We’re pleased to announce that War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation is now available from Casemate!
From blind dates to whirlwind romances to long separations, War Bonds highlights stories of couples who met or married during WWII. Each of the 30 stories begins with a World War II-era song title and concludes with a look at wartime couples in their twilight.
Read an interview with author Cindy Hval below and make sure to download a chapter sample about Pearl Harbor Survivors Warren and Betty Schott here.
What kinds of books did you read growing up? Which had the greatest impact on you?
The Little House on the Prairie series dominated my childhood. I loved those books and the plucky Laura Ingalls, but what I loved even more was that the stories were based on her own life.
What fascinates you about revisiting the past and bringing it to life in a book?
I think it stems from my fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books. Her stories made a bygone era so real to me. I hope that in sharing the stories represented in War Bonds, others will get that magical sense of time and place.
When and how did you become interested in Military history?
I’m an Air Force “brat” married to a retired Army officer. The military has always been part of my life.
But my interest in World War II stemmed from an assignment I received from a newspaper editor. “I want you to write a series of Love Stories,” he said. “Share how people met, married and stayed together.”
Honestly, I thought he was crazy! Who’d want to open a newspaper and read those kinds of stories!?
Of course from the first interview, I was hooked and so were readers. The stories that garnered the most mail and social media interest were the stories of couple who met or married during or shortly after WWII.
To hear from people who’d been married 60+ years was awe-inspiring. The stress of separation– the battles witnessed– the making a life together afterward…. Those stories proved timeless and sharing them has enriched my life.
How much research did you do for the book? Can you give us some tips on this?
As this isn’t military history per se, but narrative, the bulk of my research was spent interviewing these couples– pouring over their photographs and often prompting them to talk about things they’d never before discussed. These conversations often brought joy and tears in equal measure. Hearing these stories and being able to share them with others has been incredibly rewarding. In my experience, before you can be a good writer, you must be an even better listener.
Why did you decide to write this book? What prompted you to put this story down on paper?
We are losing our WWII veterans at an approximate rate of 1,000 each day– time is running out to tell their stories.
With the American divorce rate holding steady at 50% I felt these stories were incredibly timely. The reaction I got from newspaper readers when I shared some of these stories affirmed that. People want lasting relationships, but are often lacking in models of what those relationships could look like. War Bonds offers both a reminder of the way the world used to be and hope for the way the relationships can still be.
What do you like most about your book? Why should we read it?
What I most like are the men and women this book represents. They are real human beings with faults and flaws, yet they managed to form unions that spanned six decades and more. They behaved heroically, not just on the battlefield, but on the home front.
Read this book if you want to know what it was like to start a marriage and a family during time of war, and read it if you’d like to know how to make a relationship last a lifetime.