Bestselling Author

HISTORICAL HAPPY HOUR

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The Goddess of Warsaw by Lisa Barr

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Barr is Jane Healey’s guest! Join us to discuss her new novel, Goddess of Warsaw, a riveting historical saga spanning six decades taking readers from Warsaw to Hollywood, following a legendary screen actress with a dark secret about her life in the Warsaw Ghetto. It’s an enthralling tale full of deception, lust, revenge, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Lisa Barr

Lisa Barr is the New York Times bestselling author of Woman on Fire, The Unbreakables, and the award-winning historical thriller Fugitive Colors. She has served as an editor for the Jerusalem Post, managing editor of Today’s Chicago Woman and Moment magazine, and as an editor and reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She has appeared on Good Morning America and Today. Actress Sharon Stone has optioned the rights to adapt Woman on Fire for film.

In this engaging episode of Historical Happy Hour, host Jane Healey delves into a captivating conversation with Lisa Barr, a New York Times bestselling author. Lisa discusses her latest novel “The Goddess of Warsaw,” set during the harrowing times of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in World War II. The novel portrays the extraordinary life of a Jewish World War II assassin who later becomes a Hollywood star, encapsulating themes of survival, reinvention, and the relentless pursuit of justice. The episode not only explores the novel’s rich narrative and historical backdrop but also delves into Lisa’s extensive research process and her personal connection to the Holocaust through her family history.

Timestamps and Topics:

  • [00:00:00] Introduction to the podcast and guest, Lisa Barr.
  • [00:01:48] Discussion on the inspiration and main themes of “The Goddess of Warsaw.”
  • [00:09:57] Insights into the research process, including interviews with a Holocaust survivor.
  • [00:17:22] Exploration of Lisa’s personal connection to Holocaust narratives.
  • [00:19:56] Discussion on Lisa’s experience with the film industry and Sharon Stone optioning one of her books.
  • [00:26:31] Balancing historical facts with fictional storytelling.
  • [00:32:14] Q&A session with the audience on various aspects of Lisa’s writing and research.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

[00:00:00] Jane: Welcome to Historical Happy Hour, the podcast that explores new and exciting historical fiction novels. I’m your host, Jane Healy, and in today’s episode, we welcome New York Times bestselling author Lisa Barr to discuss her latest novel, The Goddess of Warsaw, which just released, like just released, May 28th.

Lisa, I’m so thrilled to have you here because you’re one of these authors that I feel like We’ve never met in person, but I feel like we know each other. So welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:31] Lisa: I feel like we’ve had sleepovers or something. I really feel like we’re connected. But first of all, congrats to you. I know you just finished a manuscript today, which is insane.

Having this so amazing normally, the scrunchie and the yoga pants. My hair is wet in the back.

[00:00:55] Jane: No one can see you look amazing. You too. So I’m so thrilled to have you here. I’m going to do a brief intro. And then we’re going to dive in. I have a bunch of questions and then in about, 20, 25 minute mark, we’ll take questions from the audience.

Yes, great. So Lisa is the New York times, bestselling author of women on fire, the unbreakables and the award winning historical thriller fugitive colors. She has served as an editor for Jerusalem post managing editor of today’s Chicago woman and moment magazine, and as an editor and reporter for the Chicago sun times.

She has appeared in good morning America. And today. And actor Sharon Stone has optioned the rights to adapt Women on Fire. For film, which is I remember that story on your Instagram is so amazing. So amazing. So welcome and congrats on your latest novel goddess of war.

[00:01:44] Lisa: Oh, my God. So good to be here.

Thank you so much for having

me.

[00:01:48] Jane: So let’s just jump in and talk about the overall premise and inspiration for this story. A large part of it is centered around. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April of 43 during World War Two.

[00:02:02] Lisa: Yes. Yes. The goddess Warsaw is a harrowing yet triumphant tale of a of world Jewish world war two assassin.

who later becomes a Hollywood star, a femme fatale. And basically her war never ends from it. It takes place in Poland in 1943, covering really the one month of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. And for those who don’t really know too much about it, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is the most important and crucial Jewish revolt during World War II.

