Author Interview with David Wessel


Welcome Readers to another installment of our author interview series. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with historical fiction author, David Wessel.

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, David. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

DW- My home is in southern New Hampshire, which I love in the spring, summer and fall. A perfect day involves an early morning walk in the woods with my wife of some 40 years, a late afternoon swim or kayaking on a nearby pond, and sipping a nice Pinot Noir while watching the sunset – with lots of time for reading and writing in between. I escape the harsh New England winter by visiting my daughter, who lives in New Zealand, and pretty much seek the same pleasures, but also get to play with her dogs and cats – she has two of each.

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

DW – Hands down, my favorite historical era to read about – and the era I write about – is the period between the two world wars. Maybe because it is just far enough back that it’s considered to be history but close enough to the present that for some of my older family and friends it is the recent past, not yet history. I marvel at how some things, like telephones and air travel,  have changed so much in such a short time. And I wonder why some things, like prejudice and nationalism, don’t seem to have changed at all. 

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

DW- My favorite historical figure? That’s a tough question. There are so many figures to choose from. But I think it would be great to meet Orville and Wilbur Wright and ask them to speculate on how they thought their invention might be improved upon, what useful purposes might the airplane be put to, and if they thought it could be useful in future wars?

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

I was inspired to write my family’s story of emigration from Germany to the United States during the inter-war years – and a desire to really understand why so many family members decided to stay put.

JMR- We are all affected by the highs and lows in our lives. How has your lived life informed your writing?

DW- My biggest personal highs and lows have been family related – getting married, becoming a father, losing my parents and several siblings – rather than driven by external factors like pandemics, economic recessions, and political unrest. So my focus in writing is about how family dynamics and relationships change and how they carry us through in good times and in bad.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

DW- I found myself driven to visit the village my father and his parents left behind when they came to America. I wanted to get a true sense of the area - its topography, its culture, the smell of the air, a full feeling for the place. I came away with all that, but also a much closer feeling for my main characters - Dad, Opa and Oma – who had lived there. And I got to meet some distant family members related to those who never left Germany, so got my first good feeling for the ones who chose to stay behind.

JMR- David, tell us about your book, Choosing Sides.

DW- I think the summary on the cover pretty much says it all. This is a novel about an ordinary family torn apart by Hitler’s Germany. I first set out to write it as a family saga like Winds of War by Herman Wouk or as biographical history like Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Or maybe as narrative non-fiction like Eric Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. But as  I got into it, I realized I did not have the source material – personal diaries, letters, newspaper accounts, family records, birth certificates, etc – to properly document the family stories I wanted to share. So I set about writing it as historical fiction – “inspired by” or “based upon” family lore, set in the historical context of a world rapidly going to hell in a handbasket.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

DW- I have a sequel in mind – as hinted at in the final four words of this book – “but that’s another story.” As a follow-up to “Choosing Sides,” in which my father and other family members make their decisions about where they wish to live out their lives, the sequel will be called “Changing Sides” and will relate my father’s post-World War 2 life working in the field of military intelligence. It’s a true story, but will again be historical fiction because he didn’t share many details of his life and career as a spy with us kids.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on media and the web.

DW- I hope readers will check out my website at, follow me on facebook ( or on X/Twitter as @wessel4nh. 

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

DW- I think your questions have been great and I really don’t have anything I had hoped to be asked but was not. I do, however, sometimes get asked if I’m related to or descended from the Nazi Party martyr who wrote the Party’s anthem, Das Horst Wessel Lied. If you had asked that, I’d have given my standard, tongue-in-cheek, reply – the answer lies within the pages of my book, so you’ll just have to read it to get an answer. Thanks.

JMR- Thank you, David, for stopping by. Your books look really great! 



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