Madeline Martin is a New York Times and International Bestselling author of historical fiction and historical romance. Her latest novel The Keeper of Hidden Books is a heartwarming story about the power of books to bring people together based on the real life heroic efforts of Warsaw’s librarians during WWII. It is a BookBub pick for best historical fiction of summer 2023.
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The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin
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Jane: Hello everyone. Good evening. I am here with Madeline Martin to celebrate her launch Eve for her new book, the Keeper of Hidden Books. Yay. Happy Launch Eve. It comes out on Tuesday, August 1st. Like all books do. Every book comes out on Tuesday. I’m going to give you a quick intro, Madeline, and then jump into questions.
Sound good? Thank you for being on.
Madeline: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited about this. I’ve been looking forward to chatting
Jane: with you. Same. I know. ’cause you’re one of those writers that I feel like we should know each other, but we’ve never actually met. So this is, I know you said this
Madeline: is so much fun getting to do this.
Jane: So good. Okay. Madeline Martin is a New York Times u s a today and internationally bestselling author of historical fiction and historical romance with books that have been translated into over 25 different languages. She lives in sunny Florida with her amazing fiance, two sweet daughters, and one very spoiled [00:01:00] cat.
We have a couple of those. Her latest novel, the Keeper of Hidden Books, is based on the true story of Warsaw’s secret libraries during World War ii. It releases August 1st and is available for pre-order now. Welcome Madeline.
Madeline: Thank you so much. It’s so great to be
Jane: here. So talk to me if you wanna hold up the book again.
This, I loved the premise of this story and of course I did because it’s a story about books and how books save people and give people hope in trying times. Talk to me about how you discovered this story and came up with the premise for the novel.
Madeline: So I was, I knew I wanted to write a book about Poland because my heritage is Polish.
And now I realize, ’cause my family’s from Pson and I was writing about war sauce and now I realize that’s like saying that my family’s from North America, but like Canada and not America. Okay. Because it’s so completely different now, I know that after all my research, but, so I was actually halfway done writing the [00:02:00] book when I found these incredible journals of Warsaw’s, public librarians and all the amazing things that they were doing to save books from looting and destruction to open these secret libraries and had these hidden warehouses and everything.
And and I threw out the entire book even though I had a looming deadline and I started over from scratch. It was terrifying. And I had to ask for an extra month extension, which actually worked out really well because it put my release date from the 4th of July. To August 1st, and August 1st is the day of the Warsaw uprising.
So it really worked out very well. Yes. Like serendipitous, right? Right. Exactly. Which, you know, in the writing world we’re like never supposed to move a deadline. So unfortunately you know, I had to in this case, but it worked out very well, thank goodness. Oh,
Jane: excellent. So yeah, I know that feeling. So the story centers around.
Two characters is Sophia, am I pronouncing it right, Sophia? So [00:03:00]
Madeline: I will tell you that I pretty much am pronouncing it in my head the way that I think that it sounds. So I think it’s Sophia and Yanina. I’m actually waiting until my book is narrated and I’m like, I’ll just see what Saskia does with it and then I’m gonna go with that from then on.
Jane: Oh, she’s an excellent narrator too. Oh, she’s amazing. Yeah. So Sofia and and Janina, two very dear, dear friends. Childhood friends grow up together and have a shared love of books and reading. Janine Janina is Jewish, Sofia is not. So there are experiences during the occupation when Warsaw is occupied by the Nazis is very different as a result.
And so how did you decide to come up with these two characters and center the story around them? And are they based on any real women? I know that’s like three questions in one. Sorry.
Madeline: You’re fine. Well, I’ll start by saying they’re not based on any, any real women. But I have taken a lot of the things that happen in this book are taken from firsthand accounts and sort of [00:04:00] like, you know, amalgamated into an individual character.
So even though they aren’t individually one person they really are sort of a compendium of people who really had lived back then. And and you know, as far as like their, their differences in the war, you know I mean, Janina ends up going into the Warsaw ghetto and, and Sophia ends up on the Polish side.
And you know, for me it was really important to do that because I had wanted to showcase the Polish side, but I feel like you can’t really talk about the Polish side. Without delving into the atrocities that happened in the ghetto, I feel like it really would just do such a disservice to the, what they had to endure.
And so and so I had these two friends, and initially it was gonna be a dual p o v and I already felt like going from, you know, 1939 to 1945 was like trying to put lightning into a jar. Yeah, yeah. And so and so especially with two POVs and then when I found all the information on the [00:05:00] libraries, That’s when I realized, you know what, this is too big for two POVs.
