James Hockenberry

Author James Hockenberry’s 2016 Blog #2

This is the second of myblogs. In the future, they will arrive more regularly. It is broken out in fourshort parts: a bit of history, little-known detail about the book, a writingtip, and odds and ends. I’d love you to send any thoughts, comments orsuggestions to info@jameshockenberry.com. Many thanks.


1)     A little bit of World War I history:

When did America actually enter WWI? Officially, the U.S. declared war on Germany on April 4, 1917, but I argue that we really entered the war inearly 1915 when the U.S. recognized Britain’s technically illegal blockade of the Central Powers,thereby eliminating commerce with them. At the same time, America increased trade with the Allied powerssubstantially. In effect, the U.S. was the “Arsenal of Democracy” in 1915-16 beforethe term was coined early in WWII.

2)    What you did not know about the books:

The title of Over Here went through many changes. Ioriginally planned to call the book, “Huns on the Hudson” until my writing group told me the title was toocute and did not convey the true essence of the book. The second title was “TheKaiser’s Undeclared War” (I wanted to suggest WWI as the topic), but it failedto tell potential readers that the story was set in America. I settled on OverHere one summer afternoon in my back yard when I recalled the old WWI song(which has given me the titles for the rest of the series). There are manybooks called Over Here, but I coulduse the title because my work is fiction.

3)    Writing tip:

Here are the “5d’s” on howto handle exposition – provided by Anne Neumann who runs my writing class.There are five things a writer can do with exposition that is too long andwordy.

·        Deletethe text

·        Diminishit by cutting out the non-essentials

·        Dramatizeit – turn it into action or dialogue

·        Delayit – place it in a different section of the book

·        Disperseit – spread the information around

   This is the best single advice I’ve everread as to how to handle exposition.

4)    Odds and Ends:

a.     Check out mywebsite and find a quiz based on actual facts that are included in Over Here. An 85% score will earn you amap from the book.

b.     What am Ireading?

                                                             i.     A Hero of France, by best selling author Alan Furst. Furst is a master craftsman andowns the spy / intrigue space between the two world wars. This is my favoriteof his works.

                                                           ii.     Forty-Seven Days – How Pershing’s Warriors Came ofAge to Defeat the German Army, byMitchell Yockelson. This is part of my early research into the third book in myWWI Intrigue series, set in 1918. It has given me some good overview and someexcellent ideas for a few scenes.

                                                         iii.     My good friendK. Edwin Fritz’s book, Manhunt, agraphic horror story of revenge, retribution, and redemption. Beautifullywritten and carefully plotted, this book makes you uneasy but keeps youmesmerized. I’ve never read a book quite like it, but I can’t wait to read thesequel.

c.      I’m hoping torelease So Beware, the next book inthe series, in the first quarter of 2017, but I still have much to do. I thinkthe end-result will be worth the wait.