Duty and Desire

edited by Kristina Wright

Interview- Catherine Paulssen

“Up Against the Wall” by Catherine Paulssen is a story of attraction and opportunity between a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps of the United States and a Soviet soldier.



Why did you choose the particular setting/military branch for your story?

My story takes place in Berlin of the 1960s, when the Berlin wall was built. One of the crossing points between East and West Berlin, probably the most famous one, is Checkpoint Charlie, a memorial and a tourist attraction today. Beyond the guard house, viewed from what was the American sector, is a picture of a Soviet soldier. On the reverse side, an American soldier is shown. So I thought – what if…? And that’s how it started.


If this was your first time writing a military-themed story, what inspired you and what did you find challenging about it? 

I love watching military (or even war) movies, like The Last Castle(Robert Redford and Mark Ruffalo in one movie, what more can you ask for, except maybe Eric Bana joining them?) or  Enemy at the Gates. I must have seen A Few Good Men a dozen times!


So I thought I already knew a lot and was familiar with military slang and ranks etc. Most of the movies tell stories from a male perspective though. I found I knew basically nothing about Soviet soldiers in the middle of Cold War, and only very little about women in uniforms. Were soldiers of the Women’s Army Corps even stationed in Europe at that time? Would they wear pumps or boots, fatigues or skirts? So there was a lot of research involved, but I also learned a lot, which was fun!


What are you working on now and where can we find out more about you?

I’m currently editing short stories to submit to upcoming anthologies by HarperCollin’s Mischief series, outlining a story for Best Erotic Romance 2014, and writing a short story about a threesome, jealousy, love… I try to squeeze in time to research the idea of a Regency-era love story which might turn into a novel project. Most of all, I’m working on revamping my website, which will show photographs of Anastasia Kuba soon, a cooperation I’m very proud of.

You can find more about me at www.catherinepaulssen.com  or Twitter: @CatePaulssen



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This entry was posted on December 7, 2012 by in The Interviews.
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