Guest Author Pamela Schoenewaldt shares what inspired her to write Under the Same Blue Sky, a historical fiction novel following a German immigrant family in the US during WWI and a special GIVEAWAY for teachers only!

Be Our Guest Friday {30}- Under the Same Blue Sky: How This Novel Happened by Author Pamela Schoenewaldt & Special GIVEAWAY for Teachers!

I’m happy to bring you a special Be Our Guest Friday post and giveaway today from Pamela Schoenewaldt, author of Under the Same Blue Sky that I told you I really enjoyed last month. Well Pamela contacted me on Facebook and said she’d like to do an extra special giveaway of Under the Same Blue Sky to one lucky teacher (US only)! It’s my pleasure to bring you what inspired Pamela to write Under the Same Blue Sky and a great giveaway…welcome Pamela to Mom’s Small Victories!


Guest Author Pamela Schoenewaldt shares what inspired her to write Under the Same Blue Sky, a historical fiction novel following a German immigrant family in the US during WWI and a special GIVEAWAY for teachers only!

Under the Same Blue Sky: How This Novel Happened

by Pamela Schoenewaldt, Historical Novel Author

Elements of Under the Same Blue Sky came to me as I finished the final draft of my second novel, Swimming in the Moon, as if my mind, “cleared” of that story, turned to the next. In some mysterious way, plot elements coalesce into plot. I wish I knew how this happens. In any case, here were the first elements.

The setting would be a century ago, during World War I (1914-1918), just after the years of Swimming in the Moon. I saw the story originating in Pittsburgh, which produced a huge percentage of war materials, first for foreign belligerents (both sides!), and then for the U.S. Pittsburgh held a thriving German-American community, letting me explore my own German-American roots. The second half of Under the Same Blue Sky is set in a fictional Watchung, NJ, where I once lived near a brooding, out-of-place castle. I imagined it inhabited by an out-place Prussian baron, exiled by his sexual orientation. My protagonist, Hazel Renner, lives the clash between German-American traditions of responsibility and restraint and her own search for self, beginning as she leaves home to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania.

German-Americans are this country’s largest self-reported ethnicity. Before WWI, thriving German communities, schools, stores, churches, and cultural groups preserved a fondly remembered culture. How did these people feel as their home country was engulfed in war, family members and childhood friends mowed down in trenches, and civilians starved? When the U.S. entered the war, former neighbors treated them as enemies, potential traitors, and brutal “Huns.” How did that feel?

While shell shock, now called PTSD, isn’t new, it ravaged millions of soldiers and their families during and after WWI. In my novel, a gardener turned pilot and the woman he loves endure this trauma, while on the home front, a caring man is overwhelmed by the pain of his people.

In creating a plot, I wanted the characters to find peace, not despite, but through their difficulties, an armistice of the soul for those who despaired and sought comfort. In Under the Same Blue Sky, I walked with my people in their journey home.

Note: Under the Same Blue Sky includes many extras for book club readers and those who want to know more about this turbulent time. If your book club or class would like to set up a Skype session, let me know. You can reach me at p.schoene{at}
Pamela Schoenewaldt

About Pamela Schoenewaldt

Pamela Schoenewaldt

Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog. Pamela is the author of When We Were Strangers, Swimming in the Moon and Under the Same Blue Sky. Find Pamela on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


The definition of home can be complex for immigrants. As a child of Indian immigrants, I see how our friends and family that are immigrants are torn between the home they live in and the home they left behind. Hearts are split in two and when there’s conflict between the two countries, it can lead to turmoil and discrimination. My heart ached for the Renner family and I especially empathized with Hazel as an American-born child of immigrants. I found Under the Same Blue Sky showed an interesting perspective of the immigrant experience during wartime. I hope you’ll share this giveaway and let a lucky teacher win this book!


If you’re a K-12 teacher and a resident of the U.S., enter to win this great giveaway from author Pamela Schoenewaldt and share it with your teacher friends! Giveaway ends 7/31/15 at 11:59pm EST. See Giveaway Terms & Conditions for complete rules.

About Be Our Guest Fridays!

Be Our Guest Fridays is a weekly feature where I feature guest posts by my favorite bloggers and authors. I started this feature as a fun way to give back to the blogging community. I am excited to share with you these creative, inspiring and knowledgeable bloggers. Leave me a comment if you’d like to guest post and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for each other.

Please share this great giveaway with the teachers you know and be sure to leave a comment for Pamela about the inspiration behind her book or why you’d like to read it!


  1. Hi!
    I am stopping by to let you know that I featured your blog on my Shout Out Saturday blog of July.
    Thank you for sharing so many great posts!

  2. This historical fiction novel is meaningful, fascinating and the story profound. I enjoy reading novels which take place during that era and families who have to deal with trials and tribulations during their lives. This author writes unforgettable books.

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