiences that bring a distinct range and unique world view to his writing. He has published ten books in the true crime and historical narratives genres. He has also been published the world over with his work appearing in a range of mediums from History magazines in the United States to Australian travel magazines to Poetry Anthologies in the United Kingdom.
Who would you like to play the characters of Hadamar on the screen?
Grown Ingrid Marchand – Maddison Petis – if I think of all the young African actors I think she encapsulates the image I have in my head of what a grown Ingrid looked like because, like Ingrid, her father is African- American and he mother is European. Perhaps it is also because she starred in The Fosters or because she shares a birthday with me!
Young Ingrid Marchand – Quvenzhané Wallis – I was unsure as to young African-American actors who would suit the role of young Ingrid, so I asked some students from my school who had read the book on their thoughts. Their suggestion was Wallis because they had seen her in Annie and they thought she had the range to play both negative and positive aspects of Ingrid’s life.
Angelika Marchand – Margot Robbie – solely because she is a very beautiful woman and I always picture Angelika as being as such. She has, what the Nazis would consider, Aryan features. Angelika is meant to be the epitome of Aryanism to undermine the Nazi mentality of it. Angelika is a tortured soul and I believe that Robbie has played characters like this well.
Guillame Marchand – Idris Elba – I always picture Guilliame to be a strong character both physically and mentally and I think Elba has illustrated that he has both. I consider Elba to be a thoughtful actor who can deliver hugely powerful scenes, thus, I think he would be perfect as Ingrid’s father.
Nurse Irmgard Huber – Cate Blanchett – she has demonstrated such a depth of characters that she can play and I think, as Huber is a complicated character, it would need an actress that could do justice to this. I think Blanchett’s range is such that she could do justice to the naivety, yet hatred, that Huber has.
Dr Oppenheimer – Brad Pitt – I think he has demonstrated that he can play a broad range of characters and I think his aged good looks are what I perceived this character to be in my head. Dr Oppenheimer would also have to have Aryan features and I think Pitt would fit this bill.
Johan Kapfler – Max Lloyd-Jones – while he is 28 and Johan is much younger, I think Johan has seen a lot in battle and may look slightly older than his age. Lloyd-Jones’s facial features is how I pictured Johan to be; good looks but the facial features of someone who has seen much of what life has to offer at a young age.
Dr Klein – Christopher Walken – as an inherently evil character who goes from total power to being a coward it would need to be played by an actor who has demonstrated that he can do both. I think that Dr Klein is such a powerful, authoritarian presence in Hadamar that it would require an actor who can deliver this.
Major Bolker – Tom Hanks – As a mature character with a mature soul I think Hanks could bring the refined and fatherly touch to a character who becomes very important to Ingrid. I also think he has shown the authority but kindness needed in his variety of roles.
What motivates you to write?
Personally, I feel I have to have something important to say through whatever book I am working on. As a school teacher I spend my days trying to impart knowledge on children to facilitate their decisions on their viewpoint of the world and I see my role as an author in a similar vein. I present stories and ideas and, hopefully, try to facilitate the reader’s decisions about how they view the world. Furthermore, as a history teacher I also try to teach children to learn from the past. I think this transfers into the topics I decide to write about.
The students I teach often say, ‘Sir, but you always seem to write about dark topics.’ This is probably true, however, my intention in doing this is to try and make my reader think about these topics, take what they have considered into their world and, ideally, try to make a positive difference in whatever way they can.
The most rewarding aspect is when I get verbal and written feedback, such as reviews, and it is clear people have taken the ideas I wish for them consider from my work. People take many viewpoints of books such as Hadamar but if I receive feedback that it has made them think about the world and the past, then I am pleased.
What does your writing space look like?
I would like to say I have the romantic writer’s room set up with class Literature on the shelves around me, an oak desk, a black leather chair and a scenic view out the window. But this would be untrue. I don’t need to sit in a certain space to be able to write. It is more a state of mind.
I have lived in many places around the world so my writing space varies. Depending on where I am, I might sit in my bedroom or on my sofa with my laptop with the TV or some music on in the background. I find that if I use music that fits with the themes or ideas I am trying to convey or write about then it can often help me overcome any writer’s block I might have.
Some writers sit in cafes and write, perhaps having many people around inspires their stories. However, I find, regardless of where I choose to write, I need to have minimal people around and minimal distractions. I need to get myself immersed and lost in what I am writing.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book changes all the time. However, at the minute, I am re-reading The Power of One and the sequel, Tandia, by Bryce Courtney. As a child I was always interested in Apartheid in South Africa so I read these books when I was an adolescent.
However, since then, having become a history teacher and having taught South Africa as a topic, I am finding much more meaning to the books as I better understand the context and background of events that transpire within the books. I was also brought up with a strong sense of social justice instilled by my mother. I think that Peekay and Tandia undergo the same journey throughout the book (s). This spoke to me as a teenager but even more so now.
Having thought on this further, I think Courtney was passionately writing about how he felt about his country and had important ideas he wanted to pose to his reader and, as this is something I identify with in my writing, I respect how he has successfully done so.
Besides writing, what do you love to do?
Writing can be a lonely profession that necessities being house bound for much of the day. As such, I like outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, kayaking etc. I just need that feeling of freedom that is brought on by being on the water or in the great outdoors. When I have done hours upon hours of writing, being in my own little world and the world of the book I am writing I need the fresh air and open spaces to clear my mind. If I ever feel writer’s block coming on (which happens as I tend to write in bursts and then I need to recharge) being out in nature clears my mind and if I am struggling to find the next step in my narrative a clear mind usually unclogs whatever block I have.
I also like to travel a lot. I am always looking to broaden my horizons and knowledge of the world. Travelling allows me to experience different cultures and to learn people’s different perceptions of the world. There are so many beautiful places, both natural and manmade, to see and, before I die I would like to see as many of them as possible.
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Hadamar: The House of Shudders is based on true events that happened during the World War II in Nazi Germany. Readers are introduced to Ingrid, a young teenager of African descent. She is taken from her mother and sent to Hadamar. Hadamar was an institution that the Nazis used to send children and those with mental and physical disabilities. This place was definitely a house of shudders and a house of horrors. People were tortured, starved and killed. Ingrid does what it takes to survive in this horrific place. I loved Ingrid from the start and had to keep reading to find out if she was able to escape or not. I really wanted to root for her, however, my mind about her sort of changed when she did something unthinkable and unforgiveable. I was completely disgusted with her behavior. Even though I had a hard time understanding her, I had to remind myself that it was a different time and I do not know how things would be for me if I was in that situation.
Hadamar: The House of Shudders is a powerful read and not those who are wanting to read something light. It is sad, dark and needs to be read slowly to grasp the whole story. It is hard to believe these events in pretty recent history and we all should never forget.
I highly recommend Hadamar: The House of Shudders and am giving it five plus stars.
I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.