And I had to like literally redo everything because you know, it’s a big difference when you have two POV characters to one, like they offset one another and then you get rid of one and now you have to like make some adjustments on that main one. It
Jane: was a lot, it was a lot of work for a, it was, oh
Madeline: my gosh, like I.
Pulled the sweater and like the whole thing came unraveled, and then I lost the yarn. I mean, it was,
Jane: I, I always compare that like writing like that to a thread, like one threads off and then the whole thing can fall. Yeah. It’s totally true. Yeah. Absolutely. So it’s not, this isn’t a spoiler to say that.
One of the aspects of the story that I loved the, the girls started a secret book club that they first called the Anti Hitler Book Club. Later the, the name changed. Of course I had to look up again like what? All the books, the Nazis band, and it was an incredible list that kept growing. And I loved this aspect of the story.
And tell me what inspired you to Inc. [00:06:00] To incorporate this secret club.
Madeline: So when I do research for my books, you know, I try to dig past just the particular time period that I’m writing in. So I like to look at the economic, social, and political history of the country, and that’s when I realized that Poland really spent literally centuries trying to be free.
You had like a hundred, over 120 years that were under Russian occupation. They had just been given their freedom after the Treaty of Versailles, after the Great War in 1918, and had just celebrated 20 years of independence before the Nazis came in. And, and so, you know, Sophia and her friends were really sort of born in this like little pocket of freedom that nobody else that was alive could even remember having been in.
And so as a result, you know, they had been, they had grown up being told these incredible stories of, of bravery and patriotism, and they all were just like, You know, fierce with it. And so I thought, because usually I do write a little bit gentler characters, [00:07:00] but you know, I thought. This character, she’s going to be defiant and she’s gonna be rebellious and she’s gonna be fierce because that’s what, that’s what this history calls for.
Yes. And, and so then of course, she’s a book lover because I’m a book lover. So I like to write about book lovers. And I thought, you know what, what would a rebellious book lover do with somebody who’s banning books in one country and knocking on your door? And I’m thinking, She would totally read those banned books.
And what better way to experience them than with your friends. Yeah. So that’s kind of how I got started. I
Jane: love that. Very thank you. I loved you know, you mentioned some of the books that were banned. And, and of course like Helen Keller’s autobiography. I didn’t realize that there was some that I was like, Surprise All is quiet on the Western front.
I think all of Fitzgerald’s books, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It was really interesting. The Cho, you know, some of them I was like, really? But yeah, I mean yeah, it was,
Madeline: I will say it was so much research to find the right books because [00:08:00] you know, with each book that, that they read too, it sort of peels back this layer in Sophia.
Yeah. And poignant aspect of it. You have to make sure that the book was translated into Polish around that time. And you also have to make sure that the book hadn’t had actually been banned. And so it was really, it was a, it was a labor of love to be sure. Oh,
Jane: definitely. And that’s tricky ’cause you wanna pick book books for the book club that are the Met thematic to the.
Wider story. And then of course, I mean I’ve read, read some of those books ages ago. I’m sure you had to reread all of the books I did that the book club read by miserable, like all of these books. So that was really interesting. Thank you. And that actually brings me to my next question because you did an astonishing amount of research for this book.
And I love, of course, I’m such a nerd with this stuff. Loved reading your author notes. It, the, the research included a two week trip to Warsaw with your mom, which must have been amazing, so, oh, it was. Yeah. I mean, tell me about your trip and [00:09:00] what your, and your whole research process for this book
Madeline: overall, I.
So you know, it’s funny because like I’ve, I’ve been able to, I’ve been very fortunate to travel to the places that I’ve written about. So when my mom found out that I was going to Poland, she said, oh, dibs. So she got it before anybody else could. Blake Flame. And and she was such a trooper too, because, I mean, I, I really went on some long tours.
I had this amazing private tour guide. And at that point in my research, I really had a laundry list of things that I was like, you know, I have some information on these things, but I need more. You know, can you help out with that? And so she said, I, some of them yes. And other ones let me research and get back with you.
Right? And so she took us on these amazing tours that lasted anywhere from eight hours to 16 hours. And my mom was a trooper and she hung in there like the entire time. Every time we would go to museums, she would sit there for hours with me. I mean, she did. She was amazing. It really was just so incredible getting to go [00:10:00] there.
