Katrin Schumann was born in Germany — and now lives in Boston and Key West. She’s the Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar and Workshops. Her latest novel This Terrible Beauty has been called “luminous and unflinching,” “unputdownable,” and “hard to forget.” It’s a love story about a young woman in 1950s East Germany who is forced to choose between her family and her freedom. It was chosen by SheReads as among the “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction in 2020.” Her debut novel, The Forgotten Hours—”gut-wrenching,” a “brilliant debut” with a “heart-pounding finish”—was a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller. She’s also the author of several nonfiction books.
Best selling author Katrin Schumann’s latest novel This Terrible Beauty came out in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a personal book, wrapped up in her own family history.
The novel introduces readers to a little known chapter in German history after World War 2. This Terrible Beauty is mainly set in Rügen, a German island on the Baltic Sea. After the war, the island fell under the control of the Russians on the communist side of the Iron Curtain.
During her childhood, Katrin traveled to the island with her father, and she was captivated by the history, the landscape and the people. She imagined what it must have been like living there during this time. This imaginative exploration led to the creation of her story.
Author Christopher Castellani describes her novel: “A love story as devastating as it is uplifting, this moving novel centers on a young woman desperate to regain a sense of agency after WWII, shining a spotlight on a shadowy era in German history defined by radical social change. Deeply relevant to our current times, This Terrible Beauty explores the lengths to which we will go to find love, and the sacrifices we make for family and community. I fell in love with these characters, and came away heartened and hopeful.”
For Katrin, the core of all her writing focuses on a profound question: what does a regular person do when they are forced by circumstances out of their comfort zone? This question is at play in both of her novels This Terrible Beauty and The Forgotten Hours.
Katrin offers this advice to young writers: “you really should only be a writer if it’s a compulsion and you just feel that you can’t not be a writer.” She says the process can often be agonizing because her expectations are so high. She calls it a roller coaster ride. Ultimately, you have to be in it for the long haul.
If she had to give her younger self words of wisdom, this is what she would say: don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes and to learn and don’t be in such a rush!
You can learn more about Katrin and her best-selling books right here: https://katrinschumann.com/
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