Behind The Book With Tosca Lee

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Behind The Book With Tosca Lee 

Today I have the honor and pleasure of doing my latest Behind The Book Q&A with New York Times Bestselling author Tosca Lee. The topic of this Behind The Book is about Tosca Lee’s book co-written with Marcus Brotherton The Long March Home: A World War II Novel of the Pacific. I was lucky enough to do two separate Q&As with Tosca and Marcus and I finished the book. 

Q: Tosca for the readers who haven’t read the book would you like to tell them a little bit about The Long March Home & why you and Marcus chose to write this?

A: Absolutely! This is the story of Jimmy Propfield and his two best friends, Hank and Billy, who enlist in the Army in 1941 and are stationed in the Philippines. Life seemed really great for them until the morning of December 8, 1941, when—just 10 hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor—the Philippines was bombed and plunged into war. For the boys, it’s the beginning of four months of survival that ends with the Allied surrender in April, 1942. Rather than end the danger to their lives, the surrender brings with it the atrocity known today as The Bataan Death March. It’s only the beginning of their nearly four year bid to survive life as POWs. 

Q: What was the research process like when writing The Long March Home? 

A: A lot of survivor accounts. They’re harrowing and remarkable for their candor and detail. For those interested in learning more, I recommend Donald Knox’s Death March and my coauthor Marcus Brotherton’s A Bright and Blinding Sun.

Q: It was amazing to learn that Felipa Culala was a real female guerilla commander in the Philippines. While Jimmy, Hank and Billy were fictional characters, are they based off of real soldiers?

A: Felipa Culala was a fascinating woman and real life freedom fighter. And she wasn’t alone—there were actually other women like her fighting to defend their country. Jimmy, Hank, and Billy are all fictional, but their stories are inspired by survivor accounts. Everything that happened to them from the moment they enlisted in the story happened to someone fighting over there.

Q: The story flipped from Mobile Alabama before the war to the war in the Pacific. What made you both choose to write the story this way?

A: The dual timeline was really important for two reasons: we wanted to give our readers a break from the brutality of war in the Pacific and return every so often to a more nostalgic, more innocent time. This had the effect of taking a break from the grueling war narrative, but also of raising the stakes for these characters we got to know so very well.

Q: What lessons do you hope readers take away from reading The Long March Home? 

A: Gratitude, most of all, and the power of hope and friendship.