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Wings of Hope Guest Post and $10 Amazon Giftcard Comment Giveaway!

Monday, June 18, 2012


My inspiration for my novel was my father, Ron Hoffman. He was a doctor, something he loved more than anything. My dad had a fascinating life. He was born in 1924 in Boston Massachusetts. His parents were immigrants who actually came through Ellis Island from Austria Hungary. They were Jews who had lived through the pogroms. Daddy lived through the great depression, fought in World War II, dealt with anti-Semitism, and tried an amazing number of things--from skiing to scuba diving to golf, all after the loss on one eye.

Brilliant doesn't describe my father. He went to college at sixteen, joined the army the day after Pearl Harbor, came back and graduated. Then went to Columbia for his masters while waiting to get into medical school. There, he took spherical trigonometry for an easy A. Because he was Jewish, he couldn't get into medical school. He was accepted into a school in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he went. While going to medical school, he learned French by night because all of his classes were taught in French.

My father was on the team that found the RH factor--which is how we determine blood types today. He saved more lives than I can count as a doctor.

I miss him every day, so I wrote his stories down and wove them into a novel of my own. 


As we sat at the table sipping coffee, I ventured my first question, “Dad, what were your parents like? You haven’t told me much about them, except that your mother had more brains in her pinkie than you’ve ever had.” I worried I wouldn’t have time to find out all I wanted to know.

He looked up, surprised. “Haven’t I told you about them?”

I shook my head. “But I’d really like to know more about them--especially what they were like.”

A smile spread across his face, “Really? I can’t believe that. My mother would have loved you--eaten you with a spoon. Remember when I took you to Fiddler on the Roof?”

I nodded, not wanting to break the spell by speaking.

“You were horrified that Golda hadn’t even met Tevya before they were married?”

I nodded again. That had horrified me, I couldn’t imagine not falling in love, courting, all that comes with the fun of meeting someone special, dressing up to go out, etc. The coffee mug warmed my hands, as I listened enraptured.

“Well, my parents were married like that.”

Rather than actually seeing it, I felt my jaw hit the floor. “You’re kidding!” I exclaimed without thinking.

“Nope.” He shook his head, watching me with amusement.“They’d never even seen one another. Married in a little village in Poland called Tarnapole. It is gone now--burned to the ground by the Nazis, I think.” His eyes misted over, but continued anyway. “My mother got pregnant with your Aunt Rebecca almost immediately. My dad was a barrel maker--and a fine woodworker. He made furniture for people as well. Six months after Rebecca was born, my mother got pregnant again--with Aunt Rachel. The pogroms went on at that time, and getting worse every day from what I gathered from my parents. Money and food were running out. It was quite desperate. My father decided to come to America, make some money with my mother’s brother who already lived here in New York, then send for my mother and the two girls. He left taking nearly two months to get to New York. It was barely three weeks after he stepped onto Ellis Island when World War One started. My mother and your aunts were trapped for the next three years. For a while, my dad could get in touch with them. He sent money, but after about a year, the lines were totally cut off. He didn’t know where they were, if they were even alive. As far as I know, he kept working, saving money. My mother on the other hand, was starving. The pogroms were continuing. The Cossacks were riding through villages, raping women and running everything that moved through with a sword.” He licked his lips, concentrating, clearly thinking about what it must have been like for his mother. My hair stood on end.

“One day, my mother was in the town rather than at their farm when the Cossacks came riding in. One grabbed my mother around the waist and lifted her onto the horse while he was moving. He intended to rape her in the saddle and kill her. She grabbed his pistol from out of the holster around his waist. She shot him dead as they rode.”

My mouth was open and my eyes were far bigger than saucers. My dad laughed at my expression. “I know. Totally amazing--she was an amazing woman. She never told me that story. Her brother told me after she died. I remember saying to him, ‘My Mother?’ I couldn’t believe it.”

“What happened?” I asked mesmerized. “How did she get away with it?”

He nodded solemnly. “I asked the same question. She rode back to the farm. Her brothers buried the body. They slaughtered the horse and ate the meat—they couldn’t keep it, even though it would have been great for the farm, because it would have aroused suspicion and questions--but it was no longer safe for her or your aunts. People had seen it happen. They knew it wasn’t long before someone turned her in for a loaf of bread.” He bit the inside of his cheek, just a bit; frightened for them even though he knew it turned out alright.

“So she took what she could carry, along with my sisters and started walking to America.”

“Walking? Are you serious?” I literally could not imagine walking thousands of miles.

“Yep. She and my sisters hid in the woods during the day and walked at night for months. Eventually, she joined a refugee line.”

“How long did it take?” I couldn’t imagine. The fear I felt hearing about it was palpable--what must it have been like to go through something like that?

“Two years.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Hillary Peak is a recovering idealist. She became a lawyer to change the world and is still somewhat shocked that didn't occur. Now, her goal is to retire from practicing law and write novels that people love. She is currently a practicing attorney in the District of Columbia. She lives with her family in Alexandria, VA.
Twitter: @hillaryepeak


  1. Tin said...:

    The cover is very lovely and the premise of the story is very interesting.

    Congratulations to Hillary Peak for the release of her novel!

  1. Alba said...:

    -gasps- I almost cried reading that excerpt!!
    O_O I'm curious now! Thanks!!!

  1. First of all I must say that I really love the cover of this book. Also, from the excerpt the story seems so deep and emotional!

  1. Thank you for hosting Hillary today.

  1. MomJane said...:

    I loved the excerpt and I want to get this book.

  1. Rebecca Hipworth said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway. :)

  1. First, let me say thank you for having me today!

    I really appreciate the lovely comments. I too can say I love the cover--since I didn't actually create it! I hope that you will all give Wings of Hope a read and love it!


