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…
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.