Kip Wilson: White Rose
April is here! Wahoo! There are so many wonderful books this month! Are your eyeballs ready?
by Kip Wilson
A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.
Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.
April 2nd, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
I’m Kip Wilson and White Rose is a YA historical novel-in-verse about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, a group of kids who led non-violent resistance against the Nazis in World War II.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
It’s been pleasantly surprising to see strangers interested in reading my book!
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I have many, many books by fellow #Novel19s on my TBR list, but one I already read and particularly loved was For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama Lockington. The writing is gorgeous!
What inspired you to write this book?
When I learned about the White Rose resistance group in high school German class, I was inspired by the group’s courage, especially by Sophie, the only girl and youngest member of the group. I first tried to write the book as nonfiction, but it just wasn’t working, and I set the project aside. Years later during a chat with two verse novelists, I figured out that writing the story in verse might be the very thing it needed, and I got to work on it the very next day.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene to write was a single poem in which Sophie sees her Gestapo interrogator in the hall after she’s been condemned and before she’s executed. We know from a letter Inspector Mohr wrote after the war that Sophie was crying after having said goodbye to her parents just then. With the closeness of first-person verse, I owed it to the readers to do more, to get into the head of this person I’d gotten to know so well, to answer the question: But what was she thinking? I obviously can’t know her thoughts in that moment for sure, but these lines I came up with still make me cry every time myself.
Out in the corridor,
the tears I’ve been holding
down my cheeks as I picture
my family’s dining table at
home in Ulm with
two chairs that will remain
Describe your writing space.
My writing space is a bit chaotic. I don’t have an office, so my “office” is a small desk in the living room. It’s nice because it’s facing the window and because most of the chaos is behind me, but it’s not very private and it’s unfortunately a convenient place for people in the family to leave various precious items, so it’s a bit difficult to keep tidy.
How do you select character names?
The characters in White Rose are all based on real people, which made selecting names easy, but it got a bit complicated when two of them shared the same name. Sophie’s brother Hans is one of the main characters, and I wanted to include a second Hans in the story and there just isn’t the real estate in verse for lengthy explanations. I got around it by calling him “young Hans.”
Who is your favorite author?
I absolutely loved All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and spent several weeks analyzing the way he structured the timelines, how many pages he devoted to each to keep the pacing fast, etc. White Rose also includes two timelines in a similar fashion, and they also converge at an important juncture of the story.
Share a favorite song!
“Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlvUepMa31o) is about my favorite piece of music ever. I love how it captures the “triste et beau” melancholy, and I adore the Verlaine poem that inspired it.
Kip's book made me cry ugly tears. You can cry too on 4/2/19!