And it was basically a David versus Goliath scenario. And the Nazis came in to crush this revolt and thought it would be over in basically 45 minutes. They were literally singing and the Jewish resistance kept them at bay for over a month. And we’re talking tanks versus homemade grenades. And so my, Protagonist is in the middle of all this and shows she is a young actress comes from a prominent family whose career and life was quashed and she had to Reinvent herself and use her acting skills to survive.

And so that’s the basic premise

[00:03:24] Jane: It’s amazing. And I love the story. For people who don’t know the Warsaw, explain what the Warsaw Ghetto was in the context of the war and what the Nazis did to the Jews in Warsaw.

[00:03:38] Lisa: Poland had the largest Jewish community in all of Europe. And Warsaw were, a very, I think it was 30% Jewish community in all of Warsaw.

And so we’re talking about 400, 000 Jews were put into this ghastly, tiny ghetto, and it was literally seven people to a room, if you can imagine trying to survive. And so everything was taken away from them, their livelihoods their material items, everything. And they were put in this ghetto. And and had to survive and many didn’t.

And at the point where the book comes to be, it’s from the 400, 000 60, 000 are left. The rest have been killed in the roundups, sent to concentration camps, died of disease and typhus and, all those things. But this book is really about the strength of and the craftiness of this woman. She’s badass and she’s, fearless.

But she had to turn that way. That wasn’t her beginning. And it was and yeah, so this, so the ghetto and what happens, the significance of this ghetto and the uprising is that it’s signaled to the rest of the Jews and Europe that you can fight back. And many of. Most actually of the ghetto inhabitants did not survive, but their goal knowing that they most likely wouldn’t survive is that if they were going to die, they were going to take the Nazis with them.

And so that was the difference here. And it signaled this message to the rest of Europe, fight back and die with dignity.

[00:05:20] Jane: Yeah, and the symbolism of the Warsaw Uprising is, was incredible and an incredible motivator for other Jews around the European continent and it’s chill just as you were talking about it, I was getting chills.

I want to talk about Bina Bielanski, who later became the film star. Lena Browning. Like you said, she was bat. She’s this headstrong, brave, flawed, complex character. How did you come up with her?

[00:05:45] Lisa: I knew I, so I, all of my books have an art And the other two big Holocaust themed books are really related to Nazi loot art.

And I knew I wanted to do something with an actress and a young woman. She’s about 23 years old, and she’s blonde, blue eyed, and not your stereotypical looking Jewish young woman. She, in fact, she looked like an Aryan’s daughter. poster girl. And so because of this, and at first she’s recognized for her beauty and her acting skills, but she’s actually quite brilliant and fearless.

And so I wanted to develop this very strong character and really what, Does it take to survive and a character who would later explore the fine line between the pursuit of justice and the hunt for revenge. In the beginning, you’re seeing this young woman who’s headstrong, a bit spoiled and everything changes.

But, when I was doing research, and you know from historical fiction that you find some of the most incredible things while you’re doing research. So I expected when I started uncovering the ghetto that it was going to be dreary and dark, but really, in the beginning, there were comedy clubs.

There were, coffee shops, there were cabarets, there were plays. Yeah, they were doing everything. to normalize the situation and survive. And but, after, all of a sudden the comedy club would be swept away, the musicians would be sent to the concentration camps, and little by little, this normalization came down to, this is it.

We either sink or swim. And it was important that I created a character who would be faced with this choice, and she was going to choose to sink. And it developed from there.

[00:07:44] Jane: Amazing. There, there was another strong female character in that part of the book, Zelda. And I thought she was another fascinating, strong will, broken but brave talk about her and what the role she played in the story.

[00:08:00] Lisa: Yeah, she’s one of my favorite characters because as so many and we’re seeing a lot of stories come out about this. You could name the authors. I could name them and it’s. really about the role that women played in war. And it’s a sort of unsung heroes. So many women were part of the resistance.

