Kristen Fulton is the author of the new children's picture book Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family's Daring Escape from East Germany.
Q: Why did you decide to write about the Wetzel family's escape from East Germany in 1979?
A: When I read a small excerpt in an older Time magazine it was just before my husband and I were leaving for Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. I was so curious.
Q: Did you need to do much research to write the book, and if so, did you learn anything especially surprising?
A: TONS. The appreciation for bananas. I remember watching the news after the gates opened [after the fall of the Berlin Wall] and people fled into grocery stores and scooped up tons of bananas.
Q: What do you think Torben Kuhlmann's illustrations add to the book?
A: It adds an entire new layer to the story. I waited three years just to have him as my illustrator. His artwork truly completes my words.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?
A: Appreciation for hard work and dedication. A love for the things we often take for granted.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I write in the adult fiction genre as well (under a pen name). I’ve been spending a lot of time there lately.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: There are beautiful exhibits in Germany of the Berlin Wall, and life in [East Germany], but there are also some closer to home at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Kristen Fulton.