Interview with Brave Author Aubrey Taylor

Today on the Brave Blog, I’m interviewing Brave Author Aubrey Taylor. Let’s jump right in!

Sarah: Do you consider yourself brave? Why or why not?

Aubrey: Whether or not I am truly “brave,” writing has challenged me on a number of levels. Taking on
the Second World War from the German perspective means steeping myself in accounts of the
past that contrast starkly with things I’ve been taught all my life. It also means wrestling with an
unpopular worldview on a deeper level than most of the people who write in my genre. All of us
would probably agree that history is written by the victors, and that what we’ve been told all
these years may not be exactly the way it was, but we’re dealing with Nazism here. There is
always a part of me that knows people might misunderstand my passion for the past.

As if it isn’t enough to be willing to go into the minds of Hitler’s supporters with an open heart, I
also feel called to address topics like alcohol abuse, violence, prostitution, promiscuity, and
homosexuality. I know these do not go over well in the Christian fiction market, and therefore
I’ve begun to reposition myself. There is a niche of readers, believing and unbelieving, who want
what I’m writing. Even if that niche is small, I’m brave enough to write for them.

Sarah: I’d say that’s brave! Why do you write in the genre you do? Did you always want to write in that genre?

Aubrey: It’s simple, really: this is the passion God has given me. I deeply respect the authors that work so
hard to produce beautiful WWII stories of brave resisters, heroic Allies, and victims that never
lose hope, but I struggle to connect with these books now that I see all the ways in which the
German side is misrepresented. Nazism may be an ugly truth, but there are also things that have
been perpetuated throughout the years that just aren’t accurate. I can’t help but wonder if it is
time to revisit what we believe about the past, not for the purpose of revisionism, but to
allow the whole story to be told.

Sarah: What is your brainstorming process like? Where do your ideas come from?

Aubrey: Very simply, my ideas come from my research. When I first got the idea for Sani: The German
, I was homeschooling my children. God had been leading me on a personal journey to
reclaim my lost German heritage, so as we approached our study of the world wars, I was keen
to explore things from their side. Once God gave me the idea to write a book, I was thrilled to
have an excuse to continue to spend hours researching—something I never would have done

My writing is character-focused, so when a piece of history is coupled with an individual’s
personal struggle or a family’s story, the plot begins to take off and I’m hard pressed to stop it.
My books aren’t so much about intrigue and resistance. I like to take day-to-day life and the
personal crises common to all generations, and drop them into the middle of the Third Reich.

Sarah: Fascinating. Speaking of character-focused writing, if you could take the place of any of your characters, which one would you choose? Why?

Aubrey: I think I would take the place of Chaplain Friedrich Schmidt. Because I’m a realist, I believe that
war is an unfortunate result of the sinful, fallen world we live in, and that therefore some
generations are destined to it. My heart is for the men who have been bound by duty, or
pressed, to serve their nation. Many of them don’t have politics in mind: they are concerned for
the safety and welfare of their family and homeland. That was even the case with Nazi Germany.
Every generation needs individuals of strong convictions in their armed forces, to be a light in
the deepest darkness.

Sarah: Which of your characters is most like yourself?

Aubrey: Brygida Neumann-O’Hare is the person I would be if it wasn’t for Jesus. She is the female main
character in my work in progress, and is also briefly mentioned in my book The Rubicon. She and
I both spent much of our young lives on a desperate search for love. Mine was mostly in my
heart and mind. In contrast, Brygida does not have the protection of a loving God, and her
struggle takes on a more extreme form. This makes for a more intense story, but it also makes
me thank God for preventing me from doing more harm to myself.

Sarah: Which book of yours was your favorite to write? Why?

Aubrey: I am really enjoying writing Separate Ways. I feel that I have matured as a writer and am able to
give this book the breathing space it needs. It helps that it is outside of the Gott Mit Uns series.
Even though it involves Lothar Feinberg, one of the minor characters from The Rubicon, I feel at
liberty to “tweak” his story and not stay strictly within the confines of the books I’ve already
written. Plus, my male main characters usually take themselves way too seriously, and Lothar is
like a breath of fresh air.

