This is my second book in the Schellberg Cycle. These stories are based on true events that took place in the late 1930s and 1940s, though this particular one goes back to 1883. Clara is actually my husband's great-grandmother. We didn't have a lot to go on but with the little we had of some very good primary resources, heaps of research and repeated experience plus some good old-fashioned writers' imagination I've managed to put together a story.
I've described it as a Holocaust biography. It is written as a novel so I hope it engages that way.
Here is the longer blurb:
'Clara will not be daunted. Her life will not end when her beloved husband dies too young. She will become a second mother to the children who live away from home at an early age in order to visit a rather special school. When life becomes desperate for a particular class of disabled children growing up in Nazi Germany she takes a few risks. Is her ultimate faith in the goodness of human beings a fatal flaw that leads to her tragedy or is her story actually one of hope?
Clara's Story is the second book in the Schellberg Cycle, a collection of novels inspired by a bunch of photocopied letters that arrived at a small cottage in Wales in 1979. Renate James, nee Edler, Clara's granddaughter, began to recognise the names of the girls she had been at school with.
The letters give us some insights into what life was like growing up in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Renate used to tell the story of a school for disabled children that defied the Nazi regime.
We have a few verifiable facts and research has uncovered a few more. Some repeated experience added more understanding. But most of all that act of imagination that belongs to actors and writers enabled us to fill the gaps.'
And the product description:
'Clara's Story: a Holocaust Biography is the second story in the Schellberg Cycle. It might be described as a tragedy or it might be described as a story of survival. In the end it is up to the reader or even Clara herself to decide.
It is labelled as fiction and it is labelled as biography. Holocaust biography. Historical fiction. It reads like fiction. It engages like fiction. It is written as a novel. But Clara Lehrs really existed, as did many of the characters in the Schellberg Cycle. We have a few, a very few verifiable facts about them. The rest we have had to find out by repeating some of their experiences and by using the careful writer's imagination.
Certainly the Schellberg Cycle examines the stories of several German Jews. Ironically Clara does not consider herself to be Jewish and sees no danger. She possibly needs Holocaust education even more than her readers do. Her dealings with Steiner Education help her to throw a little light on her situation and she becomes engaged in her own form of Holocaust resistance. So, we might even label this Holocaust fiction.'
I first started working on the Schellberg Cycle as part of a sabbatical form the University of Salford in 2011. I've two more books in the pipe-line and I'm now working on book five. I have at least one more planned.
As usual I'm keen to get reviews. If you'd like a free mobi file or a PDF, please contact me via the contact form on this page.
You may also be interested in the web site that gives a lot of information about the books and the back ground to them. There are also materials for teacher there and news about school visits.