By Annette Oppenlander
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction – Medieval
When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished computer game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him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.
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 shares her knowledge through writing workshops and indulges her old mutt, Mocha. In her spare time she travels around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories. The mother of three ‘former’ teens, Annette lives with her husband in Bloomington, Ind.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor/
On Twitter: @aoppenlander
The author is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one lucky reader!
1. This is a very “smart read” book as I like to say. How did you research this? How did you verify your information?
After visiting the castle I began researching the Hanstein family and found a rather thick book, a Hanstein descendant had commissioned a hundred some years ago. The book contained family trees, original notations from city registers and a few pages about Knight Werner von Hanstein. Of course, I also studied living in the Middle Ages, read a few novels set in medieval times, and reviewed historical information from regional archives.
2. What inspired you to write this type of novel? It has a complexity and creativity not usually found. Is there something specific which lead you to this tale?
In 2012 I visited the ruins of Castle Hanstein in Thuringia, Germany. It’s an amazing place high up on a mountaintop with breathtaking views of the valleys. As I walked through the old torn buildings the voices in my head began to chatter. I know how that sounds, but it was this conviction that I had to write about the castle. Inside one of the rooms I read about a famous knight who’d lived there in the late Middle Ages and feuded with a duke over a beautiful woman. At the time I was often annoyed by my boys who are avid gamers and don’t mind spending all night in front of their computers. Somehow putting a gamer into the story made sense.
Now for the standard questions
3. Without thinking hard….off the cuff….what is your favorite book? Quickly now…if you think you will change it. I want the first thing that pops in your head!
That has to be the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can’t think of another book that got me into the story so quickly, had such an amazing cast, storyline and complex emotional journey.
4. Which author, dead or alive, would you want to meet and have a conversation with and why?
I have a number of favorites, but my all-time favorite is J.R.R. Tolkien who I can no longer ask. I’d love to know if he had the “Lord of the Rings” story in his head before he began or if he came up with it as he wrote. I just find it so fascinating how he developed these amazing characters and beings and this convoluted, connected story where every group plays a role. I found it challenging enough to write the “Escape from the Past” trilogy and make sure that I didn’t leave lose ends. His is way more complicated and remains my favorite fantasy read.
5. Catherine Mckenzie must have her tunes, Dan Brown needs his gravity boots. Is there anything special you need to write?
In one word: chocolate. I’m a certified chocoholic and not many days go by that I don’t eat something with chocolate. I also love to break up my writing routine with yoga and walks with the dog. There is something soothing about exercise and it gets my brain cells moving.