Women were leaders in the resistance. Women were the smugglers, the assassins, those who were setting the bombs. It was a very strong, role for women to survive and, do what they could to help their loved ones survive. So Zelda is a composite of real people and she was the leader.

There were two major resistance groups in the Warsaw ghetto and so she was one of them and she her whole motto was revenge is redemption. And that if she was going to die, she was going to do whatever it takes. And really she became the voice in Bina’s head. At first she rejected Bina thinking, Oh, who’s this beauty queen coming here?

And Bina had to prove herself and she more than proved herself. And they became very close as the novel progressed. But she didn’t accept her right away and Bina had to prove herself worthy of Zelda.

[00:09:23] Jane: So fascinating.

[00:09:24] Lisa: But, throughout the book, long after Zelda, Zelda was the voice in Bina’s head.

[00:09:30] Jane: Excellent. So this leads me to another question. You talked about, we were, you just mentioned research and your books have such a great sense of place and setting and obviously you had to do meticulous research regarding the Warsaw Ghetto. Talk about the research you did. And I didn’t write it down.

There was a group of intellectuals and academics who were living in the Warsaw Ghetto and also trying to document. their experiences there. Talk a little bit about that as well.

[00:09:57] Lisa: So it’s the Ringelblum Archives and basically Bina’s husband, Bina’s, and it’s the Hebrew and the Yiddish word for his Onik Shabbat or Onik Shabbos.

And this was a group of intellectuals, journalists, philosophers, the top writers, the head librarian for Poland, Jewish, put in the ghetto, and they decided that they were going to document a play by play of what happened. And so if the Jews were all murdered, their stories would not be. And so they archived this, and they put this in milk cartons and buried it.

And this later served as day to day information about what happened. And so being his husband, Jacob is based on Emmanuel Ringelblum, who the documents named after. And so this was very important for historians and to understand what exactly happened there. And yeah, what was your question again?

Oh, so in terms of like I’m losing my train of thought.

[00:10:57] Jane: Were you able to, did you see those archives? Oh, the research. Yeah, for your research?

[00:11:01] Lisa: Yeah. Yes. So that was, I was able to look into that. I did about eight or nine months of research before I put pen to paper and my background is a journalist, so it’s very important for me to get it right.

It takes me a little longer and I usually, some Those were, I always say it’s a blessing and a curse because the typical historical fiction writer might have, say, five sources to supplement or to say, Hey, this is a fact, but given my boot camp training, I need 20 and until I’m on repeat and I’ll say, Okay, it’s a fact you can go now.

And I did a lot of research and, but I knew the important thing. was that I touched base and interviewed an actual survivor of the ghetto, and there were not many. And so I did a lot of my research at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and I, through them, I was able to connect with a survivor. And the crazy thing is, she lived 15 minutes from me.

And I, when I went to meet her, it was, I don’t know if you’ve ever had this, but it was this, I bulldozed moment. I looked at her, she looked at me and it was like, we knew each other. And we literally held hands the entire interview, but it was through her that I got, the sights, the smells, the authentic details that really happen in the ghetto.

And there was one thing I’m just going to share that just, the take away from her, and I really couldn’t get it out of my head she told me, so she came from a prominent family. She was 10 years old, and her father, her mother, and her sister, and so everyone around her was dying, and diseases, and, or killed, but her father made her.

To her French lessons every single day, she needed to do her French lessons, you’re trying to survive, but she said that he wanted to give her a vision that one day she would be alive and go to Paris and her French lessons would come in handy. This young girl. Later went on, her father was killed in the ghetto, but she went on to survive five concentration camps.

And it was those French lessons, the French lessons, that stuck in her mind and got her through it all. That vision that her father gave her. And so that just stuck with me. It’s those stories just, are, mind blowing.

[00:13:38] Jane: Unbelievable. Yeah.

[00:13:39] Lisa: So It was a lot of research, but this woman was the one for me.

[00:13:45] Jane: Yeah. What a gift to be able to talk to her. Yeah. That’s amazing. I was reading your booking sheet and I remembered after I read it, you’re a daughter of a Holocaust survivor yourself. And I had forgotten that. And obviously there’s some chilling parallels to some of the.