And I actually had a reader that had just finished reading The Keeper of Hidden Books and she was messaging me on Facebook and she said, she said that she wanted to look up the ghetto wall after reading about it in my book. And she said, when I looked it up, it was exactly the way that I had it in my mind, after reading your book and you know that as a writer, that’s like such a.
And I really attribute so much of that to having the opportunity to get to go to Warsaw and get a lot of that, you know, that hands-on you know, firsthand research. Absolutely. But it also involved a lot of books. Yeah. I think I had like over, well, I know it was well over a hundred nonfiction books that I ended up using.
Now. I didn’t read them all cover to cover. I’m not a machine. Right, right. But, you know, sometimes, you know, you just need like a chapter or even a couple paragraphs like yeah. You know, it has that one little nugget of information that you need. And yeah,
Jane: I totally understand. Yep. I get it. A hundred is still a lot though.
Even if it’s just a couple [00:11:00] paragraphs, it’s
Madeline: Yeah, I, I, I actually bought them all too, so now my husband’s building me. I have like, all of my research books are all organized by time period and location. Right. And and even after he builds this, I think we’re gonna actually be out of room again already.
Yeah. That’s looking pretty behind you. So I know. Yeah. And I’ve got another one there and over there. And now when I’m too so,
Jane: so clever. So was there anything in your research, whether it was on your trip or just in the, in everything you read that really surprised you or changed the direction of the story in any way?
And I realized you just kind of almost, you answered this at the beginning. You know,
Madeline: but it, right. Yeah. Really both with the librarians. And, you know, one of the cool things too is that the, you know, the subterfuge with librarians didn’t just extend outside of the ghetto walls. It also happened within the ghetto.
You know, you had people who had their personal libraries that they had managed to bring into the ghetto with them, and they put them into suitcases and carried them around to distribute to like a, [00:12:00] you know, I guess like their patrons. And then also, Basha Tempkin, who used to be a librarian at the Warsaw Public Library.
She opened this thing called CentOS, which was supposed to basically be like a, a center for orphans to sort of come and, and like play and, and kind of you know, have a respite or whatever. And and so she actually made that into a secret library. So they had these amazing shelves that were fashioned that would flip around.
So you might have a dollhouse on one side and then you flip it. You have Polish and Yiddish children’s books on the other side. I mean, you know, really just absolutely incredible. Yeah.
Jane: Yeah. I love that detail. And so when it comes to histor, I mean, I always say like this is historical fiction but there’s an incredible amount of factual detail in here in history.
How do you strike the balance between fact and fiction in your storytelling? And are there any strict rules you adhere to? [00:13:00]
Madeline: So, you know, I think that the main thing is when I’m, when I’m writing a scene and I’m like, oh, the scene feels like it’s going on and on and on and on, and I’m like, well, let me see how it is when I do my final read through.
And if I do my final read through and I still feel like that scene is going on and on and on and on, it probably is, and it’s probably ’cause I got a little heavy handed on the historical aspect of it. And so, so that’s when I kind of, you know, trim it up a little bit. And then the main thing is just that, you know, I’m, I really am like sort of like, I love just following the history.
So if there’s something where it would make more sense to move history to make the plot work this way, I just don’t do it. And if anybody ever complains about it, I just say, well, that was history. Right? Right. Yes. Know you do the
Jane: same thing too. Yeah. So you also woven some real historical fic, excuse me, figures as characters including Baja Ba.[00:14:00]
Who was an extraordinary Warsaw librarian. Talk a little bit about her too.
Madeline: Yeah. She really was honestly, kind of my inspiration for writing this book in the first place. She, so she was a librarian at the Warsaw Public Library, which was really amazing because she was Jewish. And I would like to say that there was equality between Poles and Jews as it should have been because it was decreed that they should have equality after the Treaty of Versailles, like within the Treaty of Versailles.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. And so, you know, her being a librarian was really a very big deal. So, so already she was clearly a woman who, who knew how to really take charge of a situation. And and so once she ended up going to the ghetto, Not only did she work with these children, I mean, all the way up really until the very end.
You know, she also helped out, like making sure that they could get food. She made sure that like, when, when the typhus outbreaks happened, she would give them [00:15:00] books even though she knew that they couldn’t get them back. She eventually ended up getting out of the ghetto at one point, and at that point she was able to help other people escape as well.
I mean, she really was just such an incredibly brave and amazing woman. Amazing.
