Monday, April 13, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2)
by Anne Blankman
416 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 21st 2015
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The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

Hello Anne! We are super excited to have you once again in our FFBC tours.

Thanks so much for having me again! J

Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke?

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, a YA romantic historical thriller, is the sequel to Prisoner of Night and Fog. In the first book, seventeen-year-old Gretchen Müller starts off as the Nazi Party’s golden girl—she’s grown up in the Party and her father supposedly sacrificed his life to save Hitler’s. When Daniel Cohen, a mysterious Jewish reporter, approaches her with shocking information about her father’s death, she decides to find out for herself exactly what happened to her dad…and slowly realizes that everything she has ever believed is a lie. 

When the sequel opens, Gretchen has made an enemy out of her former family friend Adolf Hitler and has fled to England with Daniel. Then a family tragedy forces Daniel to return to Germany. When Gretchen receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder in Berlin, she knows she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped…and return to her homeland to save her love. 

Can readers read this second book without having read the first book in the Prisoner of Night and Fog series?

Absolutely! I wrote the books so each can stand on its own. 

That said, I think it’s probably better to read the books in order so you can get a full sense of Gretchen’s transformation. 

How did you come up with the story? 

The murder mystery in Conspiracy was inspired by a real-life still unsolved homicide! I stumbled across it while reading an excellent social history of Berlin. A twenty-four-year-old seamstress was walking home from her bus stop late one night in January 1933 when a man dressed in a Nazi uniform bicycled up to her. He shouted, “Heil, Hitler!” and shot her in the head. She was dead before she hit the ground. The man bicycled calmly away while passersby watched, frozen in horror. 

He was never identified. The homicide case’s file has moldered into dust; a heartbreaking, random stranger-on-stranger crime. 

How bizarre, I thought as I reread the passage. I wonder if this man had a secret motive for killing her—it seems like a well-planned street assassination. 

And then I felt it. The breathless, shivery feeling of anticipation, the tingle deep in my mind, the signal that this story is meant for me. I knew I had my murder. 

Was it difficult to write about Adolf Hitler and his relationship with Gretchen?

Writing Hitler’s character was definitely my biggest challenge. I felt a tremendous responsibility to portray him as accurately as possible, not only because he was a real person but out of respect for his millions of victims. It would have been easy to portray him as a caricature; a sinister figure rubbing his hands with maniacal glee, that sort of thing. But he was much more complicated than that. 

I based Hitler and Gretchen’s relationship on several real-life ones he had with young women, including the teenage daughter of his favorite photographer. 

Tell us your favorite quote from Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke.

My favorite passage is the last couple of paragraphs, which is much too spoilery to reveal here. So I’ll go with my second favorite: 

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn’t stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

I’m not going to lie—writing sexy scenes is incredibly fun! That scene ended up getting cut from the book, but it shows up on another post for this blog tour. Be sure to check it out for an exclusive look at a steamy deleted scene!

For the ones who haven’t read the previous book, can you tell us a bit about Gretchen and Daniel and their relationship?

When Gretchen and Daniel first meet in Prisoner of Night and Fog, they seem like opposites. She’s a dyed-in-the-wool Nazi; he’s a Jewish reporter for a Socialist newspaper. Reluctantly, they join forces to investigate her father’s death and slowly realize they’re a lot more similar than they’d initially thought. 

In Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, you’ll see their relationship deepen but hit major obstacles. You’ll also get to know Daniel a lot better. As for whether they end up together…my lips are sealed! J

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke – Which one would you pick? 

Oooh, I love this question! I have to listen to music when I write. The song I listened to the most while writing Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke was “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes. But the song that I think “fits” the book’s ending the best is “I’ll Hold My Breath” by Ellie Goulding. It gives me chills every time I hear it. 

Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (specific music, snacks…)?

If they’re music lovers, they should check out the Conspiracy playlist, which will be posted on another stop on this blog tour!

What would you say it’s the best thing about the blogging community?

Sometime we hear that books are a dying form of entertainment. Bloggers certainly prove the opposite is true! I adore how passionate bloggers are about books. And there’s nothing better than interacting with fellow bibliophiles! 

What’s next for you? 

My next book comes out in April, 2016 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. I’m not supposed to say too much about it yet, not even its title, but I promise it’s very different from Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. It’s a romantic historical adventure set in seventeenth century England. And I’d better not say anything else or I’ll reveal too much. J

Thank you so much for everything, Anne!

Thank you so much for having me! Happy reading, everybody!

Follow the Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

US Only | Giveaway ends: April 22nd, 2015


  1. Excited?? I'm so excited I don't really know what to say! I LOVED the first book, it's become one of my favorites and finally the wait for the second book is over! I spent my time reading the books the author provided in the bibliography, but it's not the same! I want to know what happens to gretchen and Daniel! ;)

  2. I actually haven't read too much historical fiction but these books look amazing! Thanks!!!

  3. I have yet to read the first book and I'm waiting for this to release so that I can get both at the same time.