Sarah: Which book of yours was the hardest to write? Why?

Aubrey: The Rubicon, hands down. Jakob Schmidt is the prime example of someone who takes himself
too seriously. If it weren’t for the comic relief provided by Lothar and Josef, along with the
refreshing friendship between Christian and Emmy, Jake’s story would be depressing.
The Rubicon also convinced me that God was calling me to write grittier stories. Stories people
outside the church, especially those in desperate places, could see themselves in. I had to be ok
with the fact that some of my readers would see the progression of my books as “turning to the
dark side.” On the contrary, I feel that God is simply calling me away from preaching to the
choir. That’s not my calling. I’m OK with that.

Sarah: What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to write their first book?

Aubrey: If God has given you a story to tell, be prayerful and obedient. The vision and calling He gives
you might not look like the one He gives someone else, and it may not be popular with others.
Like Jesus said to Peter in John 21:22, “What is that to you? You follow me.”

I also think we have a preconceived notion about what it means to be a “successful” author:
being traditionally published with thousands of social media followers and an actual income. Is
that God’s intention for us, or is it something different? Does he have a niche for us that is small
but hungry for something that will speak directly into their lives?

Sarah: That’s inspiring and so important to ponder. Thank you. Now, where did you get the inspiration for your most recent book?

Aubrey: Hans Waldemar Remembers Normandy is a novelette born out of a desire to contribute
something to the 80 th anniversary of D-Day. Of course, D-Day does not hold the significance for
Germans that it does for Americans, but I saw an opportunity to share a piece of the German
side of the story, and I took it.

My character Hans was not present the moment the Allies landed, and he explains why there
was so little German manpower available to defend the beaches that day. However, he was
involved in ensuing battles in the Normandy region, and during the 11 months of fighting that

The story really gets at the heart of what I was talking about earlier with regards to gaining a
more complete picture of the war. It is also about families breaking the silence that has existed
for three or four generations now, and even speculates about God’s heart for Germany.

Sarah: What are you working on now?

Aubrey: The draft of my work in progress is largely finished, with the exception of a few holes that I’m
going to need to fill as I make my first pass through the editing process. I also have to nail down
some historical details that I left hanging. Then there will be edits, edits, and more edits. Part of
me wants to rest after publication, because five books and a novelette in three and a half years
is nothing to sneeze at. Life is complicated enough as it is [laughs]. On the other hand, I’m not
sure I can resist the temptation to sit down and create. Something else might appear before we
know it.

Sarah: Thanks so much for sharing with us today. You’re an inspiration. I wish you the very best on all your writing endeavors.

    Aubrey Taylor is a mother of three who moonlights as an indie author. Her books pull no punches, hailing from a Christian worldview but filled with grit and unbridled honesty. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three children, and two skittish cats named Mama and Mia. When she’s not writing or taking care of her home and family, she enjoys singing with a German choir, and also performs with a Bavarian folk dancing group. She is a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, music, history, and German culture, and can usually be found with a cup of tea in hand!

    Download Hans Waldemar Remembers Normandy for free here.

    8 thoughts on “Interview with Brave Author Aubrey Taylor

    1. I am so proud to be Aubrey’s Aunt Becky, and to witness her growth as a writer. Can’t wait to read her new book!

      1. Thank you, dear Aunt Becky! I’m working hard on it, I’m sure you’ll be one of the first to know when its complete 🙂

    2. I’m happy to be Aubrey’s new friend and am enjoying her first book! Her style is relatable as she delves into everyday life as a means of taking her reader on a journey into a new way of looking at this wartime period. Great interview!

      1. Hi Sherry! Thank you for taking the time to comment and give your thoughts on Sani: The German Medic. Much love!

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