Some of the events in the story to what’s what happened on October 7th here. And, talk about how your heritage being a daughter of a Holocaust survivor. How does this influence the kind of stories? You choose to write.

[00:14:19] Lisa: So that’s a, the power question, and that’s the question of the moment. So this might be a coming around in various directions.

But being a daughter of Holocaust survivor, my dad was 13 when he came over, and really my grandmother is. the voice in my head his mother and she was my best friend and she’s the reason that I write what I write, the reason that I fight for the things that I fight for. And she, when I explored what is the price tag of survival and for her, it was creating a legacy.

And so this was a woman, my grandmother filled with joy and her grandkids and cooking and knowing everybody’s favorite dishes. And she really taught me the power of family and tradition. And so I take her with me in all my stories. And as October 7th happened. And this book, I was in the middle of edits and it was, a lot of times you can escape from real life events as authors into our books, but I had no escape because so much of what happened say 1944 was so eerily parallel to what’s going on in 2024.

And, so part of me, it was very hard. And part of me is so relieved that this is the book that I can tour on because as a very proud Jewish author I have been blacklisted. I have been review bombed. I have had at least 50 a day of, terrorist types, attacking my sites, and so I’ve had to stand strong and it’s been a tough go of it.

And but I have my grandmother’s It’s in my head. I have, I will not be silent going on repeat in my head, but it hasn’t been easy. Admittedly, it’s been a tough go of it. And I’m and. I have, I’m one of the founders of the Artists Against Anti Semitism, which started with a group of authors, five or six of us, saying, what do we do?

How do we navigate this? And then it blew up to 35 authors and then a hundred people being involved. And so that has been a great outlet for me in particular, but it is, it has been a tough go. And the one thing that has been the super bright. Part of this are those upstanders, people who aren’t Jewish, or people I’m meeting on the road with this, who are standing, as allies.

And so that just makes it so much easier, but it is a very big parallel to my book, which is crazy.

[00:17:07] Jane: I’m crazy. And thank you for sharing all that. And I’m so sorry. Yeah, been through this, I’ve followed along and I know it has not been easy.

[00:17:15] Lisa: And I think you’re so supportive.

[00:17:18] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. No, I really

[00:17:19] Lisa: appreciate that. Always. Of course.

[00:17:22] Jane: Of course. And I’m glad you brought up the organization as well. And I can put that in the show notes and and In the group chat as well, if you want to how to get in touch is artists against anti semitism. Is that the name of the artists against anti semitism?

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:17:36] Lisa: And it’s on Instagram. And yeah, it’s easy to find. Excellent.

[00:17:41] Jane: Really an exciting topic. I want to talk about woman on fire being optioned by Sharon Stone and talk a little bit about that story. Cause I read it on your Instagram about getting a text and I’m like, that is the most amazing story.

That’s every author’s dream.

[00:17:56] Lisa: You know, it was one of those bat shit, crazy moments, and before my book came out, this is woman on fire. I thought to myself, wow, the ultimate woman on fire was Sharon stone. And I thought, I’m going to send my book to one celebrity and let’s see what happens.

So through some sleuthing, I found her business manager, sent her my arc, and these arcs are our unedited version of our books. And I thought nothing of it. So this is about October 2021, in the heart of COVID, everyone’s home. So I’m sitting on my couch with my husband, watching Netflix, like everybody.

And all of a sudden I get a text and it said, hi, it’s Sharon stone. I’m reading your book and loving it. Has anyone optioned this? So my first reaction was, it was one of those people, like I’m in Barcelona, I lost all my money, one of those, and then I thought to myself. Oh my God I sent her the book.

This is happening. And so within six weeks of that, it was December 23rd, right before Christmas. And we signed a deal that she would be optioning and producing this book. And it was so crazy. And then just another fun story. The book came out in March of that year. And I’m on a plane and the plane lands and the, this is announced in deadline.

And so I looked, I, and I announced to the whole plane and I said, Oh my God, Sharon Stone just optioned my book. So the entire plane was in this and on this, it was one of those.

