Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard

I’ve had the  honor of endorsing this book, and I did so without reserve. Terri is a fellow WWII author and a fellow member of my local ACFW chapter. Her work has earned her several awards, and you’ll see why when you read her books. She’s giving away a copy of Friends and Enemies, so be sure to read through to the end of the interview and follow the instructions to enter!

Here’s a little bit about Friends and Enemies.

Friends and Enemies smallWidowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo. Having lived in the United States, she wonders about her friend Rachel.

Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he joins a navigation class. He’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies.
When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance. “Find Heidi.”
Heidi meets a man she recognizes from her high school days in America. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help.
She takes him to the farm to pose as a convalescing German soldier. Through her brother’s underground contacts, Paul acquires German ID papers. Before he can journey along an escape route, they’re betrayed and the Gestapo comes calling. Together, Paul and Heidi flee across Germany in a desperate journey for Allied lines.
Thanks for joining us, Terri.

What inspired you to write WWII?I first wrote contemporary stories in the early 2000s. When I started writing again in 2008, I decided to try something else. I had a batch of letters written by distant cousins in Germany to my grandparents, who were sending them care packages in 1947-48. The letters are fascinating, and I wanted to do something with them, but didn’t know what. American Heritage magazine wouldn’t be interested in German letters. Then I realized I could create a story for these now-lost cousins.

Why is it so important to tell these stories?

The 1940s were a way of life that no longer is, and most of the people who lived through them and remember them are dying off. We don’t know what it was like to live in an all-out war effort. Picking up a history tome might be boring to many, but a story can capture attention.

Have you personally met anyone involved in the war?

A B-17 tail gunner flew on the flight I made in the bomber Aluminum Overcast in 2012. He answered a question I had. He was the only combat veteran I’ve talked to. Other elderly friends have told me things like how they did laundry in the 40s.

What appeals to you most about being an author?

Living vicariously through my characters. They do what I wish I could, like being an artist as Jennie is in No Neutral Ground, my May release. Actually living in a foreign country instead of a quick visit.

I enjoy the research, no big surprise for a former librarian. I do way more than I need to.

Your books are coming out back to back to back. How long does it take you to write a book?

TerriToo long! A minimum of a year. My current work in progress has been taking longer, as I keep interrupting it for edits and promotions. I have never had to write under a deadline, which is fine with me.

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
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Thanks so much, Terri! It’s been great chatting with you. We look forward to your next book, due out in May!


  1. As long as the plane was in good mechanical order I think I would fly in it.

  2. I enjoyed the interview with Terri. I have read and really enjoyed Friends and Enemies. I would love to win a print copy for my library.

  3. Absolutely not! I am terrified of heights and have a hard enough time riding in a jet in modern times! 😉

  4. Yes, I think I’d be willing to fly in a World War 2 plane. At the same time, it wouldn’t be an actual case of ‘I want to do that’. I must admit when I was young I would have loved the idea, but not so much now. LOL The older I get the less I enjoy flying. Kudos to Terri for writing something so significant to history! That is a book I’d be thrilled to win. Thank you for the opportunity.