Jane: Amazing. Yeah. I love that you included her. Thank you. And another thing I, you know, I went back over your author’s notes again today. I read them for like, I read them like three or four times. Thank you.
Madeline: Because, you know, those are so much work to write
Include they’re, you know, it’s painstaking, right? It’s, it really is. And if you don’t get all the details in, you’ll hear about it from some reader, I’m sure. Oh, yeah, yeah. So I love, you know I love World War II history obviously, but I love reading about aspects of history that I, I may have heard of but didn’t know a lot about.
And one of them in this book that I really didn’t know much about at all was the gray ranks. Which was the [00:16:00] young, the, you know, they were, it was the Polish Home Army. They were part of the Polish Home Army, but they were really children who belonged to the Pol Poland’s girl guides, girl Scouts Really? And Boy Scouts.
Talk to me about that. That was unbelievable to me.
Madeline: Yeah, it really was incredible. So, I mean, so these are Boy Scouts and girl scouts effectively, and and when everything was happening, you know, they really wanted to rally against the Nazis as well, and they wanted to fight the oppression. And so they would, they formed these groups and each age group had sort of like their own selected like tasks that they could do.
So the younger ones might run messages. The middle age ones, which is what Sophia falls into originally. Does like annoying little sabotage kind of things like replacing German newspapers with with Polish ones saying all horrible things about, about Germans and about the Nazis and like stealing flags and putting itching powder, you know, and, and like the cinema seats and things like that.
And then you [00:17:00] had the older ones that, that really were more they really were doing more of the aggressive subterfuge. They were doing things like blowing up train tracks. And and you know, stealing weapons and that kind of thing. So once we end up having the the worse on uprising happen, they were a huge part of the home Army because now a lot of those kids, I mean, it’s been five years.
Yeah. So, Started off being little kids are now like teenagers and, and you know, young adults, which is why I had Sophia start off at age 17 so that she would be 22, which was, you know, it was like, I’d say like 17 to 22 is probably the average age of people during the Warsaw uprising. But even still, you had kids as young as 11.
Who were still helping out. They would throw Molotov cocktails at tanks. They would, they would take, you know, bombs and grenades and like lock ’em places and run away. And the, this is like my, this was really incredible to me. So the Boy Scouts created, because the Warsaw [00:18:00] uprising went on for 63 days, even though the thought it would only be like three.
The Boy Scouts created a male system that went on through all of the districts that the polls had reclaimed. So this male system had stamps for each one of these places and people could draw them, and they had these little mailboxes and this was completely run by little boys. I mean, it’s amazing.
Amazing. Yeah. And they would go and they would get the letters and they had their little, their little messenger bags and they took their jobs very seriously and they would run around back and forth, these little boys delivering messages to and from these districts. I mean, just absolutely incredible.
Jane: Yeah. Incredible. And so, so brave. And like you said, oh gosh, yeah. They started like ages 11 to eight. 18 like that, you know, and the little ones to be involved in that way is unbelievable.
Madeline: Oh yeah. And you know, as a mother, like I have, I have a 14 year old and a 17 year old, and I know you’ve got kids too.
How old are your again?
Jane: I was 17 and 20. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I know. I think about it all the time. Yeah,
Madeline: it’s, it’s incredible to think [00:19:00] that, that kids our age who don’t even wanna clean their room or pick up their.
Like engaged in something so adult, you know? Yeah,
Jane: yeah. They grew up so quickly. I know, absolutely. I wanna pivot to writerly questions. I always ask these and then I have a few more questions, and then if people have questions, you can put them, put ’em in the chat, or put ’em in the q and a. Talk to me.
I see the board behind you. Oh, and a couple people have said that they’re. That we’re freezing a little bit. The screen are freezing, but I am in the middle of like an unbelievable thunderstorm, so I’m wondering if it’s my connection, maybe that’s, oh, no.
Madeline: Well, and I’m in Florida and so my house is like my lo my first floor is totally concrete with rebar all through it because of the hurricanes.
So sometimes our, my cell phone gets, or my reception here gets a little spotty as well. So it could be a combination of both of ours working on the part
Jane: back, back kind of night. So, apologies. And Sorry guys. Sorry. [00:20:00] So talk to me, I see the board behind you sticky notes. Like what is your writing process like?
Are you a plotter, do you, or a pants riding by the seat of your pants or? A little bit of both.
Madeline: What’s your process like? So I am definitely a plotter. In fact, I like to joke that I’m so type am 12 point times New Roman because I really, I really do like, actually, you know, it’s funny ’cause right here I actually have my plot for the book that I’m working on right now.
