Ellen Marie Wiseman was born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York, A first generation American, Ellen has traveled frequently to visit her family in Germany, where she fell in love with the country’s history and culture. She lives peacefully on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and three dogs.
Told from one of the best vantage points for witnessing the first cruelties and final ruin of the Third Reich—the German home front—THE PLUM TREE is an epic story of human resilience and enduring hope that follows a young German woman through the chaos of WWII as she tries to save the love of her life, a Jewish man.
Welcome Ellen, and thank you for taking the Deb Interview. First question: Where do you love to be?
Home. I grew up traveling, especially to Germany, and still love to go when I can. But there’s nothing like coming home to your own bed. For fifteen years, my husband and I had a 30 ft. motor home and we had a great time traveling around the country with our kids. The best thing about a motor home is that you take ‘home’ with you wherever you go. From Florida to Maine, we slept in our own bed and showered in our own bathroom. Unfortunately, our financial circumstances changed and we had to get rid of our motor home. We miss it tremendously, especially when we have to travel and stay in hotels. I can never sleep the first night.
What time of day do you love best?
I love evenings best, when my work is done and it’s time for a long walk, a home-cooked meal, a good book, or a few hours spent with my guilty pleasure (Bravo TV). Weekend evenings are even better because that’s when the hubby and I go to the movies, out to dinner with friends, or to visit our beautiful grandbabies. I like mornings too, especially when it’s snowing and I can make a cup of tea and cuddle beneath a blanket with my dogs while I write. Sunday mornings are good, too. Oh hell, any morning I wake up is a great one!
Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.
In THE PLUM TREE, when Christine is sent to Dachau for hiding her Jewish boyfriend, a number is tattooed on her wrist. The number is a date, one that changed my life forever. It’s the day my sister suffered a severe head injury in a car accident. After two weeks on life support, she was left in a persistence vegetative state. My mother took care of her at home—for twenty-three years.
Do you have any phobias?
Just one—flying. I’m not really afraid of anything else. I used to pick up spiders and snakes and chase my older brother around the yard. In our old farmhouse I used to catch the mice and take them out in the field to let them go. When the neighbor’s two-ton bull got loose, I led it home with a bucket of grain. My neighbor thought I’d lost my mind. Once I had to break up a fight between the neighbor’s untrained stallion and my gelding after the stallion jumped the fence and attacked my mare. When my grown son and his friends were working on a car in the garage, they came inside to get me to chase a possum out from behind some boards. I jump off boats in the middle of eighty-foot deep lakes. But even though I grew up going to Germany on a regular basis, I’m still afraid to fly. I’ll do it, but it’s hard for me.
What’s your next big thing?
Book two is about a young woman who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the owner of an old steamer truck after finding hundreds of suitcases in the attic of an old asylum, luggage left behind by patients who checked into the institution but never checked out.
We are honored to have had Ellen at the Ball today! If you want to learn more about Ellen, visit her on:
or at her website.
Want to win a free copy of THE PLUM TREE? Ellen has generously offered a copy to one randomly chosen commenter below! Good luck!