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Will's War

Added: (Fri May 31 2002)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Best-selling Novelist Janice Woods Windle Blends Courtroom Drama into Historical Novel

"Janice Woods Windle is a gifted writer and wonderful storyteller. " -- First Lady Laura Bush

(AUSTIN) An exciting new ingredient has been added to Janice Woods Windle’s winning recipe for a historical novel. In her newest book, Will's War, her female forebears are caught up in a tale of wartime passion and adventure that climaxes in a heavy-hitting courtroom drama.

In Will's War, to be published by Longstreet Press on March 1, 2002, the author of the best-selling True Women and Hill Country uses the voices of the book’s women characters to tell about her grandfather, William Bergfeld, who was accused of treason and put on trial for his life.

Will Bergfeld was living in a small town on the North Texas prairie with his wife, Virginia King, and their two little girls, until one fateful night in 1917, when their calm home was invaded by government agents coming to arrest him.

There followed a six-week trial of 52 leading members of the Farmers’ and Laborers’ Protective Association -- one of the most celebrated cases of its day, though all but forgotten in recent years. Will Bergfeld was accused of conspiring to aid the German Empire – and of threatening to kill the President.

Bergfeld and the FLPA had fought the robber barons and their railroad monopolies, as well as big local landowners who were oppressing the small farmers. For this they were called Socialists, but in 1917, when the country was preparing to go to war with Germany, Will Bergfeld’s biggest crime may have been to have a German name.

Will’s War recalls a period when popular passions were inflamed by America’s entry into World War I. All across the country vigilantes attacked German immigrants, killing some and terrorizing many others.

In Bergfeld’s Central Texas hometown of Seguin, the German-born residents were required to register as "enemy aliens." And in Washington, a government agency compiled a secret list of German-born Americans entitled "Subjects of the Teutonic Orders".

Meanwhile, in a crowded Texas courthouse, all that stood between Bergfeld and the gallows was a jury of his peers.

The gripping story is told through the eyes of the women who loved him and rallied to his side during the lengthy trial. His wife, Virginia, shared his love of music but not his political passions. Her mother, Bettie Moss King, was a good churchgoing woman whose friends included a black fortune teller and a hermit who lived in the bottoms of the Guadalupe River -- all
characters familiar to readers of True Women. Will’s sister, Louise Bergfeld Tewes, drove her red roadster through a Texas storm searching for evidence to prove that the charges against her brother were untrue.

The dynamic courtroom drama will remind readers of John Grisham's best-selling novels, except that Janice Woods Windle produces fact-based fiction based on extensive research about her own family. So this novel quotes from 3,000 pages of actual trial transcripts and government documents uncovered by the author and Mary Kaye Fenwick, her best friend from college days.
The author’s husband, Wayne Windle, a distinguished trial lawyer, worked with her in developing the courthouse scenes.

"My books seem to be a unique genre," said Windle. "They combine elements of fiction and nonfiction into one format. I don't invent a plot, but rely on the real-life adventures of my actual ancestors to develop a story line. Then I invent the dialogue and the inner dialogue of their thoughts—and recreate the scenes in a dramatic way."

Windle's previous novels, True Women and Hill Country, have sold more than a million copies worldwide. True Women was made into a highly rated 1997 CBS mini-series, starring Dana Delany, Angelina Jolie, and Annabeth Gish.

To schedule an interview with Janice Woods Windle or to receive a review copy of Will’s War, please contact Marika Flatt at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, (512) 478-2028, ext 201 or marika@bookpros.com.

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