[00:19:43] Jane: Oh, she’s amazing.

[00:19:45] Lisa: Yeah, she’s lovely and warm and generous and everything is super slow because, the writers strike and all those things.

So it’s in a bit of a hold until things start moving. But She has been very wonderful and supportive of my work and that’s been a fun part getting to know her. So amazing.

[00:20:11] Jane: So huge congratulations. I know how hard it’s like lightning in the bottle for this stuff to happen. So yeah, it’s crazy.

Yeah. Now, have there been any talk about goddess of Warsaw of her film stuff?

[00:20:24] Lisa: There has been there’s a couple things like moving right now. And as soon as it happens, I will come to you and tell you, but it’s just being let’s see if this person’s interested that person and they have it and we’ll see what happens.

I feel like this is extremely cinematic and I’m hoping, So we’ll see what happens with that now.

[00:20:48] Jane: So this is a question I’ve ended up asking every time because I just I love books and movies so much. Who do you see playing Bina in the movie? Like in the movie version of this? Do you have any ideas

[00:20:59] Lisa: what in my mind?

Yeah, in my mind, while I was inspired I’ve had this for Sienna, the woman who’s interviewing her for her life story, which is going to, it was this Margot Robbie character. And again, I was working on this two years before Barbie and everything came out, but it was this kind of beautiful young woman who was the it girl, but wanted to be taken seriously as a director.

And so that she was, That was that character. And I had in my head maybe like a Julia Garner, the young woman from Ozark who, and she would be the young Bina and, for the older version, I have various characters and people in mind. How about you? Did you have any ideas when you were reading it?

[00:21:48] Jane: Honestly, like for the young Bina, I just love them as actresses so much. My, my thoughts always go with this description of her looks. My thoughts went to the Fanning sisters, like Elle and Dakota Fanning. I think those happen.

[00:22:00] Lisa: Oh, a hundred percent.

[00:22:01] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. So that, for the older one, I’m not sure, but for the young one, that’s what the look I had.

Pictured in my head when I was reading it.

[00:22:08] Lisa: Yeah, I Absolutely, and they’re so talented. So if they want the role, I hope they’re listening. Right

[00:22:15] Jane: exactly okay, so a few writing related questions and then I will take some questions from the audience You can put the questions in the chat or in the q a what is your process?

Are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between? What’s your writing process? Yes

[00:22:32] Lisa: So that’s our golden writers question. So I am a hybrid. So if you came to my house during after I finished all my research and I’m ready to start plotting this book, you would think some crazy woman lives here.

So my kitchen table is opened up with the, leaves out my dining room table, top to bottom both tables are note cards and sticky notes. Lots of colors and crazy. This is going on for about two weeks where I’m moving things and I’m, I’m plotting with history. You have to get the timelines right.

But this goes on for about two weeks. I also make a very intensive Dosier of my characters. I know what they, what their scent is like I know what they smell and even lots of details that do not go in my book, but that I know. And so when I start writing them, they’re inside me. After those two weeks, I push it all aside.

And then I sit down and I start writing without looking at any of these notes. And unlike a lot of writers, I don’t write a messy first draft. I write a very, and I think this is the journalist inside me. So every chapter is in really good shape before I moved to the next. And so sometimes things happen in that chapter where I’ll say, okay, you need this, or this needs to happen.

But. By the time I finish my first draft, it’s really like perhaps someone else’s third draft. So it takes me a lot longer, but it’s in really good shape. And then of course, I do the editing and the rinse and the repeats and all those things, but process, I guess I’m a hybrid.

[00:24:15] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. A little bit of both.

Excellent. So this is a multi timeline narrative, this, the structure of it, was that the plan from the beginning when you were planning this out and thinking about it?

[00:24:26] Lisa: So it, it really was because I, the big question for me was how do I showcase the darkest chapter of World War II’s history with a Hollywood twist?

So it was gonna go two, one of two ways. It was either going to be Warsaw, Hollywood, Warsaw, Hollywood, a big mashup mix up. But I felt like. I didn’t want to give the reader whiplash. And so I, I wrote it in almost three blocks where it’s 1943, Warsaw, then you go to two you go to 1956 United States and it’s not a secret and no spoilers, she survives the war, but you learn that in the first prologue.

