– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Restitution’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Janet Lee Berg is a native New Yorker with a residence in Charleston, SC. She is also author of several other works of fiction and children’s books and has had her work featured in the local, regional, and national press. A journalist in the Hamptons, Janet Lee Berg has interviewed numerous celebrities and pursued an MFA in Creative Writing, under the direction of published professors including Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes.
Book Title: Restitution
Series: Sequel to “Rembrandt’s Shadow”
Author: Janet Lee Berg
Publication Date: 30th September 2020
Page Length: 262 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sylvie Rosenberg was once the aristocratic daughter of a prominent Dutch art dealer, until the Nazi invasion of Holland changed everything. Forced to part with his astonishing collection of masterpieces, her father managed to trade a Rembrandt for the lives of twenty-five family members, including Sylvie.
Many years later, in America, Sylvie is on a path of self-destruction, still equating love with all the “things” that were taken away from her. Pocketing small items at first, eventually her hopelessness leads to a monumental betrayal, dismantling the lives of her son, Michael, a writer and Vietnam vet still struggling with the consequences of war, and his schoolteacher wife, Angela, as they struggle to fill their own void after failed attempts to conceive a child.
Desperate to win back their love, Sylvie returns to her homeland to face old ghosts and the Dutch judicial system, seeking restitution of her family’s masterpieces. But the battle proves far more difficult than she imagined …
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was painfully shy as a child and I needed to express myself, so I would make up stories where I was this adventurous character.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I liked Nancy Drew, but being an animal lover, the books that most influenced me as a young child were Old Yeller and Black Beauty. As a young teen, I was mesmerized by The Diary of Anne Frank. As an adult, I love reading WWII Historical Fiction, which I think is the most romantic era of all time.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Aside from ALL the Holocaust-related authors I have followed, I would love to pick the brain of Jodi Picoult. I find it fascinating that one person can produce so many good books in a lifetime!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would need to have tea with Sylvie (the main character), although I already had a fictional cup of tea with her in my first novel. She is designed after my mother-in-law, who escaped the Holocaust, but being she came from the silent generation, I could never get her to open up about her dark past and secrets.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to write in the quiet of morning, mostly on a yellow legal pad. I wrote most of my first book cocooned in the car at my two favorite spots: sitting at a dock, overlooking the bay, with the sun shining in on me to keep me warm during the cold winter months in New York. And believe it or not, next to a horse farm, as I love looking at horses and feeling their spirituality.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I think my characters are a combination of a few people. I like to show their flaws, along with their tenderness. I also like to show they have a sense of humor. And yes, some people should worry, as I tend to kill off a few of them!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I dupe myself into thinking I am a plotter, although in my own real life, I am pretty impromptu. I did plan out a beginning and an end, but very loosely, and that changed over the period of writing. I actually laid out index cards on the floor with the main thoughts of the story, and then I would rearrange their order. The middle part was the most challenging part.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
If you absolutely love writing, then write your heart out. But, just know the rejections come fast and furious. It is only the lucky 2% that get picked up by one of the Top five or six BIG publishers. Mostly, they go for famous people or scandals. They hire young interns who go through a tall slush pile, and may never read more than your first paragraph, after you worked on the book for years. For example, some may not know much about the Holocaust or even care.
It is a painful process, but if you are driven, you will find your way, and hopefully, your book baby will be placed in the right hands. The start of every chapter should hook the reader!
After you write, you need to rewrite and rewrite until you know it is ready. Then, it is important to read it aloud on a tape recorder and listen to how it sounds. You will be surprised how much you learn that way!
What are your future plans as an author?
I doubt I will ever write another adult book, as it took a lot out of me! But, I am in the middle of co-authoring a children’s picture book right now and we are working with an illustrator.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Restitution, page 49
“On October 20, 1942, we were escorted to the train depot … to the unknown. We waited on the cement platform for three and a half hours. It was windy and cold. My brother and sisters wore dead faces. My mother nearly passed out, and a stranger helped her to her feet. Then, there was that final moment of truth—the big trade.”
Sylvie went off again into her own world. A Rembrandt passing hands, unbeknownst to the late, great artist, himself – Rembrandt van Rijn—who saved innocent lives with the stroke of a brush.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Janet Lee Berg.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!