And it’s like, I almost plot it like chapter by chapter because it just makes it stay in my head. And I even do like a character chart that I have. Like right here where I have all of my, oh, maybe that’s not it. But anyways, I have like put all my characters in. In fact when I was writing this book, I unfortunately realized after I had gone to Warsaw that I wanted to write about the library.
’cause that library is still standing. Well, I happened to finally had this incredible trove of pictures available online of the history of this [00:21:00] library. And they, I printed out everything from 1938 to 19, you know, Like probably 48 that they had. 38 to 48. Yeah. And I printed them all out and I put them, ’cause they had details and so I made like a map for myself to follow.
Oh. So, so that while I was writing, I would know, oh, this is to the left of the second courtyard on the second floor. You know, so I could kind of like, and I could see what the room looked like and, and like who ran it and everything. So I really am very, very detailed when it comes to my plotting, which it takes me like I do about 10 months worth of research.
And then frantically realize, oh my gosh, I have to write this. Book ’cause it’s doing two months and then I have to like do the plot and the character charts and then, you know, frantically write the book. That’s the phase I’m in right now.
Jane: Excellent. You a woman. After my own heart, I’m a huge, like, I’m all about plotting.
I, I don’t, I don’t understand. People just sit down and like I. Go
Madeline: off. It scares me. Yeah. I, I just don’t think that I could do it. I also don’t think I’d ever get anything done. ’cause I think I’d always be like, well, what should I do next? What’s it, [00:22:00]what’s on sale on
Jane: Sephora? So many choices, so many distractions.
Yeah. I agree. Yeah. And so what is your favorite part of the writing process, and what is the part you dread?
Madeline: So I think that my favorite part of the writing process is all of the research and really like letting those ideas, like fireworks going off in your brain, you know, and I know that you’re like nodding.
So I think you’re probably on that same boat with me. I feel like in the sound of music when, when Maria like throws her arms open and just like those, like spirals in the mountains, like that’s what I feel like when I’m plotting a book. And then what do I like the least? Is probably gosh, you know, I have to say, I think probably the edits.
Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. So I know that we have some aspiring authors in the audience, and what’s the best advice [00:23:00] you can give them about writing and getting published?
Madeline: Always, always keep learning. Start learning now and never stop. Before I even wrote my first book, well actually no, ’cause I had written my first book and then I realized I didn’t know what I was doing and then I stopped everything and I learned, learned, learned everything I possibly could for five years.
And then that’s when I started writing. And and even to like now every year I choose one major part of my education that I really want to go for. This last year I’ve been working with a writing coach, Lisa Cron, who wrote oh yeah. Great genius. Yes. Yeah. I worked with her for about six months on character development.
And then next year I’m gonna be actually working on like, focus and, and like maintaining like. I guess just good focus. But, so I kind of choose different aspects of writing to really focus on every year and and, and I think it’s just so important to always continue to keep learning.
Jane: Totally agree.
Yes. Excellent advice. Talk [00:24:00] to me. I read on good reads about, you know, kind of the elements of your cover, if you wanna hold that up again. Yeah. It’s a beautiful cover and it’s based on a scene in the story. Did you have much input in this design process or not so much? I did
Madeline: because this was like the sixth mockup of the cover.
And this is the one that I really had wanted in the very beginning was something along this line. And and so one of the things that I really liked about this, first of all, it’s like this, like, you know, sort of like. Bombed out Looking warehouse. She has like these books. Mm-hmm. Books and, and one of the things that I love so much about it that was very, very important to me is that she has the Polish Home Army band on her.
I don’t know if you can see her’s too close with the Kika, which is like the little polish anchor that stands for the Home Army. And that was so incredibly important to me because, You know I feel like a lot of people don’t talk about the Polish resistance, and it was one of the most organized [00:25:00]resistance groups in all of occupied Europe during World War ii.
And I, I really wanted to pay homage to the incredible men and women in all of their efforts and what they did in that. Yeah.
Jane: No, it’s be, and I also like the use of light kind of coming from the side there. Yeah.
Madeline: Really, really love it to kind of give it like a little bit more hope so that wasn’t Yeah.
Yeah. Such a dark cover. Yeah.
Jane: Thank you. Are you ready to talk about what you’re working on now? And if you’re not, I totally understand that
Madeline: So, yes, I just got permission today, so this is actually the first place that I’m getting to talk about breaking news.
