History professor makes fiction debut

May 2, 2016
Dr. David Krugler
Book cover

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — In June 2016, Pegasus Books will publish Dr. David Krugler’s first novel, “The Dead Don’t Bleed,” a World War II spy thriller set in Washington, D.C. in 1945. Krugler is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

In the novel, Lieutenant Ellis Voigt, an investigator for the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Sabotage, Espionage and Counter-subversion section, goes undercover to investigate and solve the murder of a colleague and prevent the Soviets from stealing the secrets of America’s atomic bomb project.

Communist espionage in the United States is a topic Krugler frequently teaches about, and his historical and pedagogical interest in the subject inspired him to write the novel. “I’ve always been fascinated with the motives of Americans who spied for the Soviet Union and with the top secret code-breaking operation that uncovered their espionage,” Krugler said.

A historian of the modern United States, Krugler has published nonfiction books on several different topics: Cold War propaganda, nuclear warfare and racial conflict in the United States. He is the author of “The Voice of America and the Domestic Propaganda Battles, 1945-1953” (University of Missouri Press, 2000); “This Is Only a Test: How Washington, D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); and “1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back” (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Krugler grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, then left his home state to attend Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. After graduating with degrees in English and history, he earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He moved back to Wisconsin in 1997 to teach at UW-Platteville.

Krugler said he realized he wanted to be a writer from the moment he learned to write. “When I told an old friend about the novel, he reminded me of a short story I wrote when we were in grade school – I had forgotten all about it,” said Krugler. “Fortunately, all copies of that story have been lost.”

The first draft of the novel took 15 months to write, but subsequent rewrites added more time. Krugler tried to write at least five days per week, an hour each morning, before he went to work.

Krugler said two of the challenges he faced during the writing/publishing process were realizing that writing was not the same as getting published and writing dialogue. “Writing dialogue is a lot, lot harder than it looks on screen and on the page. Finding my characters’ voices, and remaining true to their personalities, was – and remains – quite challenging,” he said.

Krugler said the most rewarding moment he experienced during the writing/publishing process was when he learned that Pegasus was going to publish his novel. “It was a joyous day when I learned that Pegasus was going to publish my novel,” Krugler said. “But long before that date, I had to accept that just the writing of fiction, each morning, was reward enough for me, because finding an agent and then a publisher was an arduous, ego-battering process. To get through it, I had to remind myself that I enjoyed writing and that the satisfaction it brought me wasn’t dependent on the outcome of being published.”

Krugler is pleased so far with the response in advance of the book’s release. The novel received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which Krugler said was especially gratifying. To read the review, go to: http://publishersweekly.com/978-1-68177-139-7.

Krugler has three book signings scheduled and is working with two additional bookstores to schedule events. The book signings will be held:

  • Tuesday, June 7: Book release at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Saturday, June 11: Reading and signing at Once Upon a Crime, 604 W. 26th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Wednesday, June 29: Reading and signing at Mystery to Me, 1863 Monroe Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu


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