Thursday, May 6, 2021

Pam Jenoff is a shining star...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Mindy Schwartz Sorasky

We are thrilled to have Pam Jenoff back at CLC today. Her latest novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, recently published. Melissa couldn't put it down and recently shared her review. Aside from being a great writer, Pam is so kind and wonderful in person. If you get the chance to meet her, either at a book signing or a virtual chat, definitely go for it! In the meantime, check out our interview. You will love the funny story about one of her kids. Thanks to Park Row, we have TWO copies of Pam's latest novel to give away!

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan's Tale. She holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master's degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. Jenoff's novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and also as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia, where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Visit Pam online:

Synopsis:
1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents in the KrakΓ³w Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous tunnels beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by incredible true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an unforgettable testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

“Pam Jenoff’s meticulously researched account of an unlikely and dangerous friendship during WWII is a timely and compelling account of the lengths we go to for the family we are born with, and the family we make for ourselves. It will leave you gasping at the end.” 
—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Two Ways 

“Heartfelt and beautifully written… This emotional novel is filled with twists, turns, and displays of bravery and love that you will never forget, culminating in an ending that manages to be both surprising and uplifting at the same time. This is singular historical fiction that you will not be able to put down.” 
—Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eternal

“Once again, Pam Jenoff displays her mastery at illuminating little-known yet remarkably important nuggets of WWII history. I was immediately mesmerized by The Woman with the Blue Star, a haunting tale of enduring bonds, impossible sacrifice, and an inspiring fortitude to survive the darkness—in every sense. Book clubs will assuredly devour this compulsively readable novel that both wrenches and warms the heart.” 
—Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with many readers over the years, virtually and in person.  I don’t have one particular compliment that stands out, but I am always humbled when Holocaust survivors thank me or feel I’ve done justice to their experiences.  I consider the ultimate compliment to be readers that have stayed with me over the years.
 
What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing The Woman with the Blue Star?
One of the biggest challenges for me is always world-building.  I had to understand and describe life in the sewer in a way that was authentic, everything from the size of the pipes to the way in which the people there got water.  Another challenge in this book was building the friendship between Sadie, the girl who is in the sewer, and Ella, who is on the street.  To have them connect and bond in this way really forced me to think about how we connect with one another.
 
The biggest reward has been bringing forth a story about isolation and human interconnection during a year when we have all been struggling with those very same issues due to covid.

What inspired you to choose this particular story angle (a family hiding in a sewer) to talk about the Holocaust?
Almost all of my books have been centered around World War II.  This comes from the years I spent as a diplomat in Poland working on Holocaust issues for the U.S. State Department.  Since then, I have tried to write books that illuminate a little known aspect of the Holocaust through fiction in a way that is respectful of the era and people who lived through it.  I am still amazed that after 25 years of working with this period in history, I still find stories that make me gasp. The story of the Jews who survived in the sewer was one such story.  I was amazed by the circumstances they had to endure, their strength and the ways in which they made human connections.  
 
What TV series are you currently binge watching?
I have not been able to binge watch much. I get up before five a.m. to start writing and my kids are gojng to bed later and later, so often I hop into bed the same time they do, which really cuts down on the adult tv time.  But I have always adored This Is Us. The writing for that show is spectacular.

What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I’ve learned many things, but one that stands out is how important my work is to my well-being.  During the first six months of the pandemic when everyone was home and we were all reeling, I did not work at all and that really hollowed me out.  Then in the fall, the kids were on virtual school, I put the puppy in daycare and was able to work in earnest again. I felt better in every way – physically, mentally, emotionally.  I’ve learned not to apologize for working, which is something that women do far too often.
 
What is something funny that one of your kids has said to you?
The funniest was not something my son said to me, but about me. We were at a park and I saw him sidle up to an older woman.  I was worried that he was talking to a stranger, so I moved closer.  I heard him say, “Have you read any books by Pam Jenoff?”  He didn’t mention that he was my son.  When the woman said no, he proceeded to rattle off the whole backlist, in order. I was very grateful for his attempt at promotion!

Thanks to Pam for visiting with us and to Park Row for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway ends May 11th at midnight EST.

20 comments:

jshjsh said...

I would love to read this book! Thanks!

jshjsh said...

This is an important story, thank you for writing it.

traveler said...

Surviving a life filled with trials and tribulations and succeeding in establishing a business and raising a family. My father's life was filled with hardships and major medical issues from the time he was young. His father died very young and left 6 young children, the eldest, my father who had to go to work at 14 to provide for the family. Thank you for your captivating novel and your wonderful writing which has given me great enjoyment.

Suburban prep said...

I have a sister who is alive after surviving stage four cancer. She was given a 5% chance of living. She went thru chemo and the doctors stated she was fine. But the cancer came back shortly there after and then she went thru a bone marrow transplant. We are a family of 7 siblings and not one of us was close enough. There was a wonderful woman out there and she donated to my sister. In return my sister named her daughter that she later adopted after the bone marrow donor.

Carla S. said...

A dear friend has survived 4 bouts with Stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Nancy said...

Otto Frank survived after being held in concentration camps. Sadly, the rest of his family did not survive .

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Cherisse said...

A wonderful story to share, I would love to read this one.

Grandma Cootie said...

My mother's life was one continuous survival story. But she still managed to raise 4 children alone, have friends and laugh often.

Bonnie K. said...

I've been hit twice in my life, once while in the crosswalk with a green light and car turning left ran right into me (he said he was daydreaming) and the other while I was riding a bicycle. I flew quite a bit and landed on my bottom. I was sore for a long time. It was amazing that it wasn't worse. I still have evidence of my injuries.

Mary Preston said...

I have survived quite a few cyclones in my time.

diannekc said...

My friend's parents survived Poland during WWII. HIS dad survived a concentration camp and had a tattoo on his arm.

Charlotte Lynn said...

I cannot say that I have survived anything catastrophic but I did just hear about a missing woman living the winter in Utah and surviving.

Toni Laliberte said...

The story about the hiker who fell between rocks and was trapped for days, until he slowly cut off his arm and then got himself out! Amazing story of survival!

jtmswim said...

Thanks for the giveaway chance. Stay safe and healthy. πŸ’•πŸ“šπŸ˜·πŸ“šπŸ’•

bn100 said...

people surviving WWII

Emily Catan said...

I would say Aung San Suu Kyi has survived through some unthinkable brutality and injustices from her own government. I have adored her since I was in high school.

rubynreba said...

A friend in a nearby town had her home destroyed by a tornado but she and her family went to the basement and survived.

Amber said...

So many survival stories but I always come back to the WW2 survival stories. The family from We Were the Lucky Ones is one that comes to mind right away!

Angie said...

I think Otto Frank was quite the survivor.

Tracy Wirick said...

I survived getting out of an abusive relationship. He threatened to kill me and my family if I left him. I ended up fleeing in the middle of the night. He stalked to me for a while but I was one of the lucky ones to have endured it and he finally moved on.