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Soellner’s Dispatch #12

Dispatch #12

(above) My wife Sandra and I at our home in San Jose, California, and (below) me with one of our two “houseguests”

Dear readers and friends. My previous Dispatches have been informational, about history and writing. As a former visual artist, I believe that a picture really is worth a thousand words. With this Dispatch I am sharing my influences: my family, my upbringing, my heritage, and my experiences, in picture form.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

Most of my characters are German or from colonies Germany owned prior to 1920. Most of my scenes occur in these places, particularly the colonies and Munich.

A painting of Bergl, the Soellner ancestral home

Called “Kalvarianhof” in my novels, Bergl is the Soellner family estate, located outside of Munich. Much of the five-book series takes place in and around this house. It remains in the family.

Grandparents, 1920

My father is on the left next to my grandfather at Bergl (meaning “little hill”) the family home.

My daughter, Anna, at Schliessheim Castle, which is ½ mile away from the Soellner family estate

My mother grew up in the servant wing of the castle, as my grandfather was the blacksmith for the king of Bavaria’s personal cavalry unit stabled there.

Me, in uniform

I served in the U.S Army Military Police from 1960-1963. My time in the army had an important influence on my development and later my writing, particularly the experience of soldiering.

Teaching Art History

After military service and two master’s degrees, I was a Professor of Art for 38 years At the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose.

My front parlor, and part of our art and antique collection

Growing up, my family home was full of paintings and art. I still love and collect art today.


My sister, Eve, visiting during the blessing of our home chapel in San Jose

Religion is one of the focuses of my novels, where it is occasionally the cause of much strife and drama.

Sandra and I in Jerusalem (right), and my visit to the White Emperor Temple in China

I’ve visited most of the sites in my novels.

Riding in the hills of Molokai

Years spent camping, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and cooking, all worked their way into my writing.

Fourth of July neighborhood parade with friends

My friends lent their looks, actions and mannerisms to many of my characters. Their support, literary advice, proofreading and editing so far in my five-book series has been invaluable. Thank you all!

A selection of the magazines I read regularly

My research sources: books, and Google of course, but also the Library of Congress, you don’t have to go there. It has an amazing assortment of services. For family history, Ancestry.com and the Freedom of Information Act. Besides research, reading is also one of my greatest pleasures in life.

My three historic fiction novels in the planned five-book series. Look for book four the end of 2019!

Question from Quiz 11:

Which one of the following did not happen during the period 1928 – 1931?


  1. Herbert Hoover predicts the end of poverty as U.S. stock market hits new high.
    2. First Nazi takes office in Germany as Interior Minister.
    3. A new planet is discovered and named Pluto.
    4. Scientists predict man on moon by 2050.
    5. Catholics and Communists form one party to oppose Nazis.
    6. Unemployment in Germany reaches five million.
    7. First T. V. broadcast sent overseas by England.


Answer to Quiz 11:

  1. Catholics and Communists form one party to oppose Nazis.

German Catholics and German Communists did not join to form a combined political party. Germany’s Catholics and Communists were diametrically opposed to each other. Catholics followed the lead of Pope Pius XI, who supported Fascist movements in Italy and Germany, in opposing the anti-religion Communists. As a result, some Catholics supported the Monarchists, some supported the Weimar Republic, and some supported the Socialists or joined Germany’s Protestants in supporting the Fascists.

For the next Dispatch I’m trying something different: rather than ask you a question, I want you to ask ME a question! Do you have questions about my books, research and ideas, personal history? Send them my way and I’ll include a selection of them in my next Dispatch.

Walter Soellner

[email protected]          waltersoellner.com

I would be very happy if you would please share this with your friends!

The books so far in my series:

  1. Kalvarianhof, The Perilous Journey
  2. The Storm That Shook the World
  3. An Incident in Africa
  4. Like a Gathering Storm (working title), to be published in 2019
  5. The concluding, yet untitled novel, will be written in 2020.

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