Interview with Soren Petrek: 'Cold Lonely Courage'

Soren Petrek is a practicing trial attorney with a passion for studying World War Two. He lived in England and France listening to people’s stories of struggle and sacrifice during the darkest periods of the war. Soren’s debut novel, Cold Lonely Courage was inspired by the true story of a young Belgian woman who helped countless Jewish children escape from the terrors of the Nazi regime. Soren lives with his wife, Renee and sons, Max and Riley, in central Minnesota.

You can visit Soren’s blog at

Cold Lonely Courage is Soren’s debut novel.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Soren. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Cold Lonely Courage?

I've been writing since I was in my teens and always promised myself that someday I would be a published author. Suddenly I turned 40 and hadn't written a book and figured I'd better get started. I'd always enjoyed historical fiction, action/adventure and thrillers and chose to write in those genres.

I finished my first novel, The Patience County War, in 2005. I then attempted to find an agent and sent out over 200 query letters. I had some agent interest but was turned down. I then wrote Cold Lonely Courage in the hope that the subject matter would be more appealing to agents and publishers. I again sent out numerous queries, had a decent response and found an agent. Unfortunately the agent had a serious family medical emergency and could not continue representation. At that point I queried small publishers and found Black Rose Writing. To check out my book, please visit my blog at:

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

The title is a slight variation of the quote that precedes the novel. In few words the quote describes the immense courage that the female agents of the British Special Operations Executive, SOE, displayed operating alone in Nazi occupied territories. Those words describe the strength of my protagonist, Madeleine Toche, in the face of incredible odds and personal danger. Too often the heroics of the women who fought on all levels against the Nazis are overlooked or disregarded in favor of the actions of male combatants. Those women deserve their place in history and credit for their courage.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

The story stands for the idea that thousands of nameless individuals resisted the Nazis and were pivotal to the success of the Allied war effort. Their stories are lost to time and the gigantic events that took place during the war. While, Cold Lonely Courage is fiction, it stands to remind people of the efforts of those who worked in the shadows, most with no training to resist the evil the Nazis perpetrated against humanity. I believe those individuals who fought alone did so with nothing else to rely on but their own cold lonely courage.

Cold Lonely Courage also won the Best Fiction Award in the 15th Annual Writers Network Screenplay & Fiction Competition through Fade In Magazine. Fade In was recently named America's #1 movie magazine by the Washington Post.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Black Rose Writing have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

I was given the opportunity to choose a cover, with the publisher's consent. Our family friend, Watercolorist, Michael Morgan RI is a member of the prestigious Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in the United Kingdom. Michael's works evoke the loneliness experienced by Madeleine as she fought on with no guarantee of success or the knowledge that the war against the Nazis would even be won. I was honored by his grant of permission to use his most highly successful work as the cover of my book.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?
I drafted and followed a marketing plan involving various forms of media, now including a virtual book tour.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

There are few comparisons between my novel and the vast majority of World War Two thrillers. In Cold Lonely Courage, strong female characters drive the action. My protagonist, Madleine Toche, makes the story special. She is a dangerous balance of compassion and rage, known to her enemies as l'ange de la mort, the Angel of Death. She's killed hundreds of Nazi elite, while protecting the innocents around her. I've written one of the most impressive, imposing and compelling characters in the historical thriller genre.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

The Normandy invasion is underway, Madeleine comes upon a French family being harassed by a squad of German soldiers. She is in the company of an American paratrooper when she strikes, cold surgical and deadly. The paratrooper has killed and seen death in combat, but watching Madeleine kill the soldiers so dispassionately and without compunction, terrifies him.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, The Patience County War has now been edited by, Redbird Studios in Milwaukee Wisconsin and I am in the rewriting stage. I have also started another sequel that finds Madeleine back in action during the time of the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. Her godson is a clandestine American agent abducted by the PLO. Due to tensions between the USSR and the US, he is disavowed by the US government. Madleine goes to find him with the help of several of the memorable characters from, Cold Lonely Courage.

Q: Thank you for your interview, soren. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Cold Lonely Courage is available at Amazon Books, on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Black Rose Writing and other on line book stores. Readers can visit my blog at.
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