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Karen Robards | 20 Questions: THE GIRL FROM GUERNICA 


The Girl from Guernica
Karen Robards

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September 2022
On Sale: September 6, 2022
464 pages
ISBN: 0778309967
EAN: 9781488056529
Kindle: B09PGG8MK7
Hardcover / e-Book
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Also by Karen Robards:
The Girl from Guernica, September 2022
The Black Swan of Paris, July 2020
The Fifth Doctrine, December 2019
The Moscow Deception, September 2019

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1--What is the title of your latest release?

THE GIRL FROM GUERNICA

 

2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

On an April day in 1937, the sky opens and fire rains down upon the small Spanish town of Guernica. Seventeen-year-old Sibi and her family are caught up in the horror. Griff, an American military attache, pulls Sibi from the wreckage, and they form a bond over shared tragedies. When Germany claims no involvement in the attack, insisting the Spanish Republic was responsible, Sibi is forced to lie to Nazi officials. If she or her sisters reveal that they saw planes bearing swastikas, the gestapo will silence them—by any means necessary.

 

As war begins to rage across Europe, Sibi finds herself in Berlin and joins the underground resistance, secretly exchanging information with Griff. But as the scope of Germany’s ambitions becomes clear, maintaining the facade of a Nazi sympathizer becomes ever more difficult. And as Sibi is drawn deeper into a web of secrets, she must find a way to outwit an enemy that threatens to decimate her family once and for all.

 

3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

The Nazis’ unprovoked blitzkreig bombing of the sleepy little Spanish town of Guernica was the Ukraine invasion of its time. The innocence of the townspeople, the horror that was done to them - I wanted to tell that story.

 

4--Would you hang out with Sibi, your protagonist, in real life?

Oh, yes. I loved Sibi and her sisters. Their relationship, their love for each other, is the heart and soul of the book.

 

5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Sibi is smart, brave, and loyal.

 

6--What’s something you learned while writing The Girl from Guernica?

Beyond having seen Picasso’s famous painting Guernica, which inspired the book, I had very little knowledge of the Spanish Civil War. THE GIRL FROM GUERNICA starts in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, in 1937, when the Nazis, who supported the Nationalists under Generalissimo Francisco Franco, decided to test the effectiveness of their newest aerial combat techniques by raining total destruction down on an unsuspecting small Basque town. I learned all about the Spanish Civil War, about the real live people who took part in it (Ernest Hemingway, for one, whose novel FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS is the quintessential Spanish Civil War book), and about the part it played in bolstering Nazi aggression at the start of WW2. It was fascinating.

7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I edit as I draft, then edit again when I’m done.

 

8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

Lobster Mac and cheese. Yum!

 

9--Describe your writing space/office!

It’s on the second floor, with a big window overlooking the garden, my desk that I’ve had all my writing life, a comfy (old) desk chair, loads of family photos on the walls and books everywhere. There’s also a couch and recliner, usually a couple of cats, quite frequently a son or two or another visitor. But I write a lot on the go, and have used everything from planes, trains and automobiles to a beach chair to a bathtub (empty - it was the only quiet spot in a hotel room packed with family) as an office.

 

10--Who is an author you admire?

There are so many! If I started naming my contemporaries, I’m afraid I’d have a list ten pages long and I’d end up leaving someone out. Emily Brontë and Madeleine L’Engle are the authors of two of my forever-favorite books, WUTHERING HEIGHTS and A WRINKLE IN TIME, so I’m going to go with them.

 

11--Is there a book that changed your life?

Yes, absolutely there is. ISLAND FLAME, the first book I ever wrote, published in 1981. It changed the course of my life, and I’ve never looked back.

 

12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your first book was going to be published)? 

I didn’t get “the call.” I got “the letter.” (This was many years ago - I sold my first book at age 24.) I’d sent my complete manuscript into a publisher who’d requested it from a “partial” (sample chapters and an outline) and I was nervously checking the mailbox in the hallway ten times a day as I waited for a response. About six weeks in, there it was: THE LETTER. In a standard business envelope, on a single sheet of letterhead paper, were the words I’d dreamed of reading: “We love the manuscript, and we’d like to publish your book.” I was so excited I started jumping up and down and screaming. We ( my new husband and I) lived in an apartment on the bottom floor of a four-plex in Columbus, Ohio, and I screamed so loudly that all the other residents came rushing out into the hallway to see who was being murdered. I couldn’t even tell them what had happened: I was too overcome with emotion to talk. Instead, I waved the letter at them and ran out the door, then ran (literally ran, and I’m not a jogger, so you know I was excited) all the way to the building where my husband worked, which was about two miles away. It was a secure building (Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus) and I couldn’t get in, but he worked on the ground floor in the back so I ran around the building and tapped on his window. We shared the happy news through the open window, both of us so, so excited, and then finally he had to go back to work, and I had to go home, and anyway it started to rain. I asked him for the keys to our car (we only had one) but it turned out he didn’t have them. I did because the car was parked outside our apartment because I had it for the day. I’d been so excited I’d forgotten. Anyway, I got to walk all the way home in the pouring rain, sheltering my precious letter under my clothes. I got soaked, but it was still one of the happiest days of my life. (That book was ISLAND FLAME, by the way, and it’s still available after all these years.)

 

13--What’s your favorite genre to read? 

I read everything.

 

14--What’s your favorite movie?

Oh, gosh. Probably THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

 

15--What is your favorite season?

Fall.

 

16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday? 

With family and cake. Lots of cake.

 

17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I’m a big fan of JUSTIFIED. FRASIER is my favorite sitcom of all time. OUTLANDER (the books and the TV show) is a fantastic series. And I just saw BULLET TRAIN and really enjoyed it.

 

18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Italian.

 

19--What do you do when you have free time?

Read.

 

20--What can readers expect from you next?

I’m loving historical fiction right now, and I have a couple more in the pipeline. After that, we’ll see.

THE GIRL FROM GUERNICA by Karen Robards

The Girl from Guernica

On an April day in 1937, the sky opens and fire rains down upon the small Spanish town of Guernica. Seventeen-year-old Sibi and her family are caught up in the horror. Griff, an American military attaché, pulls Sibi from the wreckage, and it’s only the first time he saves her life in a span of hours. When Germany claims no involvement in the attack, insisting the Spanish Republic was responsible, Griff guides Sibi to lie to Nazi officials. If she or her sisters reveal that they saw planes bearing swastikas, the gestapo will silence them—by any means necessary.

As war begins to rage across Europe, Sibi joins the underground resistance, secretly exchanging information with Griff. But as the scope of Germany’s ambitions becomes clear, maintaining the facade of a Nazi sympathizer becomes ever more difficult. And as Sibi is drawn deeper into a web of secrets, she must find a way to outwit an enemy that threatens to decimate her family once and for all.

Masterfully rendered and vividly capturing one of the most notorious episodes in history, The Girl from Guernica is an unforgettable testament to the bonds of family and the courage of women in wartime.

 

Mystery | Historical [MIRA, On Sale: September 6, 2022, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781488056529 / eISBN: 9781488056529]

Buy THE GIRL FROM GUERNICA: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Book Depository | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Karen Robards

Karen Robards

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty books and one novella. Karen published her first novel at age 24 and has won multiple awards throughout her career, including six Silver Pens for favorite author.

Karen was described by The Daily Mail as one of the most reliable thriller....writers in the world.

Charlotte Stone | The Guardians Trilogy | The Guardian Series

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

 

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