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Author Q&A ft Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey | THE FORTRESS Book Tour | Goddess Fish Promotion Presents Historical Fiction

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Name Before the Masses Tour for THE FORTRESS by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey, a WWII historic...

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Name Before the Masses Tour for THE FORTRESS by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey, a WWII historical available now from Freedom Forge Press. It stops at Readeropolis with an author interview and excerpt. Enjoy!

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Fortress
by Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey


GENRE:   WWII Historical



The war has not made much of difference in Alix’s life. Her father has seen to it that she grows up unaware, unworried, but safe in her tiny village under the cliffs of the Vercors. All around her he has built a fortress whose walls are impregnable—until the 27th of April, 1944. That day he makes a stupid mistake up on the cliff, and the walls of the Fortress start crashing down. Reality breaks into Alix’s life with unrelenting violence, unforeseen possibilities. From now on, every decision she makes will mean life or death.



Six weeks before D-Days, a thousand kilometers from the beaches of Normandy.

There are no generals in the French Vercors, just a handful of men and women against the Nazi war machine. They come from Bretagne, Paris, and Slovenia, and the villages up on the cliff. They are the Fortress.



Title explanation:

The Vercors Massif is the Fortress, a circular system of vertiginous cliffs and canyons defending a vast expanse of grazing fields, dense forests, and more rocky ridges. If you search Vercors on the net, you’ll find hundreds of entries on rock-climbing, canyoning, hiking, food—it’s French after all—, but mostly, you’ll find History. If you dig further, you might find the story of a fifteen-year old boy, a resistant fighter whose name is forgotten, who was tortured and murdered by the Nazis in the summer of 1944. This boy is the reason why I wrote this book.

The Vercors is a dream of freedom, a heroic battle, a military disaster, but also redemptive last stand. Many military and history books have been written on the subject, but no fiction accounts, and in fact, I was frustrated by the dryness of the accounts which I felt did not reflect the human dimension of that battle. For me, it’s home. It’s where my ancestors have lived and are buried, under those same cliffs.

Similar books:

This will be a short entry. Many books have been written on the French Resistance, and I will confess I read none that were written by people who have no personal connection to the French resistance. If there is one thing you will experience with my book, is that it is authentic. You may like it or not, but you will get the insight of a French person whose family was really involved with the Resistance and the Vichy government. The emotions are real, the blood was spilled. It’s a heart and soul message, not a commercial project.

Personal connection:

I grew up there long after the liberation, on the wrong side of glory. Three of my uncles had been condemned to death for collaborating with the Vichy government, a puppet of the Nazis. Their sentences were eventually commuted to national disgrace, and ten years of forced labor—thanks to my father, who had fought with honor during the war and was able to litigate a lighter sentence with the subsequent political swamp of the liberation. My uncles had to leave the area to avoid being murdered, but we stayed. It would be too long to explain the kind of resentment and mistrust that centuries of hardship and war can breed in a small community, but to summarize the situation, we were the children of traitors to the nation. Growing up in that atmosphere of hostility made me want to understand what tears a nation apart, what makes people turn against their country, their neighbors, and themselves sometimes.

In fact, I just received an email from a childhood friend confessing to a conversation he had with one of our dear neighbors who is still perpetuating the lie that my father was a collaborator. My father was twice decorated for bravery during WWII, which is more than many of these people can say for themselves.

Favorite characters:

Marc and Alix, the two protagonists, two mismatched people who would have never looked at each other had the war not thrown them in a battle for survival and revenge. They meet at the edge of defeat and find in each other the strength to overcome. Marc, a complicated man who is a blend of all the men I have loved, their steely strength and emotional secrets—no masculinity is too toxic there—I have always imagined as Russell Crowe. I’m not sure who Alix is, the woman I wish I were, I guess, calm but passionate, intelligent and organic. Isn’t it why we write, to re-invent ourselves? I love her brother, Régis, my own lost brother and the embodiment of my father’s youth, the kid who understands idealism as a cross for him to bear, not someone else; and Angélique, a very emancipated woman who sees herself as an experiment for God to test man’s endurance to Evil. It was sometimes painful to go into the bad guys’ minds, because of the blend of contradicting emotions that went into their behavior, the hateful things they say and do, against their stunted humanity. I think the Militia chief, a broken soul with a pale glimmer of who he should have been, is the most effective in that sense.

Strangest things I have had to research on line:

Things like Nazi decorations or weapons, uniforms, the Lebensborn, and basically anything having to do with a violent, murderous ideology. The fact that I often did it on my planning time at my school, or on the school-issued computer was made me nervous, too. I was always afraid someone from security was going to ask me upstairs to question me about these searches. It was extremely uncomfortable having to rationalize ideas from a Nazi point of view, which I had to do in order to make Rieder’s thought process, or the Militia Chief’s racist outlook credible.



“Honey, if anybody’s looking for it up here, it means you’re already dead. So it won’t matter to you. Listen now. People will call you on the other phone, the one downstairs, and give you coded messages. As a rule it will be about movements in our direction, Germans, Militia, or even new recruits for our camps. Remember, the security of Mortval depends on you. Here is a list of codes. You must memorize all of them and get rid of the list.”

She started to read. “The strawberries are in their juice. Your walnuts were wormy. You can’t put rabbit in the cassoulet.” She looked up. “Are they all about food?”

“No. Read the next one.”

“Yvette préfère les grosses carrottes. Well?”

“Well, it’s not about food.”

“Yvette préfère… Oh. I understand now. Did you come up with that one?”

“I thought it would be memorable.”

“It’s lovely. I bet the British are impressed.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey was born in the French Alps, moved to the United States twenty-five years later, and currently lives in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, two daughters, and Mikko.

Website | FaceBook



Madeleine Romeyer Dherbey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the interview! Best of luck with THE FORTRESS and book tour. I've included the tour in the Wednesday, Aug. 01, 2018 edition of The Historical Fiction Weekly Reader:

  2. I enjoyed getting to know your book and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Do you have any ideas for your next book? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Great post - I really enjoyed reading the interview!

  5. What are your favorite shows to watch on tv? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  6. I included the tour in the Wednesday, Aug. 08, 2018 edition of The BookTube Your Shelf Daily Reader:

  7. I have heard of book tours but have not seen one before, fascinating #wow@_karendenbid199@gmail nis

  8. Your personal connection is very interesting!

  9. I like that there is a personal connection to the historical event represented by the author. Congrats on the book and good luck. I hope you get great reviews! :)

  10. How do the French Alps compare to America? It seems like such a beautiful area to move away from.

  11. I liked both the excerpt, and the beautiful book cover.

  12. Beautiful book cover, the except is very engaging.

  13. Loving the ideal of this book, def on my to read list!!


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