Jane: I love it. So
Madeline: So it should be showing up.
I was, I asked if they could at least just put it up on good reads, but apparently they’re putting it up on vendors too, so there’s not gonna be a cover, there’s not gonna be a blurb or anything like that. But but it’s called the Book Lovers Library and it’s set in Nottingham, England. And it’s about a woman who works for a lending library there and also has a daughter who gets sent away to the country as o as part of [00:26:00] Operation Pride.
I. Hide Piper. And and at one point there is she’s going to go to London and there will might be, be a cameo from the last bookshop in London. Nice.
Jane: Oh, excellent. I love that you’re continuing the book theme too. That’s, yes. Congratulations. Thank you. What is the best way for readers to stay in touch with you?
Madeline: So my website is madeline martin.com and you can find everything there from reader guides to my upcoming events to a really poorly run blog that probably is like a year old without anything on it. Twitter and Instagram. I’m at Madeline m Martin because somebody already had Madeline Martin. Okay. And Facebook.
I’m Madeline Martin, author.
Jane: Okay. And do you zoom with book clubs ever, like
Madeline: virtual? Absolutely, yes. I love to zoom with book clubs, so if anybody ever wants to have me come and chat with them about any of my books, just I actually have a spot on my website for book clubs that they can [00:27:00] fill out an interest form.
Jane: Awesome, awesome. Okay. And so there are some lovely comments and questions and so I’m gonna dive into some of these. Let’s see. Mm-hmm. Oh, this is a great question. Will this book be published in Poland?
Madeline: Oh, that is a great question. I haven’t heard anything about the Polish translation yet. So I have my fingers very tightly crossed because I tried very, very hard to honor the Polish culture with this.
And I actually have a couple of friends who are Polish who read it, and they all loved it. So I really, above all languages, I really, really hope that it gets translated into Polish.
Jane: Me too. Thank you. And Tim Hayes asks, does Madeline have the a command of German Polish or Slavic when doing your research?
Like do you speak Polish or. Did you speak other
Madeline: languages or not? So I actually try to learn a little bit of the language whenever I travel to any country. And Polish is one of those as well. [00:28:00] And so I did, I did learn some polish before going over there. And I will say I have learned many languages and at least just conversational, you know, like, not like in depth, but you know, how are you?
Where’s the bathroom? I’d like wine, please. You know,
Jane: little things like that’s, the bathroom is always an I. Exactly,
Madeline: and I have to say I had thought that Indonesian was the hardest language that I had learned, but now it’s Polish. Polish is really, really,
Jane: really hard. I, yeah, it seems hard. Does your mom speak Polish or no?
Madeline: no. In fact, whenever we travel, I’m sort of the designated translator. Like I’m the one who, because I love to learn new languages I, I think that’s part of. Growing up as an army bratt, you know, we were in Germany when I was a little girl ’cause we moved there when I was one. And and I, I spoke really, really fluent German.
I don’t anymore. But I feel like having that experience that exposure to learning a different language, especially something so different from English, I feel like it really sort of helped like lay a [00:29:00]foundation for me. So I, I really enjoy learning new languages and, and it does help out with my research.
Jane: Yeah. Oh, Anne Kelsey says, as a librarian, I’m so excited to read this novel that showcases librarians and libraries and their importance in world changing events way to bust open the stereotypes. That’s not a question. It’s just really nice. Anne. Yay.
Madeline: Thank you. I
Jane: appreciate it. Let’s see.
And Dorothy Schwab had some nice comments and says, I’m putting you on my list for author’s visits. Oh, thank you. Yeah. And let’s see. Oh, this is a great question. What books are you both reading now? I can’t wait for August 1st. Nancy Zambrana. Sorry.
Madeline: I’ll let you go first ’cause I’ve been talking and I want Oh
So I sh I sh I wish I did. So besides yours, which I loved. Oh, thank you. I just finished, we, we begin at the end. I think his name is Whitaker. Tom Whitaker. I’ll, I’ll put it I’ll post it after, but yeah, we begin at [00:30:00] the end. It’s a couple years old. I heard about it on a podcast. It’s a, it’s kind of a dark, small town mystery, but with a lot of hope, and it was just beautifully written.
Beautifully written, just a little bit departure from historical fiction. So I highly recommend we begin at the end. How about you? What are you reading? Oh, that’s
Madeline: awesome. I’m just finishing up The Spectacular by Fiona Davis. Oh yeah. She’s amazing. Yeah. Oh, it’s so good. So it’s about a woman who is a Rockette and apparently.
