Elaine Stock writes historical fiction that explores the themes of home, family, and friendships. Although multi-published in award-winning inspirational fiction, Elaine now writes novels for the general market.
We Shall Not Shatter is Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy. Elaine’s grandparents, on both sides of her family, narrowly escaped World War II by immigrating from Poland and Austria to the US. Other extended family members remained in Poland to lose their lives in the Holocaust.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Elaine now lives in upstate, rural New York with her husband. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and a good book.
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If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?
Hopeful. At times, especially during recent years with what is happening on a world-level, it’s been discouraging, to say the least. Yet, I find it more difficult to surrender my hope in not only my efforts and dreams, but to believe in a better tomorrow because I know God is behind me all the way and at all times.
You’ve been writing since junior high school. How does your writer’s journey through the years look different than your writer’s dream? What has kept you on that journey?
During my school years I didn’t have a writer’s dream. I wrote because I enjoyed it. It was during my late twenties (after the passing of my mother, when for several reasons, I was saddened that she never accomplished anything more than personal gratification because she was a very talented and spirited woman who died quite young) that I learned that if I have a dream that I want to make happen, I had to begin a new phase, a journey, that would get me to my next goal of a pastime to publication on a professional level. That journey to publication was a long one! I believe it’s daily changing, still. What keeps me on the journey is that there are more stories waiting for me to share with others, plus, I admit, I enjoy challenging myself with creativity and learning.
Let’s talk about your new book, We Shall Not Shatter (Amsterdam Publishers, May 2022). Please tell us about it.
We Shall Not Shatter takes place in Brzeziny Poland in 1939 on the eve of WWII. It’s about two women, friends from the age of five. Zofia is Catholic and hearing and Aanya is Jewish and deaf. As the political climate is changing in Europe, society deems it’s not acceptable for people of two vastly different backgrounds to befriend each other. What more, being Jewish as well as deaf is seen by the growing Nazi influence as having two major strikes against you, tossing one into the category of sub-human. Tragically, we all know that in September of that year Germany invaded Poland; Brzeziny was no longer the mostly Jewish town and tailoring center of Europe. Its people were carted off to first ghettos and then the notorious butchering camps. However, I want to emphasize that the focus of We Shall Not Shatter centers around the friendship of these bold and courageous women who refuse to give up their dreams, and what they are willing to do for their families’ future.
Although fiction and non-autobiographical, the story was inspired by my own paternal heritage from Brzeziny. My grandfather, with his parents and (with one exception) siblings escaped the Holocaust by immigrating to New York. My grandfather was hearing, yet had several deaf siblings. The oldest child—my great aunt—was a teen at the time. In those years, because the US officially saw the deaf as a liability to the country, this child wasn’t permitted to enter the US whereas the other children, who were quite young, managed to circumvent the health inspections. My aunt remained in Brzeziny with older family members who didn’t immigrate. Sadly, she perished in the Holocaust. We Shall Not Shatter is my love-letter, my tribute, to one of the many towns and people who were destroyed during this tragic time.
What is the significance of the title?
Without giving too much away, because the title comes from a very poignant, crucial scene in the story, We Shall Not Shatter refers to a vow that Zofia and Aanya pledge each other and reflects the broken glass and lives, homes and businesses shattered and lost during Kristallnacht in 1938. It was during this time in Germany and Austria that the Nazis concerted violence and destruction against Jews.
Thanks, Elaine! It’s great to have you back at Divine Detour.
I thank you, Kathy, for inviting me back! I wish you the very best in the continued success of the publication of your novels, which I’m so happy for you.
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