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Friday, 19 February 2016

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - Escape from the Past: The Kid by Annette Oppenlander


YA historical/sci-fi



Time-traveling gamer, Max, embarks on a harrowing journey through the Wild West of 1881! After a huge fight with his parents, Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.

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From my higher vantage point I noticed a dust cloud growing rapidly larger. And from it grew an apparition of terror as I’d never seen.

Two dozen Indians galloped toward us, fanned out like the tip of an arrow. They rode bareback, their faces painted black, red and white, their long oiled hair flowing behind them. They wore leather pants with loin clothes and nothing but beads and feathers around their necks.

“Indians,” I mumbled. I hadn’t even realized I said something except that Wade whipped around and followed my gaze.

“Injuns, Boss,” he shouted. “Looks like Comanches.” He ripped his gun from the saddle holster, the other men following suit.

The next moments were a blur. I felt myself slide off the donkey and race to the wagons for cover. The settlers were scrambling underneath, getting in position. The girl raced to grab the two little kids and shove them under the wagon.

I watched in fascination. As if time had slowed to a crawl, the Indians, shrouded in a dust cloud, drew near. Their faces looked hideous with the war paint, but their cries were what made me tremble with terror. It sounded like something out of this world, eerie whoops that curdled my blood.

I had no weapons. Even if I’d had any, my body was stiff with panic. 

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  IndieBound

Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Solingen, Germany, a city known for its cutlery and sharp kitchen knives. After completing a business degree at the University of Cologne, I moved to the U.S. for a one-year work assignment. Instead, I met my future husband at a super bowl party and got married a year later. That was in 1987. I’ve been living in different parts of the U.S. ever since.

I’ve been married for 28 years and have fraternal twins (24) and a son (27). My roommate is an old mutt, Mocha, a pooch we adopted from the Humane Society 11 years ago.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I recently rediscovered yoga, so I go to a little studio several times a week. Mocha needs daily walks and my husband would like to see me once in a while. I also love to travel and am lucky to visit Europe every year.

Do you have a day job as well?
I’m fortunate I can write full-time. I typically start around 8:30 am and write until noon. I take a break and walk the dog and often return to writing or editing in the afternoon. I read a lot, but usually wait until later afternoon and evening. I typically do first draft creative writing in the morning because I’m freshest then.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to write one to two books a year and hope to have a strong lineup of historical novels by then. Oh, I’d also love to have a book or two on the bestseller list.

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Becoming a writer/author was a process that took several years. In the beginning–the late 90s–I wrote children’s stories for early readers. I didn’t know anything about writing for children, the market nor the submission process, so this went nowhere. In 2002 I interviewed my parents about their lives during WW2 in Germany which led to a number of short stories. I didn’t really imagine writing a novel, let alone several, I merely wanted to preserve the memories for my family.

But I grew aware how much I enjoy the writing process. How I felt while I did it. I worked for a PR agency and did lots of business-related writing. I’d go home at night and write some more, spent my weekends writing fiction. I grew more and more invested, took classes, read books on craft, attended conferences and joined a critique group. In 2009 I attended a short story class at Indiana University and that’s when the light bulb turned on fully. I’ve known ever since that writing is my passion and I must do it even if publication is light years away. I finished the first manuscript in 2010. The first two books were published in 2015.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write YA historical fiction. First of all you’ve got to love writing for teens and be able to get into their heads. Because of the history element research is a must. I have always enjoyed researching, but didn’t discover my love for history until that fateful interview with my parents. In fact, in high school I thought history was the most boring subject. We had to study endless battles and years of political treaties. Who cares? I think the only way to make history exciting is to dig deep into detail and make the characters come alive with emotion, adventure and longing.

Where do you get your ideas?
I wish I knew. They sort of make themselves known. I love to travel so I often get some inspiration from things I come across during my trips. In September I rode bicycles with my husband and we stopped at the ruins of Castle Pappenheim, Germany. I learned about a duke who’d fought in the 30-year war and accidentally burned down an entire city. He was a very colorful guy so I may decide to write something about him in the future.

I got the idea for “Escape from the Past” visiting Castle Hanstein in Thuringia, Germany. There was this paper stuck on the wall in one of the rooms that told of a knight who feuded with a duke over a beautiful lady. I also raised two boys who are avid gamers and somehow the two, the castle story and the gamer stuck together.

Are you a planner or a pantser?
I’m a pantser so I don’t outline. I have a general idea about my main character(s) and a broad idea of a plot. That’s it. I do, however, develop a detailed bio with external and internal characteristics for all main characters.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
In “The Kid,” book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy, time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico where he must overcome many horrific challenges.

Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I remember watching westerns with my father and reading books about pioneers, American Indians and the gold rush. After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.

I chose Billy the Kid because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck and was basically set up to fail. He isn’t much older than Max and you can easily see how any young man could’ve had Billy’s fate. The second important character is Chief Nana, A Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a 3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army. He was never caught nor were his fifteen or so warriors. The amazing thing about him was his age. He was around eighty years old then and had a bad leg.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I’d tell an aspiring author to be patient and set aside doubt. I think all writers, even the most gifted ones, have doubts whether their stories are any good. But while we may struggle with doubt about our ability to craft a compelling tale, in the end, we must continue writing. Many people give up too early because doubt overtakes them. Believe in your work and put in the time and energy, read, go to conferences, participate in critique groups, confident you’ll succeed in the end. Follow your passion.

What has been the best compliment?
Readers say that they feel like they’re ‘in the story’ right along with my hero and they couldn’t put the book down. I love hearing that.

What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I typically write in my office, an ex-bedroom with lots of bookshelves and a desk. I have a really great chair that allows me to be comfortable for many hours. Some people love to write in a coffee shop, but I find that too distracting. I use paper/journals for notes and spontaneous thoughts, but I write on a laptop. You’re talking to a chocoholic, so anything with chocolate works for me and I eat way too much of it on a daily basis.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
I wouldn’t write about child abduction, pedophilia, or any other violent acts against children. Maybe that’s because I raised three kids and the worries of a mother always stay with me.

Regarding genres it’s definitely horror. Watching horror or even a tense thriller affects me physically. I don’t watch zombies or chainsaw murderers or anything that is bloody or super scary because I get nightmares. Somehow I can’t keep the separation between what’s happening in the movie and where I am. Somehow my brain seems to be unable to understand the difference between movie and reality. I fret and I sweat. Why put myself through that if it gives me unpleasant feelings. I neither watch such shows or read books in the genre and nor do I want to imagine these horrific scenarios.

Thank you very much for having me!

Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Social Media Links

Twitter: @aoppenlander

Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. Thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. Would you rather read digital or paper books?

    1. I love both. I can't imagine a world without books, a library with computer screens instead of shelves. I love the feel, the smell and the experience of reading a paper version. But I also love digital books for their ease. When I'm lying in bed and don't want to balance a big tome, when I'm traveling and my suitcase is already too small. So, in my world there is a place for both.

  3. I'm excited to be here today to comment and answer your questions.

  4. Great interview, I enjoyed reading it.

  5. Enjoyed the excerpt and the interview, sounds like an amazing read, thanks for sharing!

  6. This story sounds so fascinating. Loved the excerpt.

  7. Good luck with your book. It sounds wonderful.

  8. Great post - thanks for sharing the excerpt and interview :)

  9. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and interview, thanks for the chance!

  10. Awesome,thanks for the post!!

  11. loved the interview. Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

  12. Sounds like a great read, thank you for the interesting interview!