The way she started writing this story is a woman who was formerly a Rockette called her up and said, you’re gonna wanna write this story. Oh. And, and so it’s like, you know, this woman who’s, who’s like, kind of loves dance and is becoming a Rockette, despite her family not really wanting her to do that, and also the big Apple bomber who’s going around and, and like bombing all of New York for like 16 years, which really was something that happened.
And I had been in dance. Pretty much my whole life. And so I, I especially love this book because it really, it makes my soul sing a little bit, you know? Yeah. I can’t, it moves [00:31:00] anymore, but, but my, my heart still remembers it, and so reading about it is pretty
Jane: neat. Oh, awesome. Yeah, I have to, that’s on my list.
And actually, if Fiona hasn’t been on historical happy hour, I have to like, reach out to her. She’s another one that like, we have a lot of mutual people, you know, but Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. So so excellent. Oh, Sid Young asked, does social media just come naturally to you, or did you, or did you do anything to learn how to do it as a published writer and which is your favorite social media platform?
Madeline: So let’s see. Well, I, I, I’ve always just kind of done it. Like I, I had somebody one time at my day job when I was working my day job still, who had come in. They had like a little artist hour every single month. And one of the things this woman taught us was how to like, take pictures with iPhone, like changing different, you know, perspective and everything.
And so I feel like she was really helpful. And also filters are super helpful as well for, you know, making like, Like pictures that kind of make you stop. But then as [00:32:00] far as which platform I like the best, I would say probably it’s a tie between Facebook and Instagram. I like Instagram for all the cat videos and, and and also I just, I feel like I’ve gotten so many wonderful people like that I’ve, that I’ve really interacted with on a regular basis.
There. And, and one of the things I like about Facebook is I feel like there’s not as much limitation on the kind of interaction that you can have. Yeah. And I really enjoy that. I, I really love talking to people and getting to know people and and, and all of that. So that, I guess probably does come natural.
’cause it’s like introvert and extrovert, like all at once. It’s like Yeah, yeah.
Jane: The screen. But interact and be socialist.
Madeline: Yeah, exactly. Like you’re on, but like not fully on.
Jane: Are you now, have you tried TikTok yet? I’m, I’ve only like. Perused, but I’m not, I haven’t
Madeline: really, I’ve done a couple of videos and I’ve decided this old dog ain’t learning any new tricks.
Like it’s a lot, takes hours to put together like a 32nd video, and then even then it’s like mediocre. [00:33:00] And I’m like, I just can’t. It’s too much.
Jane: I, I totally agree. It’s a lot, a lot of work. And I, yeah. Kudos to the authors that are crushing it on there, but
Madeline: yes. Yes. It’s a lot to do. Yeah. I’ll say I did try to pay my teenagers $5 a video and that lasted like once for each of them and one of them misspelled my name and I was like, I’m done.
Jane: Oh, forget it. But that’s so funny you said that. ’cause today I was in the car with my 17 year old and I’m like, would you do some TikTok videos for me? She’s like, no.
Madeline: Like, oh, okay. I not alone. If that makes you feel any better.
Jane: Forget it then. And I made her too, but whatever.
Madeline: Don’t do $5. It doesn’t
Barbara Harrington, you asked the question. Thank you. Jane, are you working on No, no book. I am, but I’m like way too early to talk about it yet, but hopefully Oh, hopefully soon. Early days. I’m glad she
Madeline: asked that ’cause I actually was gonna, that at the end. I thank get those early stages like.
Jane: Yeah, it’s like [00:34:00] barely in my head.
Nevermind on a page yet. So yeah, we’re, I’m getting there, but slow. I just, yeah. Had a call with my agent yesterday about it and stuff, so, fingers. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I wanted to ask you too, was there any book or books growing up that. You were like, ugh. Like just to, you know, when you’re at that age and it’s like, I wanna do this someday, or it just totally had a huge impact on you.
Like, is there, is there anything, like, is there a particular book that stands out or more than one? Probably more than one.
Madeline: Well, I will say the one that just kind of got me completely head over heels in love with historical fiction is the Little House on the Prairie Series. Oh. You know, and the funny thing is too, like I always wanted so bad to be married, but dang it, I was like, unequivocally, Laura, like completely, I was always doing bad stuff by accident.
