As we complete our series previewing authors and books that will be part of this weekend’s AJC Decatur Book Festival, we share two different interviews in Episode 5 of the Literary Atlanta Podcast. Yes, it’s a twofer! Two fantastic authors with different takes—one fictional and one biographical—on World War II.
The Orphan’s Tale is Pam Jenoff’s ninth novel. In this episode, Pam says readers may have different views on who “the orphan” is in her tale. She talks about the two true stories that she incorporated into her fictional narrative where two women find refuge under the big top of a German circus during World War II. Pam says she initially came across these stories when she was a diplomat for the U.S. State Department working in Krakow, Poland.
Pam talks about her research and writing process, including how she writes “the hard stuff.” You’ll understand why she held off writing one scene in The Orphan’s Tale until the very end, although it appears early in the book. She talks about the book she’s writing now and lists the three attributes that any good writer should have.
Journalist and teacher Paige Bowers returns to her former hometown of Decatur, Ga. as an author at this year’s Decatur Book Festival. The General’s Niece is the first English-language biography of Charles de Gaulle’s niece, confidante, and daughter figure, Geneviève, to whom the legendary French general and president dedicated his war memoirs.
Paige says that Geneviève hated the word “hero,” although she risked death to work as part of the resistance movement in occupied France in World War II. This resistance movement has inspired many bestselling works of historical fiction in recent years, including Anthony Doerr’s All the Light That We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. I ask Paige if she’s read those books and if the women’s resistance figures that she discovered might have inspired those novels.
Books Mentioned in This Episode