Yes, FREE is the cheapest I can offer my books at this time as a show of support for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. I know reading my WWII memoir, “We Don’t Talk About That,” will be like a ‘close encounter’ with war and go deeper than only seeing it on TV. Learning more about what happened more than half a century ago and comparing history and the news of conflict right now will give the reader new insight.
The sequel “Flight into the Unknown” tells you the story of my experience as an immigrant to Canada. I was trying to get away from the ’aftermath’ of war, having lived in three Germanys: Ten years under the Nazis, ten years under tight Communist rule and, after escaping nearly ten years in capitalistic lucrative West Germany. I know what it’s like to be a second-class citizen. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I am one of the few people still alive who were there and can tell the tale!
Clicking to buy will automatically add the FREE coupon. Click HERE to download your free copy of “We Don’t Talk About That” and HERE to download “Flight into the Unknown”.
I thought more of my grandma last night than I did for years! Incredibly, she had nine children, but only five lived. Three girls, two boys, one of them my dad. It was a time when people wanted more children, it was their ‘insurance’ for their old age. It didn’t always work that way. I remember her saying bitterly, “Gila, one mother can raise and care for nine children, but nine children can not care for one old mother.” Sad, isn’t it? Well, I have my own experience. Even with fewer than nine that I cared for… I’m just re-reading my immigration tale, “Flight Into the Unknown.” Now, with a year since the publication, I read it with new eyes, see it from more distance… my goodness, how could she – how did she – wasn’t she old enough to think this through? As her dear old dad said? Quite a read! I understand the man who said to me over a year ago: “I’m not a reader. I always skip pages. Your book? I read every word…”
I was surprised and very happy to say “yes” when Brian Feinblum offered to interview me (online with a questionnaire) about my book “We Don’t Talk About It.” I sent him a long version and when I learned that I might have gone into too much detail, I sent another, a short one. Brian sent an email a few days later and said, “You may share this.” Looking at it I couldn’t believe he published the long one. I thought he made a mistake – but his answer was: “No mistake. This interview is worth the longer version.” So here we are, sharing with you:
I just finished reading “Love in the Land of the Caribou.” It’s an enlightening book about survival in the Boreal forest, about animals, be they friend or foe, about facing each day not sure if survival is possible, learning to eat plants – but above all, getting more of a glimpse into the traditional life of the First Nation’s people. The Canadian author, Genevieve Montcombroux, a French-born and raised girl, has spent 32 years living in the northern bush, six years even in the Arctic, she knows about survival firsthand. But she did not write about that, instead, she takes us on the dangerous, romantic journey of two people, one white, one native, lost in the wilderness, and in an entertaining, sometimes breathtaking way she enlightens and educates us about “The Land of the Caribou.” I learned a lot, and I mean A LOT about the traditional way of life and must say, I am amazed that it was not a hard but very interesting lesson. I recommend this book to all who are truly interested in knowing more about the life history of our native people we know nothing about. The little we know is superfluous.
Well, I finished chapter 26 for my final book of the trilogy “The Nine Lives of Gila” yesterday. Boy-oh-boy! Did I ever enjoy writing about the last few months of 1999 once I was into it, the awesome New Year’s party at the prestigious Terminal City Club in Vancouver, dancing into the Centennial Year 2000! I never expected living long enough to see the change from putting the year 19… on my cheques and learning to write ‘2000.’ Next, on to writing about all the happenings in the world and how they affected Gila during what felt like a new age. I am at the point to enter my ninth life – and I look forward to ending the book. Not my life, hahaha!
Giselle’s Memoir developed into a trilogy. Nanaimo Magazine stated, “Giselle had one hell of a life.” It did not fit into an ordinary book or become one with a thousand pages. The series title could be “The Nine Lives of Gila.”
1: “We Don’t Talk About That” is the story of surviving WWII and its aftermath. Starting after WWI, it outlines the changes in many European countries’ social makeup. Unemployment and staggering inflation when a loaf of bread cost billions and two beers a mere one-hundred billion led to the rise of Adolf Hitler. He promised work and bread and kept his promises. The following years brought an upswing in life but also carried Germany into WWII. The invasion of eastern Germany by the Russian army brought horror with unspeakable atrocities to ordinary people. Most survivors’ attitude is we don’t talk about that.
