Storytime for Grownups – Author Spotlight: Inga Wiehl, author of ‘Tower Blues: Solving the Riddle of Confinement’

Palm Beach Happening has recently partnered with Waldorf Publishing in order to give you insight into the minds of some of the greatest fiction and nonfiction authors of the 21st century. Today, we are proud to highlight Inga Wiehl.

How did you get your start in the literary world? I had a brilliant Danish teacher in the seventh grade.  He taught me all I would ever know about reading and writing.  I was already hooked on reading and he demanded a weekly essay from his students on a variety of topics.  I have been writing ever since.

 

Can you tell us a little more about what you do?  With a Ph.D in Comparative Literature, I taught English for several years in universities. in Washington, Utah and Texas.  When we moved to my husband’s hometown of Yakima, Washington with only a Community College, I started teaching there.

 

What is your favorite part about being an author? Researching a topic I really care about and writing about it in the best prose possible.  Writing in a second language presents a special challenge, which I have learned to enjoy.

 

How do you get your inspiration? From Danish history and form different phases in my life.  My book When Professional Women Retire, for example, and the one on Reclaiming Our Brains  Without Losing Our Minds deal with two eras in my life: retirement and teaching a local reading group, which has been going since 1984.

 

Of all the characters you’ve created, which one would you like to see come alive on the silver screen? Leonora Christine Ulfeldt of Tower Blues would come to life brilliantly in the hands of Meryl Streep.  She is exactly right for the part and we could all get excited watching her perform.  She gave a fine performance as Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa and might just like to take on the guise of another Dane.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your book?  Tower Blues is a play on the Blue Tower, named so for its exterior walls covered by blue clinkers. It stood cheek to jowl with the royal castle in seventeenth century Copenhagen and served as a prison for the worst malefactors of the time.

On August 16, 1661, Leonora Christine Ulfeldt, daughter of King Christian IV and half-sister of the reigning king, Frederik III, was arrested and brought to the Tower on unspecified charges. Unwilling to offer potentially incriminating information about herself and her husband, Corfitz Ulfeldt, she eventually forces the team of high ranking men sent for questioning to reveal the grounds on which she is held captive: suspected complicity in her husband’s acts of high treason against the Danish crown. Her refusal to know anything about betrayals sentences her to twenty-two years of imprisonment in a cell, six by seven paces, damp, filthy, rat infested, and lit only by a small mesh covered window just below the ceiling.

Given nothing with which to occupy her mind or hands, she must rely on herself for continued survival. As she agonizes about the whereabouts of her husband and seven children, she suffers through the dark night of the soul to wrestle from nothing a life she may sustain. Her well trained mind and skillful hands find work, and her reborn faith in God straighten her shoulders for the cross she imagines herself to be carrying.

Tower Blues is the story of a woman who, from the beginning and all the days to follow – in castles and in prison – remained interested in the world around her, no matter how sordid or trivial. She never allowed the poison of indifference to penetrate her system. She knew that even hatred is less destructive than indifference.

 

What is your next big project? Another book with roots in Danish history.  The sister of George III marrying a Danish Prince-to-be-King and quite demented. Caroline Mathilde had a love repationship with King Christian’s court physician and thereby hangs a tale.

 

Several of the books published through Waldorf Press can be found at your local library. The Palm Beach County Library System has dozens of electronic books, printed books – both novels & non-fiction, audiobooks, and DVDs or Blu-ray discs to help you understand how powerful reading can be! Travel to your closest branch or find them on the web!