In Satan’s Shadow by John Anthony Miller

In Satan’s Shadow:

In Satan’s Shadow, a WWII thriller set in Berlin, describes a British spy named Michael York while he investigates members of the Berlin String Quartet, trying to determine who offered information to his predecessor. Is it Amanda Hamilton – a Brit married to a Nazi Party official? Erika Jaeger, a violinist with a dark secret? Gerhard Faber, an armaments worker who pretends to be much more, or Albert Kaiser, an elderly cello player who seems so harmless…

Interviews continued…

How do you go about researching the history behind your books?

John Anthony Miller:

Once I determine a period to write about, I choose the location. I think the location, if described well enough, is really a character, often as important as the protagonist. And then I devise the plot. I have dozens swirling around in my head, and need only to find the one that interests me, and potential readers, the most. I often do the characters last, and I usually find that they turn out far different in the end than I had envisioned in the beginning. I research everything from clothing to hairstyles to food to military maneuvers. I read books about the time period, books written during the time period, and I research websites. The BBC website, for example, is a wealth of information, including personal stories. I continue to research until the book is completed. The first draft is just that – a bit of a mess with notes to myself for future enhancements. But each revision shapes the story, the research bringing both the scenes and characters to life.

More interviews! John Anthony Miller discusses In Satan’s Shadows

Interview questions about In Satan’s Shadows:

How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The book is solely a product of my imagination, but I think all authors leave threads of their lives in what they write – places they’ve been, people they know or see or have encountered. I got the idea for the first few chapters of In Satan’s Shadow while on holiday, standing on the German- Swiss border, staring at a winding stream. I thought – hmmm, what fun could we have with this stream, maybe a fugitive, followed by dogs and German soldiers – and off the story went.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, the message in In Satan’s Shadow is to never give up. The male character, Michael York, who is tasked with approaching Amanda, faces one obstacle after another, mental and physical, with success never quite within his grasp, but still he continues on.

Interview questions: Author John Anthony Miller Answers

Interview questions aout writing:

What do you find more difficult, coming up with ideas or writing them down the way you want them?

John Anthony Miller: Coming up with ideas is fairly easy, but finding an idea that’s interesting enough to justify the research required to support it is a bit harder. Once I have the idea, I normally frame the beginning and ending of the book, then the story becomes what happens in between. That’s where the original idea changes. Sometimes characters take on a life of their own, and tend to go in directions different from what I originally planned.

What advice do you have for new writers?

John Anthony Miller: Try to work on your writing every day – even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

John Anthony Miller:  I tend to have several false starts when I begin a new book. Whatever plot, era, and location I choose has to interest me enough that I’ll spend a year researching it and writing about it. Sometimes I get started and something else attracts my attention and I change direction and put whatever I had originally started on my list of future books

What is the hardest part of writing a book?

John Anthony Miller: The hardest part for me is getting the first 5 or 6 chapters fluid enough to form a strong foundation for the book. I write a prologue and epilogue first, like bookends, without knowing the story. Then I write the story that takes place in between.

Five Stars: By Toni Osborne on May 18, 2016

Five Stars: By Toni Osborne on May 18, 2016

Format: Paperback

After reading Mr. Miller’s first book I was hoping to be swept into another great adventure with his second book. The drama set in Berlin during WW11 did not disappoint. “In Satan’s Shadow” is an extraordinary story of espionage, deceit, courage and love.

British agent Michael York is sent to Berlin to flush out an informant and a spy that may have been a factor in the death of his predecessor. The traitor may be a member of Berlin’s renowned String Quartet and Michael’s mission is to find out who is responsible without falling prey to the Gestapo. Each member is close to the German war effort: Amada is married to a high ranking officer, Erika works in the logistics department, Gerhard works as a draftsman for the Armaments Department and Albert is well connected in high places.

If you think this story doesn’t have tension you would be mistaking. Getting close to each
member is vital to extract information for the Allies without attracting attention. As we follow Michael fear of him getting caught is at every corner. The descriptive narrative is such that I felt that I was there on the scene observing his every move wanting him to get out of his predicament, escaping the Gestapo or not revealing who he really is. I really was emotionally vested rooting for Michael. Mr. Miller knows how to build slowly tension and never let it ease till you reach the final words. This outstanding story is well-written with rich knowledge of the period, strong descriptions of people’s emotions and vivid observations of a Berlin on its final days.

This is a hard book to put aside it is such a pageturner that once started you want to see how everyone will fare at the end. We have well developed and mostly charismatic players to hold us glued to every word in this drama. Of course Mr. Miller gave us an unforeseen twist at the end to add another touch to the never ending suspense. This is another gripping and excellent read.

I wish to thank Mr. Miller for providing an electronic copy of this book for my thoughts. “This is the Way I see it” and in no way was I influenced by the offer.

Interview questions: In Satan’s Shadow

QUESTIONS:

What inspires you towrite?

The common theme in my novels areordinary people who are compelled to do extraordinary things, driven by eventsor tumultuous times. My first two books are about WWII, but not generalsor admirals or politicians, but a reporter, a history teacher, a violinist.They become heroes, just as ordinary people became heroes during the war.

How did you come up withthe title for In Satan’s Shadow?

In Satan’s Shadow is about Amanda Hamilton, a Scottishphotographer and violinist, who marries a Nazi Party official and spends tenyears in Germany, immersed in one of the most tumultuous periods in humanhistory. Since she is a favorite of Hitler; she walked in Satan’s shadow− Satan being a symbol for Hitler.

How did you get the ideafor the book?

I got the idea for the first few chapters while standing on the German-Swiss border, staring at a windingstream. I thought – hmmm, what fun could we have with this stream, maybea fugitive, followed by dogs and German soldiers – and off the story went.

Book quote: In Satan’s Shadow

Amanda Hamilton, a Scottish violinist married to a Nazi. Michael York, the British spy who risks his life to save hers. In Satan’s Shadow, a journey to the darkest depths of the soul.

Book quote: My life will always be a little richer because you walked into it. – Michael York, In Satan’s Shadow