So, you know, I think that was just big as far as like, it really led me down this path of loving historical fiction. And I started delving into all these like, amazing historical fiction books. But, you know, one of the books that really just kind of made [00:35:00] me start writing because. Before I started doing historical fiction, I was writing historical romance, right?
So I’d written like over 30 historical romances. And what started me doing that was I was reading Outlander while I was on my first my first maternity leave. And, and I loved it. And I loved the idea of like this brony Scottish Highlander and like this. Fey Sasac, you know? And so I thought, oh, this would be so fun.
I kind of wanna write like a dy, a dynamic like this. And so that’s how I got started into writing in the first place. And then I jumped to Medieval and then I jumped to Regency. And then I thought, I think I wanna write historical fiction. And then that’s where I got to where I am now.
Jane: How amazing Number of books, by the way, and now how is that?
Like, how different is that, like historical romance to historical fiction? How was, how was that leap? Like, was it a real big change for you or, you know
Madeline: it was interesting, like, well first of all it was scary because it was such a shift. And you know, the funny thing is, so [00:36:00] I had been, I had been working as a business analyst forever.
I, I was there for like 16 years and I’d been published since, I think like 2015. So once it got published, I was writing about for like, oh gosh, I think like four or five years. I was writing like six to eight books a year working as a business analyst. And then of course my girls and I was a single mom for part of that too.
And and so I ended up getting laid off February, 2020. I. Just because we kind of ran out of work to do and I thought, oh, this is gonna be wonderful. I’m gonna write my, I’m gonna have all this time and this house completely to myself and I’m gonna work on my historical fiction. And then the pandemic happened a couple weeks later and everybody was home all the time.
Jane: Forever. I didn’t even think of that. I was like, oh, so that The pandemic, no, that was before the pandemic. I know I was
Madeline: robbed, so, but I did, it gave me at least the opportunity to write the historical fiction. Yeah. So that’s when I wrote the last bookshop in London and you know, First of all, the, the research is so much more intense, but even the writing, like, [00:37:00] you know, I can write like with my romances, is if I need to, I can write like 10,000 words in a day.
But with my historical fiction, I feel like I can maybe do like two or 3000 words a day. And even that, it’s like my brain is kind of leaking outta my ear at the end of the day. I feel that’s how I, it’s definitely not a
Jane: typical day that’s a limit. Like, I feel like when I hit that two to 3000 like that, that’s a good day and I can’t, I can’t push beyond that too much.
Madeline: That’s when like, even when you just watch TV afterwards, you’re like, nothing that makes me think like, let’s just watch like, like face off or something, you know,
Jane: matchmaker. That’s my new favorite. Yes. I’m gonna check and see if we have any more questions. I think I’ve got the languages. One more little.
But this is really, we had over 70 people on the whole time and, oh, Dorothy Schwab. I’m sorry, I missed this one. Is there a list in the, in the book of the banned books of the, the books banned by the Nazis?
Madeline: Ooh, I need, oh [00:38:00] no, the books banned by the Nazis is huge. Like they actually published they actually published books filled with lists of these, so it’s like, I mean, it’s like, Thousands and thousands and thousands.
But as far as the books that I mentioned in the book I probably should do that. I’m a little bit behind on putting together my reader’s guide for this one, just because of having my book tour coming up combined with my book deadline for being October 1st and me realizing, oh my gosh, I haven’t written as much as I need to.
I get it. So I’ll eventually be getting that out, but it might be a little bit later than usual.
Jane: Excellent. So before we sign off, just a housekeeping thing for historical happy hour, if you like it, if you could, could like my channel on YouTube or subscribe to the podcast on wherever you listen to podcasts and, and ratings always help you know, reach new listeners.
’cause we’ve had some amazing authors like Madeline Martin on here in the past few months and I just, I’m trying to grow it even more so. So thank you so much. [00:39:00] I hope that you’re in the Boston area sometime soon for your tour. Yes, me too. Have go for a drink or coffee or something. That would be amazing.
Yeah. And thank you for your time. Congratulations on your latest. And remember, it comes out August 1st. It’s available for pre-order. It’s available everywhere on Tuesday, so so huge. Congratulations and thank you so much for taking the time tonight to talk with me and come on and so
Madeline: lovely to meet you.
Pleasure. Yeah, it’s so great to get to meet you. This was so fun just getting to chat and thank you so much for having me. Come on too historical. It’s been wonderful. Thank you. Oh,
Jane: thank you. Thanks so much. Take care. And keep in touch. Thank you.
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.