Today we are chatting with Jennifer Gold, author of
Names In A Jar!
Read on for more about Jennifer, her book, and giveaway!
Meet Jennifer Gold!
Jennifer Gold [secondstorypress.ca] is an award-winning author of several books for young adults, including Soldier Doll and On the Spectrum. A lawyer and mom of two kids and two cats, she lives with her family in Toronto.
Meet Names In A Jar!
Twelve-year-old Anna Krawitz is imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto with her older sister, Lina, and their father. Happy days spent reading about anatomy and science in Papa’s bookshop are long gone, and the knowledge they have is used to help their neighbors through the illnesses caused by starvation and war.
With no hope in sight and supplies dwindling, Anna finds herself taking care of an orphaned baby. With a courage she didn’t know she had, Anna and the baby leave behind all they know and go into hiding with a Catholic family, changing their names to hide their identity, but Lina is not so lucky and winds up in the infamous Treblinka Camp. Can Lina survive and find her way back to Anna? Will the two sisters even recognize each other after such a long time?
A story filled with hope, courage and reconciliation.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was speaking with a Polish friend who mentioned Irena Sendler. I had only vaguely heard of her, so I did some reading and discovered how she had saved so many Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw ghetto. I loved how she had hidden their real names in jars and buried them in her garden. It seemed such ripe material for a novel.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Lina. She’s afraid and not naturally tough but steps up when she needs to.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I think it was almost simultaneous! Once I’d decided to write about this particular topic and the idea of hidden names in jars, the title choice seemed a natural one.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
Loads of Dentyne fire gum.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That the writing is just as important as the ‘idea.’ I used to think you had to have this great idea to start writing, but the ‘hard work’ part is just as crucial as the grand inspiration.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
That the flowers and berries have significance in the story. They aren’t just there to be pretty.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
I’m researching for a new novel on HIV/AIDS in the 1980s so I’ve got a pile of AIDS related materials like How to Survive a Plague and AIDS and its Metaphors.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
The Stand by Stephen King. I’d been meaning to read it for years and I finally did. I didn’t want it to end.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Good question, because there were many difficult scenes in this book, given its subject matter. I think it would have to be when Piotr realizes what really happened to Anna, because there’s so much anguish there. Not only is Anna in terrible physical and emotional pain, but she’s dealing with this shame piece that she really shouldn’t have to deal with, and Piotr is of course overcome with guilt and rage, and the outcome is heartbreaking.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In a way both Lina and Anna gave me trouble, as it was tough to ensure their voices were different. Since the narrative alternates between them, it was important that they each sounded like distinct individuals. At the same time, though, they are sisters, so there should be traces of similarity. I had to do a lot of editing to ensure their voices were unique.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting, definitely. I’m a person who loves new ideas and the adventure of jumping into a new text. Revising is obviously incredibly important, but it’s also much less fun.
Names In A Jar
Author: Jennifer Gold
Publisher: Secondary Story Press
Publish Date: September 14th, 2021
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*