And and then the end. Is happening right now. So it’s this same woman’s life over three acts, basically three blocks. And so when I turned it into my editor, I was praying to the book Gods. Please, may she go with this version of it and not ask me to. Dice and splice it because I felt like this version was the right way to go.

And so it was one night where I laid in bed a full night cause I knew I was going to get my answer. And she went with what I turned in. So I was like, that was the big, that was the big, just save me three months or four months of work moment. And yeah because of that, I was able to really work on it in the three blocks and write it that way.

[00:26:05] Jane: That’s great. And I like that. I think I, as a reader, I like the not going, jumping around. I like this Yeah. Smoother transition. So yeah. I like, I think it worked so well. Obviously it’s great. Thank you. Thank you. Yes. So between, in, in terms of fact verse fiction, how do you Yes. Balance strike a balance between fact and fiction and your storytelling, and are there any strict rules you adhere to in terms of fact versus fiction?

[00:26:31] Lisa: Yes. There’s, so it’s a page turner, it’s suspense. So I knew I was going to have to take real facts and maybe twist it a bit into, so that it would really move. Obviously it’s World War II, so you don’t even have to, you don’t even have to fake the suspense. It’s all right there.

But everything that, feels real in this book is real. So many of the events and I do have an author’s note at the end. So the reader is aware of the very real scenarios and things that were at play in this book, even the Hollywood. Because many Nazis escaped punishment or escaped justice and came to the United States, had fake identities, but there was a real big contingency that moved to Hollywood that wanted to perpetuate the propaganda machine and actually, almost like the Hollywood Hitlers and create a, their own movie studio and really work it.

And so because of that, I was able to move my actress, seamlessly from Warsaw to Hollywood at that time.

[00:27:48] Jane: Excellent. What is the best writing advice you could give in terms of the writing, in terms of writing itself and also the publishing industry? I know that’s two different things. So what, because there’s a lot of authors, writers on, who listen in.

So what’s some great writing advice? Yeah, no

[00:28:05] Lisa: I’m so happy and I love newbie authors and we have all been there and we have all been rejected. We could wallpaper. I remember interviewing in my journalistic Hat Scott ot, and he said that he literally wallpapered an entire wall with rejections.

And so I always remember that, but I, if you love this, this is not this business, can literally, you. It’s not for the faint of heart and we’re the most sensitive people, writers, and we have to take a lot of rejections and a lot of no’s. So I always say, never take no for an answer. If a door closes, you go through the window, have, start to develop a writer’s tribe, even if it’s one person because writing can be so isolating and you’re really alone with you and the computer.

So if you can find another newbie author to pal around with, that makes things so much better and an off the books advice. You’re about to turn in a manuscript. You’re a new writer. Never say this book gets really good on page 20. Okay. That does not lie. Your book has to get really good in the first line, the first paragraph, because you might only get five pages tops.

And because agents and publishing houses, they are going to say, does this Writer grabbed me from line one. So you do not get good on page 20. You get good on the very first page. And I cannot stress that enough because, your book might be sensational. An Academy Award winner, New York Times bestseller on page 21.

But you need to have it in that shape. So don’t turn it in even though you’ve pulled your hair out. Make sure that someone who is not your mother or sister read the book because they’re going to love you no matter what. But someone who’s going to be super critical of you that you trust is going to read it and say, Hey, this still needs work.

And, someone. who can give you that advice. That’s what you want. We all want the people say, Oh my God, I love it. This is the best book I ever read. But if you want the real deal, find someone who doesn’t love you and is going to give it a strong read. And that’s how you grow.

[00:30:41] Jane: That’s excellent advice.

That’s how you grow.

[00:30:43] Lisa: And we have all been there. And anything that you see that you think, oh wow, this person has the life. I am telling you from experience.

This right here is not an overnight sensation. I worked it. I’ve been rejected. I’ve had tears and I’ve gone to my husband. Who am I? I don’t know who I am anymore.

