Amy Lynn Green has always loved history and reading, and she enjoys speaking with book clubs, writing groups, and libraries all around the country. Her debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say, was nominated for a 2021 Minnesota Book Award and won two Carol Awards. Things We Didn’t Say and The Blackout Book Club received starred reviews from both Booklist and Library Journal.

In this interview, Amy discusses her latest WWII- set novel, The Foxhole Victory Tour.

FF: Can you share a little about your new novel, The Foxhole Victory Tour?
The Foxhole Victory Tour invites readers along on an adventure with a ragtag band of misfit performers, starting on the big band circuit in Chicago and ending in the battlefields of North Africa. Maggie and Catherine, two musicians from different worlds, have hidden motives for joining the USO. Soon, they must learn to work together with their fellow entertainers while keeping up an exhausting pace on the front lines with very real danger. Based on the real experiences of USO entertainers, this novel explores questions of identity, self-worth, and the power of music.

FF: You’ve made a name for yourself writing excellent and transportive WWII fiction. How does this book stand out from the other ones you’ve written?
For Foxhole, I started out on the American home front, but then my characters traveled much farther than their counterparts in my three previous novels. The events of the novel range from a troopship on the Pacific Ocean to the bustling port of Casablanca, Morocco, to the battlegrounds of Tunisia. It was a delight to research and incorporate some of the local sights and customs into the story, and I also appreciated the opportunity to include more interaction with GIs who sacrificed so much for their country and to portray what they might have gone through.

FF: This book takes place during WWII but on the North African battlefront. What about this location drew your interest and made you want to dig deeper?
Because the USO traveled all over the world, I could have picked any location for Maggie and Catherine to go with their troupe, but I picked North Africa mainly because I haven’t read a lot of fiction that deals with WWII on African soil. Readers might be surprised to learn, as I was, that prison camps for Jewish and political dissidents existed just north of the Sahara, and that Casablanca’s extensive spy network shaped the North Africa campaign.

FF: Can you tell us a little about the historical context that surrounds the plot of the book and its characters? In other words, what major events were happening in the war at the time in which this novel takes place?
As always, the USO showed up to entertain the troops after a major offensive: in this case, Operation Torch, the joint Allied invasion of North Africa in the winter of 1942. By the time my fictional performers arrive, the fighting is mostly over in Morocco and Algeria (though German U-boats and aerial attacks were still common), and the Allies are now working with the

Vichy French. But while some of the area is relatively safe for the civilians, the Allies are still pushing Nazi troops out of Tunisia, where the fighting is heated, and the USO always likes to get as close as they can to the men on the front lines. . . .

FF: This book features an ensemble cast of entertainers but focuses mostly on Catherine Duquette and Maggie McCleod. Can you provide a short introduction to each of your leading ladies?
These two were so fun to write—and very different from each other! Maggie McCleod is a scrappy, street-smart comedian-in-training who learned her trumpet-playing skills in a Salvation Army brass band and sometimes doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. Catherine Duquette is a budding socialite and violin virtuoso, reserved and terrified of conflict, who loves romantic films and the finer things in life. Throw them together on a tour of North Africa during wartime, and you know you’ll be in for some entertainment, on and offstage.

FF: Did Hollywood stars really travel overseas to US and Allied bases during the war? How were the entertainers chosen back then?
Yes! Dozens of the biggest names in Hollywood and Broadway did their part for the war effort by performing for the USO, although some took the circuits that performed at stateside military bases or hospitals for wounded soldiers. All performers, big name or not, had to audition and have their acts approved by the USO. I chose to focus on the variety units, small groups of capable performers without any Hollywood connections or star power, mostly because I love sharing the stories of unsung heroes.

FF: Who were some of the big names who did USO shows during this era and were they in any real danger?
Some of the stars you might have heard of were Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Laurel and Hardy, Glenn Miller, Carole Lombard, and the Andrews Sisters. I modeled many of my troupe’s experiences on those of the performers who toured North Africa during the spring and summer of 1943. Air raids, emergency plane landings, and shellings interrupted many a tour. Some dangerous encounters were so unbelievable that I couldn’t use them in the novel, such as the brother-and-sister comedy duo who got close enough to enemy lines to actually be captured by the Germans, accused of being spies.

FF: Even though this is a historical fiction novel, some of its themes are just as applicable to our modern lives. Your female characters struggle with the idea that they can do everything and have it all, if only they work—or in today’s terms, girlboss—hard enough. Can you share a little more about the pressure put on women and your response to this idea?
When I read the USO’s handbook for their performers, the instructions given to the women felt downright exhausting. They were supposed to dress like they were on a fancy date—but not too provocatively. They had to smile constantly, make engaging small talk without drifting into topics that might make the men uncomfortable, and somehow keep their hair and makeup perfect while sleeping in pup tents in the desert and performing up to three times a day. It felt like a dramatic example of the pressure that all women sometimes feel in their daily lives.

I decided to explore the effect that pressure might have on my characters. Catherine has always been told her appearance and how men respond to it are her greatest assets. Maggie, on the other hand, finds that shallow and is determined to work hard and achieve great things. Through the course of the story, both learn that when we put our identity in anything that doesn’t last—our beauty, talent, work, even good deeds—it won’t satisfy us. Maggie in particular has to examine her own faith background and her deep need to achieve to please God. She’s faced with a choice to keep striving in her own strength or embrace the concept of rest.

FF: What are you most excited for readers to experience when picking up this novel?
AI love getting messages from readers saying that they learned something about history, started asking questions about the themes of the novel, or felt like they had new fictional friends when the story was over. I hope that’s the case with Foxhole!

The Foxhole Victory Tour
Amy Lynn Green
Bethany House
Genres: Historical, WWII Fiction
Release Date: January 23, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764239570
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764239571

Book Summary:
Based on true World War II stories of life in the USO variety shows, worlds collide when performers from around the United States come together to tour North Africa.

Vibrant and scrappy Maggie McCleod tried not to get fired from her wartime orchestra, but her sharp tongue landed her in trouble, so an overseas adventure with the USO’s camp show promises a chance at a fresh start. Wealthy and elegant Catherine Duquette signs with the USO to leave behind her restrictive life of privilege and uncover the truth behind the disappearance of the handsome pilot whose letters mysteriously stopped arriving.

The two women are joined by an eclectic group of performers—a scheming blues singer, a veteran tap dancer, and a brooding magician—but the harmony among their troupe is short-lived when their tour manager announces he will soon recommend one of them for a coveted job in the Hollywood spotlight. Each of the five members has a reason to want the contract, and they’ll do whatever is necessary to claim it. As their troupe travels closer to the dangerous battlefront in Tunisia, personal crises and wartime dangers only intensify, putting not only their careers but also their lives on the line.


Buy The Foxhole Victory Tour from the FF Store HERE!


Buy The Foxhole Victory Tour from FamilyFiction Amazon Affiliate HERE!

Check out more great articles

About The Author

Amy Lynn Green is a lifelong lover of books, history, and library cards. She works as a publicist by day and as a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the past 10 years. Amy has taught classes on marketing at writer’s conferences and regularly encourages established and aspiring authors in their publication journeys. Her debut historical fiction novel, is based on the WWII homefront of Minnesota, the state where she lives, works, and survives long winters.