  1. I like your style of writing. And the cover is great, too.

  1. Fiza said...:

    The cover is really nice.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  1. Leah said...:

    Powerful excerpt!

    Love the tidbit about your father. :)

  1. Thanks so much for following tours and for the compliments! They are always lovely to receive!

  1. janhvi said...:

    Beautiful cover!Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway!

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  1. I look forward to hearing if you like the book as much as the cover! Hillary

  1. Cayce said...:

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration for Wings of Hope, Hillary! It's a beautiful story.

    Loved the excerpt!

    cayce006 at yahoo dot com

  1. Great excerpt! Sounds really good.


    drinkshrunkentears at gmail dot com

  1. Sounds awesome. :) love the excerpt, thanks!

  1. Sounds amazing! And great excerpt. :)

  1. Thanks to you all for your great comments! Really appreciate you all taking time to be part of the tour!


  1. The exerpt sounds interesting!
    Thanks for the giveaway too (:

    ejhtan @ gmail . com

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Thanks for the chance to read this book. the excerpt was very interesting.

  1. Shadow said...:

    This sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing! Wishing you all the best! Congrats on your release!

  1. Love The Cover. Great Book I Have It On My Wish List.

  1. erin said...:

    thanks for a great post and giveaway! The cover is gorgeous! Congrats on the new release! :)

  1. June M. said...:

    Great excerpt. Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on the release :)
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  1. Marianne said...:

    i love history, as long as it comes by fiction. This story sounds tear jerking good. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Also, thank you for the giveaway.

  1. Beautiful cover and great excerpt!

    volta2173 at sbcglobal dot net

  1. Nancy said...:

    What an inspiring life this man lived. Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  1. Sounds like your dad was an amazing man!

  1. Munnaza said...:

    Thanks so much for this giveaway! I'd love to enter.


  1. wanda f said...:

    Sounds like a great read.Have a fantastic day.

  1. Lili said...:

    Congrats for the release of the novel!

    The premise seems very interesting. I'll certainly consider it!

  1. Maha said...:

    Thanks for the giveaway. Great post.


  1. Maria said...:

    Thanks for sharing about this book!

    hojotoho8 @ gmail

  1. Awesome story. Very inspiring!

  1. Gisele said...:

    I would love to read this books. The story reminds me of one of the books I love the most The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Thank you for sharing this lovely excerpt!


  1. It sounds like you had an amazing dad. My dad also was born in 1924. I'm so glad your dad was there to discover the whole RH factor thing. Because as an A- patient, I had to learn about RH factors when I became pregnant because of extreme complications. So thank you to your daddy for saving my life.

    Your novel sounds very interesting. I will had to add it to my TBR pile


  1. Thanks for the excerpt, and the cover is beautiful!

  1. Brandy said...:

    What a great idea! I look back at my grandma's passing and there were so many things I wish I had asked/wrote down but didn't. I love the idea of using his stories as part of the novel. Congrats!

  1. marybelle said...:

    Your Father was truly amazing. Thank you for the wonderful excerpt.


  1. Suz Reads said...:

    Your father sounds like an incredible man with amazing experiences! I can see why he inspired you! Thanks for sharing!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  1. Sayomay said...:

    Very interesting!

  1. lbraley said...:

    amazing, great giveaway too.!

  1. amandawk said...:

    This book sounds really good!
    amandarwest atgmaildotcom

  1. Reianna said...:

    I cannot wait to read this! Sounds so amazing. :)

  1. bas1chs said...:

    Wow, this book sounds incredible. I can't wait to read more than just the excerpt.

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

  1. Ohh, pretty cover :D And it seems like an awesome book. :) Thank you for sharing :D Also, thank you for the giveaway. <3 *Hugs.*
    Love, Carina

  1. JoyAnne said...:

    Love the excerpt. Thanks for a chance to win!

  1. Jeryl M. said...:

    I would like to read this book.

  1. Renée said...:

    this sounds amazing and I would love to read it! mrsrachapman(at)gmail(dot)com

  1. Amazing giveaway! I'm going to have to tell my friend about this book because she loves books like these!!

  1. Darlene said...:

    Your father would have been a very interesting person to talk to! This books sounds very interesting, and thank you for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  1. Carol M said...:

    I enjoyed the post! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  1. wanda f said...:

    Wonderful excerpt.Ihope you are having a fantastic weekend .Thank you for this chance to win

  1. Lisa said...:

    Sounds awesome!

    lhoffpauir at gmail

  1. My daughter, a history major, would so enjoy this book. Can't wait to tell her about it.

  1. missymyt said...:

    Wow sounds amazing!

    missymyt (at) hotmail (dot) com

  1. Stacy said...:

    Thanks for the excerpt, I always like to read a little bit of the story to whet my appetite before reading the book.

    the imagine tree at aol dot com

  1. Sounds wonderful, Thank you for the giveaway! wendynjason04 at gmail dot com

  1. Thank you so much for sharing sounds great. Thank you for the great giveaway!
    Latisha D

  1. This sounds like a good read

  1. Sounds like a great book!

  1. susan1215 said...:

    Sounds great, thanks for the post

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I would love to read this.

  1. Congrats on the new release! Great excerpt and thank you for the giveaway! Here's my email address

    Gabby @ What's Beyond Forks?

  1. I have many questions I'd like to ask my Dad too but I don't have the guts for it :(
    This sounds like a very interesting book!

    What's Hot

  1. slehan said...:

    I love books that make me wonder: And then what happened? This looks like one of those.
    Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com

  1. Anonymous said...:

    What a fascinating story and a brilliant idea for a book.