The Story Behind ‘Cold Lonely Courage’ by Soren Paul Petrek

Cold Lonely Courage is my second novel and is a prequel to my first book, The Patience County War. I have been writing since my teens, but never seemed to be able to graduate from short stories and poems to a full length novel. Then I turned 40 and decided that I’d better get to it and stop saying I’d do it someday.

Once The Patience County War was completed, and edited for grammar, punctuation, etc. I immediately began to send out query letters seeking an agent. That was an endless process. I began to see that perhaps a second book might be more palatable to prospective agents or small publishers as a somewhat more mainstream work. I must have mailed at least two hundred personalized letters and an equal number of e-mails. Every day there would be a new batch of rejections. I just ‘bulled ahead’ knowing that my books were entertaining and well written and that eventually a publisher would give me a chance.

I had the good fortune to correspond with Stephen Boehrer, author of The Purple Culture. Stephen won a national book award for religious fiction. He helped me find a strong editor and gave me great encouragement. Once Cold Lonely Courage was edited and rewritten I began to send out query letters to various literary agencies. I had better luck and some significant agent interest. I found an agent and was excited to go forward. Unfortunately, she became quite seriously ill and could no longer offer representation. I decided to go the most direct route and began to query small independent publishers, ultimately finding, Black Rose Writing.

Purely by happenstance I did an internet search using the title of my book and found out that I had won a national writing contest through Fade In magazine. I had changed offices and the contact information they had for me was old. I was informed that I had won the Fiction category of the 15th Annual Writers Network Screenplay & Fiction Competition. I contact them immediately and was informed that they had been looking for me. That was a huge surprise and felt all the better having faced so many rejections along the road to getting my work published.

Now the real work begins. Writing the book is the easy part, now promoting my work and gaining attention for it is the real trick. I have been more and more interested in on-line promotion and the real capacity the blogosphere has for reaching a potentially limitless audience. I’m currently working with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to direct my efforts in that regard. I used print media at the outset when my book was published largely through press releases. I was fortunate to get some decent coverage, but only on a statewide basis. I want to reach as broad a range of readers as possible. I’ve had my book read by a wide variety of people,most of whom I don’t know. I recently had my first book club meeting and really loved it. I would like to do more. It’s funny how easy it is to talk to a group of strangers when the topic is yourself and your work!

Soren Paul PetrekSoren Petrek is a practicing trial attorney with a passion for studying World War Two. He lived in England and France listening to people’s stories of struggle and sacrifice during the darkest periods of the war. Soren’s debut novel, Cold Lonely Courage was inspired by the true story of a young Belgian woman who helped countless Jewish children escape from the terrors of the Nazi regime. Soren lives with his wife, Renee and sons, Max and Riley, in central Minnesota.

You can visit Soren’s blog at

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