The Very Dead of Winter by Miles Watson

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Author | 0 comments

This is what I came up with:

I’ve spent half my adult life in law enforcement and the other half in Hollywood, but I consider myself a writer first and foremost: it’s the only thing I ever wanted to do, and the only thing I do which really sets me apart from other people. I often say that writing is not something I do, it’s something I am, and I mean that.

I published Sinner’s Cross in 2019. It was the culmination of many years of interest in World War Two. The approach I chose was to follow three men through a battle, and have their lives – and in some cases, their deaths – intersect in unexpected ways. The Very Dead of Winter (2022) is the second installment in the series, and it follows three survivors of the previous story – two Americans and one German – through the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge: each man’s actions effect the destiny of the others, sight (sometimes) unseen. In regards to setting, I wanted to stick to corners of the war that were not well explored by other writers. I began the series in the Huertgen Forest Campaign because it was a gigantic battle nobody really knows about. I continued it in the Bulge, but stuck to a part of that fight which seldom gets any press. That is my guiding principle: take the reader places he or she hasn’t been a million times before.

I believe this novel will appeal to anyone who fancies storytelling, character development, dialog, atmosphere. This is historical fiction for people who like storytelling, not necessarily historical fiction. My audience is everyone. However, I would caution people that this is war the way the veterans I’ve interviewed over the years actually saw it: it’s not pretty and you won’t find a lot of flag-waving or Hollywood heroics. War novels tend to be pretty generic in that they often show only one side of the conflict. We rarely get much more than a glimpse at the guy in the distance who is shooting back at our heroes, and when we do, the depiction is usually pretty one-dimensional and cartoonish. His pain, his fear, his life, his loves, his hates, his motivations – they don’t matter. He’s just a target, fodder, an abstraction. The whole idea behind Sinner’s Cross is to give the audience an honest, unvarnished look at the soldiers who had to fight the war, and the best way to do this is to remember that before and after they were soldiers, they were ordinary human beings, most of whom did not want to be there. They were generally normal folks who were thrust into an extraordinarily horrible situation and had to deal with it or die. I want the reader to really get inside the shirts of these people, to bleed when they bleed – physically and emotionally.

The Very Dead of Winter is the second entry in a seven-novel series. If you read the first book, you know not every character survives each story and that ultimately, nobody is safe. I hope to keep readers coming back to see who lives and who dies in each novel, but more than that, I want people to get to the finish line feeling as if they have actually participated in a journey and not just been along for the ride. A friend of mine who fought in Vietnam read the first book and said, “I got to the end and I loved it but damn, I’m exhausted.” It was the highest compliment he could have given.


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