I’ve all had that but so yeah. Yeah, so it’s But in the chair, there’s no magic, there’s no secret sauce. But in the chair, if you love this, if you have to write, you are gonna have to do the hard work, the sweaty work and be prepared. There’s very few that, someone reads their book.

It’s the book, it becomes a New York Times bestseller and they’re new. It doesn’t work like that in this business. Not at all. No. Not at all. Not at all.

Okay, there’s some wonderful comments and questions that i’m going to take right now But before I do what what is the best way for readers to keep in touch with you?

Yes i’m an open book. I’m, very communicative Reach out to me through instagram lisa bar 18 my website is Very easy. Lisa barr.com. You could reach out to me there, but yeah, I would love that. I would love that. Excellent. And I’m on Facebook as well, Lisa Barr author, all the, all this.

[00:32:12] Jane: Spots be wonderful. Yeah, you’re everywhere. That wonderful. You’re really good at.

[00:32:14] Lisa: You killed all. I’m everywhere . I’m so sick of me, Jane. I gotta say but I’m not. Yeah. I’m . Thank you. Thank you. But yeah, I’m everywhere and I love readers and writers, so reach out. Absolutely.

[00:32:29] Jane: Excellent. Okay, so questions. This is a good one. From Andrea Johnson. Did you go to Warsaw? Were you able to go to Warsaw for any of your research?

[00:32:36] Lisa: For my very first book, which came out in 2012, Fugitive Colors, it’s about Nazi looted art. That was my debut novel. So I researched that book for four years and I went all over Europe.

I did intensive interviews and so I had been there at that point earlier on. I had been to Europe and Warsaw and all those places.

[00:33:04] Jane: Okay. Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. So go ahead. Go ahead. Oh, no, you go. I have another question of the lovely Susan Seligman. I just a amazing supportive reader. She asked, this is a really good question.

Do you share your writing with your family members as you’re working prior to sending it to your editor or publisher? Do you share with your husband or your daughters or anything? Yes. You do.

[00:33:29] Lisa: Okay, so this is funny. So my husband is not a reader. Okay, not a reader. This is the guy I married. I guess you need that yin and yang, but he is my best editor I’ve ever had.

So we go on walks and talks and I’ll say, okay, I have this character and she’s going to blow up this. How can I have an, Within, without even blinking, he has the scenario how it’s going to happen. So everything I share with him, but Jane, you might appreciate this. He reads everything, but he will not read any of my sex scenes.

And so he can’t handle it. But mostly he said because he doesn’t want to know what his mother is reading. So he can’t, so Yeah. So I share everything with him. And in one of my books, the unbreakables, which was my departure that my second book, very sexy women’s fiction, there was a very strong mother and daughter relationship.

And the daughter is a 19 year old artist. And at the time, my middle daughter was a 19 year old artist. So I would Pass things by her. I’d read her dialogue and she would roll her eyes and say, no one at 19 would ever say that. So she was my greatest resource and the biggest rejecter of any of various dialogue things.

But I have three daughters and they’re. super supportive of my work, but it’s really my husband who reads everything. And this book, The Goddess of Warsaw, my sister in law was his, my husband’s sister was my first reader, and she’s a lawyer, and she was amazing. So yeah, I do have some fan.

[00:35:13] Jane: Oh, that’s great.

That’s great. Yeah. Oh, this is a good question. Anonymous attendee asks Do you have any books about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising fiction or nonfiction that you recommend offhand.

[00:35:25] Lisa: Oh my God, yes there are so many great books about that. A fabulous writer, Judy Batista, she wrote a book The Light of Days, and that was a huge resource for me, and it’s the women of the book.

Of the resistance, not just Warsaw, but everywhere and it’s nonfiction, but it reads like a thriller. So I would recommend that book. Excellent book. And it’s won a lot of prizes too, but it deserves everything. It’s a masterwork. Oh,

[00:35:58] Jane: okay. Good. That’s a good one to know.

[00:36:00] Lisa: And I, and in my author’s notes, I do list some of the most important research items and books that really were helpful for me.

