Geraldine Birch has been a newspaper reporter most of her life, having worked for various community newspapers in Southern California and Arizona. Her work included a ten-year stint as a free-lance writer for the Los Angeles Times.
In 1991, she moved to Sedona, Arizona, where she worked as a reporter, editor, and political columnist for the Sedona Red Rock News. Birch’s political column “Gerrymandering,” was awarded a first place national award by the National Newspaper Association.
Her writing has also appeared in the Arizona Republic, the Christian Science Monitor, Opium, Six Hens, and Fiction Attic Press.
What's the story behind your latest book?
One day I was doing research at the main Phoenix library in downtown and came across several newspaper articles about a prisoner of war camp located in east Phoenix (now Tempe). It housed about 1,700 German U-boat sailors and officers. I had never heard that America had German prisoners of war, but after further investigation, I found there had been about 500 camps set up in different locations in America. The men in the camps replaced Americans who were serving in the military. They picked cotton, cleaned irrigation ditches, picked fruit, worked in factories and even harvested lumber. I was so intrigued, that I began doing more research and even visited the area that was the camp, which is now an Arizona National Guard base. There is a small museum on the base that tells about Camp Papago Park.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing when I was ten years old. I didn't have friends that lived in the neighborhood, so I began typing on my mother's old Remington typewriter that sat in the small nook of my grandmother's house in Los Angeles. My first story--a really crappy romance about an Indian maiden who falls in love with a young buck from another tribe--is still alive, nestled in a box in the garage.
As John and I stood on the edge of the Pacific Ocean that day in 1980, I envisioned a happy life with a wealthy man where I could be home with my two young sons. But I found myself among a deceptive family filled with the pretense of a founding dynasty. My life was no different than the soap opera Dallas. If one’s life can be a duplication of a decade, then I was the perfect example.
Rudolf Meier is a young German POW whose love for Nazi Germany is as visible as the swastika tattoo on his forearm. Captured by the Americans, he is sent to a camp near Phoenix, Arizona where he comes face-to-face with the prejudice and bigotry he learned as a Hitler Youth.