Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Anne Blankman Interview

Today, I got to interview the lovely Anne Blankman! She wrote the Prisoner of Night and Fog series, a book taking place in the holocaust about a girl who is brainwashed by the Nazis but who also falls in love with a Jewish Reporter. (One of my favorite historical fiction novels EVER!) And her upcoming release is Traitor Angels coming out May 3rd! My review for it is up so check it out! I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it!
Traitor Angels interview:

  1. What inspired you to write Traitor Angels and what made you go back in to writing the Historical Fiction Genre Do you define yourself as a Historical Fiction author or do you think in the future you will explore other genres or writing?

First of all, thanks so much for having me, Audrey!

I identify myself as a writer. I want to write the stories that set me on fire, regardless of what genre they happen to be. Although I love writing historical fiction, I don’t want to be pigeonholed into one genre for the rest of my life.  Right now I’m working on a couple of manuscripts that are very different from my first three books, and I’m having a wonderful time.

  1. About how much research did you do to write Traitor Angels? While it is fiction, there were many true facts in the story and I could only imagine how long it would take me to research all that and write a story about it!

Oh my goodness! Where to start? By the time I’ve finished researching my books, I feel as though I’ve earned another master’s degree. J I usually research the relevant time period for about a year while simultaneously drafting another book. It can get confusing, so I take lots of notes. I think I had about three or four hundred typed pages of notes for Traitor Angels!


  1. Traitor Angels has a lot of mystery and a whole lot of puzzles! Did you ever find yourself confused as you wrote the book?

I use several tricks to keep myself from getting confused. First of all, when I research I take extensive notes, which I consult frequently when I’m drafting. I put together detailed outlines before I start writing, too. For Traitor Angels, I made a calendar of August and September, 1666 (the story’s timeframe), and I wrote down everything that happens on every single day. That really helped me when I was figuring out how long it would take the characters to get from point A to point B (they have to ride horses or walk everywhere, so I needed to know how many hours it would take for them to ride from Oxford to London, for example). I also have a replica of a 1666 map of London, so I could trace the route that Elizabeth takes through the capital.


  1. As you were writing the book, were you ever worried that the topic of religion might stop readers from reading it? I think it was a brave thing to write about, exploring the religion of Christianity in a YA book but others might not think so. Did this thought ever affect you and how did you learn to ignore it and write what you desire?

I think it’s important to respect your readers. At the same time, I think it’s important to write from an honest place and not censor yourself. So writing a mystery that revolves around seventeenth century religion was a balancing act.


  1. Which book was harder for you to write: Prisoner of Night and Fog or Traitor Angels?

Oooh, what a fun question! I have no idea. Writing each one of my books is such a different experience. Prisoner was hard because it was my first and I was writing about a girl who starts out as a brainwashed Nazi. Plus, I was raising a toddler and helping to take care of my mom, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Traitor was hard because the mystery was so complex and I was writing on deadline. Oh, and we were in the middle of moving. Major life events tend to hit whenever I’m drafting. J (I should probably add that my mom’s in remission and doing great.)

  1. If you were to write a totally different historical fiction novel from the ones that you’ve previously written, which era would you write about?

Do you have an hour to spare? That’s probably how long it would take me to answer this question. I’m a big history nerd and I’m fascinated by so many eras! I’d love to set a book in ancient Mesopotamia, but the research might do me in.

AUTHOR HABITS:

  1. On Average, how long does it take for you to write a book?
A long time! At least a year, plus another year if it’s historical and I need to do research.

  1. Dog ear or bookmark?
Bookmark.

  1. Daniel or Antonio (I know, it’s a hard one!)
Nope, can’t choose. That’s like asking a mom which one of her kids she loves the most.

  1. What is a YA book that you would recommend to everyone?
I don’t know if others would classify this as a YA book, but I think everyone should read Anne Frank’s diary.

  1. What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Read a lot, write a lot, and never give up.
Once again, thank you Anne for letting me interview you! Make sure to check out her Upcoming book Traitor Angels on May 3rd! Next Tuesday!!!

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