Gila’s life turned tragic when the fighting approached her neighbourhood with rape, murder and hunger. The Russians took her father and every 16 to 60-year-old able person to Siberia. The rest of the population, including Gila’s mother and her siblings, were evicted. They joined the trek of thousands ‘on the road to nowhere.’ Gila witnessed gruesome acts of violence. She barely survived diphtheria. Later, recovering from typhoid fever, she took responsibility for her three siblings while her mother worked. Despite her interrupted schooling through circumstances beyond her control, Gila’s determination empowered her to become a Physical Education teacher. She lived the first ten years of her life under the Nazis and her teenage years under communist rule. Germany’s division into East and West with its political ramifications caused her to escape to West Germany. Gila’s story is one of courage, pain, love, and longing for liberation.
# 2: “Flight Into The Unknown” deals with Gila’s life in the West. She saw an ad placed by a former German living in Canada. He was looking for a new mommy for his four-year-old daughter. Intrigued, she answered. An envelope with ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ magazines, a letter, and photographs arrived. A lawyer, the Canadian man’s father, called: “My son is not a fly-by-night,” inviting her to visit. Three months later, she got engaged by telephone. With Gila on holiday, the future in-laws organized the wedding without asking her.
Seven months after she had answered the ad, she immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. She soon realized it was the biggest mistake of her life. Her husband used her money to pay his debts. Gila had been blinded by his well-to-do parents, thinking, ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree.’ After a move to Winnipeg, Gila welcomed a second stepdaughter and gave birth to a son. Trials and tribulations were constant companions. After twenty years of marriage, raising the kids, and finally succeeding in her own business, the husband had an affair leading to a nasty divorce. Gila lost everything and moved back to Vancouver
# 3: “Set Sail for Life After 50” is about new beginnings. Gila starts another business. Radio and television interviews give it a boost. A love affair keeps her happy with travels to attend and speak at health conventions across Canada, the USA, and even Australia. After years of struggling with emotional problems and trying counselling, she accepts her fate. Serious health problems cause her to sell her business. To find a cure, Gila flies to Germany, invited by the Kneipp Association. She returns energized, and her customers want to experience the same treatments. A new business is born: “Health Travel.” She takes nearly 200 Canadians to the health resort over the next few years. Several eligible men cross her path. At 70, she meets a Vancouver Island man; they decide to buy a house together and enjoy the companionship for the rest of their lives.
Hard to believe a frustrating and, for many people, the most challenging 2020 comes to an end. At the beginning of the lockdown in spring, I experienced renewed energy for having more time and finished writing the sequel to “We Don’t Talk About That.” The new book, “Flight Into the Unknown,” dealing with my immigration to Canada, was published in May. Many people have written emails with their immigration stories. One man mentioned, “I am not a reader, never finished a book without skipping pages. Yours? I read every single word. I can hardly wait for your finale in your trilogy.” But instead of writing # 3, I updated the first part of my trilogy, “We Don’t Talk About That.” The 2nd Edition is now available, even contains a few photographs.
Christmas came faster than anticipated. People read more than ever, and mainly e-books. I want to help and decided to give my readers a special gift! You can download both books on Kindle, Kobo, i-books and from Smashwords for the super price of only 99 US cents each from December 20th to 31st. Happy reading!
Merry Christmas and a Happy and hopefully healthy New Year!
From Nanaimo Magazine – August, 2020 Author Giselle Roeder – “In Her Own Words”
Giselle Roeder has had one hell of a life, and we are fortunate enough to have her share it with us in a series of autobiographies. From escaping the atrocities of World War II to abuse and then answering an advertisement to come to Canada, she has done it all. Here is a snippet of her life in her own words:
“Gila – me, had an idyllic childhood on a small farm up to the beginning of WWII. I lived my first ten years under the Nazis; nothing much happened in our little world. When my aunt from Berlin came to ask for cow manure to grow tomatoes on her balcony after the bombing, I got an inkling that ‘war’ was real. After the first escapees arrived from East Prussia, talking about the Russians following them, burning, plundering and raping, and evacuees from Berlin told how the flames from phosphor bombs burned people to death, we all had nightmares. When the Russian army arrived (February 1945), I watched those atrocities myself. The war was over on May 8th, when the Russians left, the Polish army came and evicted us. We had 10 minutes to get out of our house. With thousands of people, we walked weeks towards the Oder river, the new border of Germany-Poland. No idea where to go, sleeping under the stars, even surviving diphtheria, and a few months later, typhoid fever.
