Site icon Kathryn McClatchy

Researching WWII Children

I am the first to admit that I can justify almost any form of procrastination, but my hands-down favorite is research! This became such a problem while in graduate school that one of my professors made me parrot “It’s not done, it’s only due” every time she saw me about campus. I had missed too many deadlines because I kept finding awesome information that I wanted to work into my paper.

I find myself hit by the research bug again as I am working on my novels. Yes, I have more than one in the works–is that a problem? I actually have six that are rolling around in my head. One that is my first priority WIP (Work In Progress), two more that I am actively researching, and three others that just pop up occasionally to distract me. I have started taking notes on what the characters are telling me and then going back to work on the stories I have already committed to.

But then last night, while fighting a case of insomnia, I let the research muse/demon (?) free to take me where it would. I did focus on the story about four sisters who have to flee WWII Germany as little girls for safety in England, and then are sent to live with relatives in the US when England becomes too dangerous. I have done enough research to know that my story premise is absolutely historically accurate, and I have been fortunate to be able to interview some wonderful women who lived through this horrific time period. I don’t know that all my research will make it into the novel, but I thought you might find some of it interesting.

I can’t help looking at these pictures and wondering what happened to all these children. Did they survive? Were they ever reunited with their families? Did they live anything like a normal life? How did their experiences affect their relationships later in life? As parents, how did they treat or value their children? These are the questions that are at the heart of my next mystery novel. The working title is Four Flowers. The story is still developing, but it already has a vice-like grip on my imagination.

If you, or someone you know, were one of the children who was sent away for safety, I would love to talk with you. Feel free to email me at

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