Thursday, June 20, 2024

Susan Weissbach Friedman is true to a book giveaway

Today we are pleased to welcome Susan Weissbach Friedman to CLC to talk about her debut historical fiction novel, Klara's Truth. We enjoyed chatting with her and learning about her writing process. Thanks to BookSparks, we have one copy to give away!

Susan Weissbach Friedman is a psychotherapist with a specialty in women’s issues, family therapy, and trauma-focused therapy. A graduate of Hamilton College, Boston University’s MSW/MPH program, and the Ackerman Institute for Couples and Families, she has also completed EMDR and Somatic Experiencing (SE) training in trauma therapy techniques and has been a practicing clinician for more than twenty-five years. Klara’s Truth is her first novel. 

Susan has been married to her husband for thirty years and has two daughters in their twenties. Originally from Long Island, she now lives in Westchester County, New York, where she enjoys practicing yoga and mindfulness, going for walks in nature, listening to music, and spending time near the ocean.  Visit Susan at her website and on Instagram.

When Klara Lieberman goes to Warsaw in search of answers about her long-ago-disappeared father, she ultimately discovers forgotten parts of herself as well and heals some deeply buried wounds.  

Klara is forty-nine, single, and a professor of archaeology at a small liberal arts college in Maine; a contained person living a contained life. Then she receives a letter from her estranged mother, Bessie, informing her that her father, who has been absent from her life for the last forty-three years, is dead. Has been for many years, in fact, which Bessie clearly knew. But now the Polish government is giving financial reparations for land it stole from its Jewish citizens during WWII, and Bessie wants the money. Klara has little interest in the money, but she does want answers about her father. 

In Poland, Klara connects with extended family, begins a romantic relationship, and discovers her calling: repairing the hundreds of forgotten, and mostly destroyed, pre-war Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Along the way, she becomes a more integrated, embodied, and interpersonally connected individual with the tools to make peace with her past and, for the first time in her life, build purposefully toward a bigger future. 

Klara’s Truth is an ambitious and heartfelt novel about the ways in which our adult lives are shaped by the secrets of our past. From Maine to New York to modern-day Warsaw, Susan Weissbach brings readers on a journey of self-discovery, newfound family, and acceptance.”
—Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Matchmaker’s Gift

“Susan Weissbach Friedman has written a compelling story of family and heritage and self-discovery, of family ties and friendship and second chances, and has added a side of possible romance. She also gives us another perspective on how the sharp fingernails of war reach through generations and prick the skin decades after the guns stop firing. A great read!”
—Ellen Barker, author of East of Troost and Still Needs Work

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like for you?
It was a long and winding road with lots of starts and stops along the way.
What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing Klara's Truth?
The biggest rewards would have to be completing my debut novel, and using my background as a psychotherapist to do a deep dive into the protagonist, Klara, particularly in understanding her trauma and following her as she begins to connect with others. 

My biggest challenges were figuring out how to get Klara's Truth published, and the process of editing it which are actually connected. I kept being told that my book, which was originally called Artifacts- A Novel, was two different books, and that I needed to choose which geographical location I wanted to focus on— Poland or Mexico. In the end, in order to find a publisher interested in publishing my book, I had to let go of the first hundred pages. That was really difficult, but the upside is that now I have the first part of a prequel to Klara's Truth.
If Klara's Truth were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
That's a really hard question, but if it were to somehow happen tomorrow, I would say "Jamie," (Sam Heughan), and "Claire," (Caitriona Balfe) from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander because I love their chemistry together— initially, there's a lot of tension and later there's a lot of passion, I think "Jamie" would make a great Filip, and I could see "Claire" making a really good Klara.
What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
The last book I read that I would recommend is The Lost Family by Jenna Blum. Jenna is a very gifted writer, and I'm very curious about the post-WWII period with which the book starts. I love how it spans several years so we get to follow the evolution of the main characters, and I really like that it deals with the intricacies of family dynamics. Part of my psychotherapy training was in family therapy, so how family systems work and don't work is of great interest to me.
What is your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
I love chocolate— chocolates, chocolate icing, brownies, chocolate cake. As I've gotten older my palate has become a little more expansive and less partial to only chocolate.
If we were to visit you, what are some places you would take us to see?
I'd take you to Teatown which is a wonderful nature preserve and environmental education center located near where I live. It has a beautiful lake you can walk around and stunning views.
I take my dog, Chet, there sometimes. I would also take you to the Chappaqua Library which is in my town, to Scattered Books and The Village Bookstore which are both great bookstores nearby, and to the Jacob Burns Film Center, also nearby, which shows a multitude of independent films and has its own teaching facility. In addition, I would take you to Rockefeller State Park which has great paths on which to hike. I also love taking Chet there, and he enjoys meeting up with all the other dogs.

Thanks to Susan for visiting with us and to BookSparks 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

Giveaway ends June 25th at midnight EST.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!


Jess R said...

I do not have any family members associated with the war, but have a lifelong interest in it.

traveler said...

This novel sounds unforgettable, profound and meaningful. I am Jewish and read fiction and non-fiction about World War 2. There were cousins who were in the military and served overseas.

Mary C said...

My Dad

diannekc said...

My Dad served in WWII

Robyn said...

Yes, I have had family members serve in WWII. Thank you for the giveaway.

Lisa D said...

Yes, several of my close relatives served in WWII.

Susan Roberts said...

My Dad and 4 of my uncles served in WWII

Elle said...

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII.

Mary Preston said...

My father and his father and brother all served during WWII.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

My father served in the Army during WWII-in Italy and Africa. He did witness the last eruption of Mt Vesuvius!

bn100 said...