Excellent.

[00:36:11] Jane: Yeah. I loved your author’s notes. I love all author’s notes. I’m such a nerd about stuff.

[00:36:15] Lisa: So yeah, I’m a nerd too. I almost could read the author’s notes first. Those are my favorites. So yeah,

[00:36:23] Jane: I’m with you.

One more question. I from Donna Farron asks, and this is an interest. You’ve talked a little bit about how you were in journalism.

How was the transition from journalism to writing fiction for you? What was okay.

[00:36:36] Lisa: So that’s a great question. So no transition, because I always say you can take the girl out of journalism, but not the journalism out of the girl. So back in the day, I was a reporter. By day, and I was working on my fiction at night, and so now that has changed, but I still do a lot of essay writing and a lot of it is related to my work.

But I think. It has been a huge help in terms of research, because I know where to go and I know how to research and deep dive. And it also really helps me leave cliffhangers for the reader. So the who, what, when, where, why, and how in each chapter, I know how to get it in and get out.

Because I’m so trained with, Go get this story. There’s a fire or you have to interview five people. You have 10 inches go make that happen. And so you have to know how to get it in, how to draw in the reader, get in and get out. And I think that has been super helpful for my work. Yeah, good training.

[00:37:46] Jane: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:37:47] Lisa: Good training.

[00:37:48] Jane: Yeah. So one last question for me are you, you’ve been so busy. Are you ready to share what you’re working on next? Are you not there yet?

[00:37:57] Lisa: So I, a little bit, so normally I, and as you can tell, I’m very type a personality. So as woman.

Fire was a 26 month tour and I just finished my last gig May 10th and then woman and this book came out May 28th so I’m giving myself grace I’d like you know you just finished yours and I you know how it is we’re on tour we’re on tour We’re working on our last one, and we’re talking about the, other books and all the, Oh, the balloons came out.

I love it. I love it. Okay, but we’ll take it. Hey, I love balloons. Okay, so perfect. Maybe someone pressed something. I don’t know. Anyway. So it is taking place in World War Two, but more on the American side, and it is the background, the history is the Ghost Army, which was a rogue a deception unit that was sent, and we’re talking artists and designers Bill Blass and many artists were plucked from their schools to create this rogue unit that went to Normandy and faked a whole division that didn’t exist.

It was fake tanks, fake guns, fake ammo, and the real, and so it diverted the Nazis and the real unit went in and it was the thing that changed the course of World War II. So that’s the backstory, but in my story, there’s going to be a young. rebellious woman who’s going to be drawn into this rogue unit 2. 0 and you know she’s tattooed and she’s you know very rebellious and they’re going to combine both then and now and i’m really excited to to write her kind of a girl with a dragon tattoo like character and but have i created it yet No, I’m still in, I’m still in the research stuff part of things, and I’m going to give myself some time to get into this slowly because I have a very busy tour.

Yeah, you do.

[00:40:07] Jane: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:08] Lisa: Yeah.

[00:40:09] Jane: This was, as I knew it would be, this was delightful. I could talk to you all night and someday we’ll meet in person and have a glass of wine together. it.

[00:40:18] Lisa: And yes, in real time, this is going to happen with you, Jane.

[00:40:21] Jane: Absolutely. Congratulations on all your success and best of luck with your tour.

Thank you. And and just.

[00:40:29] Lisa: I was going to say to you, you’re so generous and there’s my husband. It’s so generous and you do so much. for authors and books and history. And I appreciate it so much while you have all your own work at the same time. So kudos to you. Thank you for that.

Well,

[00:40:50] Jane: you’re an author’s author yourself. You’re so supportive and it’s just, you’re an inspiration. So we will, we’ll get together in the future. So hopefully this year, maybe. And best of luck and have a great night. Everyone. Thank you. All right. Take care. Okay. It’s good to see you. Take care. Bye.

HISTORICAL HAPPY HOUR

Hosted by Jane Healey, Historical Happy Hour is a live interview and podcast featuring premiere historical fiction authors and their latest novels.

Jane Healey

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