For the next ten years, I grew up a teenager in the Russian occupied Zone, later known as East Germany. Joining the canoe club, I became a kayak champion. I had to fight for my education but succeeded in becoming a Physical Education teacher. Avoiding to join the Communist Party, my principal wanted to ‘sleep’ with me or report me. My dad advised: “Hau ab,” meaning get lost, escape to West Germany. My east education meant nothing in the west; I started from zero. An unwanted affair with a person in power almost drove me to suicide, but I found a way to survive. Courses in aesthetics, podiatry, nutrition and finally, Kneipp-Hydrotherapy followed. I worked as a Health Educator, giving lectures about an alternative lifestyle across Germany. I longed to get away, get out of Germany. Away from a stalker. I wrote about my first thirty years in my memoir, ‘We Don’t Talk About That.’
Answering an advert, I started corresponding with a German-Canadian man with a child in Vancouver. His well-to-do German parents smartly manipulated me to marry him before I knew him. Just weeks after arriving in Vancouver, I had a rude awakening. With limited English and all my earthly belongings in a container on the high seas, I had no chance to leave when my new husband used my money to pay his debts. I raised his two daughters, and we had a son. During the next twenty years, I developed roots in Canada. After many trials and tribulations, I was successful in the health and skincare business, was an employer and became an international speaker. I had my own television show and was a welcome guest on radio stations across North America.
After more than fifty years working in Canada, having lived in Vancouver and Winnipeg, I retired to Vancouver Island. Gardening became my hobby for ten years in Nanoose Bay, and for the last seven years, Nanaimo is my ‘home.’ After I spoke to many Probus and Rotary Clubs about my life, I was encouraged to write my first memoir. I used the COVID lockdown to write the second, my Canadian book, ‘Flight Into The Unknown.’ I’m busy writing the finale to my adventurous life, ‘Set Sail for Life After 50.’
Reading your long epistle, I feel similar feelings. You, being a pastor, should be ‘above it all,’ be serene and relaxed, rely on your faith, be a rock, the shepherd for your flock. But you are human, just like the rest of us struggling souls. I tell myself, ‘no need to feel anxious,’ but I do. I am a bit of a loner, but this – not being able to see, talk or laugh with someone living close by, drives me crazy. My muscles are tight, my breathing flat when I don’t think of it. I can’t sleep. My legs hurt from sitting too much. I started to go on little walks with my Nordic Poles, without those I couldn’t. My heart hurts; I breathe deeply to give it more oxygen.
I talk to myself; I talk to God because I feel embarrassed to talk to anyone else about what rattles or worries me; everyone has and deals with their problems. Neighbours become strangers. People were walking their dogs: I used to stop and talk to them, touch and stroke the doggies – now the people step off the sidewalk when they see me coming and walk on the road.
The dogs strain on their leashes, they remember me, want to come to me, they are not allowed. Do you find it weird that I miss the happiness those dogs used to show me more than exchanging a few words with their owners? I can still fill the hummingbird feeder, and those little critters don’t care about COVID, they still come. I see them, I love them, but they are the only sign of life as I knew it.
Yes, Brenda, it’s a weird time in all of our lives. Does it, will it ever change again? It will change alright, but it will not be the old ‘normal’ as we knew it. The young ones will adjust to the new ‘normal’ and deal with it the way my generation dealt with the war, the starvation, the diseases, the fallout, the re-building of bombed and destroyed cities.
This new war, the master of which we can not see, attacking friend and foe alike, reducing the number of the billions of people on our planet, is a phenomenon we can not conquer, try as we might. Will it stop when some kind of balance is achieved? For us, there is only HOPE left, as we struggle to retain our FAITH and LOVE.