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Author Jina Bacarr–Romance Makes the World Go Around!!

November 17, 2022 by in category Writing tagged as ,

I started out working as a reporter writing articles for a travel magazine based in Beverly Hills and then as a columnist for a computer magazine where I wrote about technology ‘Sweet Savage Byte’, as well as writing for academia, radio commercials and PR copy for a local AM/FM station. I’ve also had three plays produced in Malibu and I worked for a time writing scripts for children’s and daytime TV before publishing nonfiction books about Japan, and then later fiction.

Jann: You have an amazing writing career. How did it get started?

Jina: I’ve always written, having grown up with my Irish grandma who inspired me to write – a fine woman who was never without a story on her lips or a rosary in her hands… blue or white or green beads fastened together by her nimble fingers into a holy circle. I’d sit at her feet, holding my crayons in my left hand and coloring in my ballerina book or playing with my paper dolls, all the while making up stories of my own.

My first writing job was an article about the uniqueness of European bathrooms called ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Loo’. After college, I was torn between working part time as an illustrator for Frederick’s of Hollywood or working as a reporter for a travel magazine. I needed to pay the rent, so I wrote articles under different names and never looked back.

Jann: Why romance, time travel and World War 2?

Jina: Romance makes the world go round no matter what century you’re in… time travel because I spent a lot of my childhood in museums. The voices of the past speak to me through stiff ivory-colored crinolines and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new. World War 2 because I love the clothes, the sophistication, the Victory Red lipstick… the drama and power of the women who helped win the war. They were feminine and daring and strong… and fell in love with brave pilots. Who doesn’t love a guy in a sheepskin leather jacket and aviator sunglasses?

Jann: Historical romance readers look for accuracy from the author. What are your favorite sources for research and how much time did you spend on research. Do you research before, while you write a first draft or after?

Jina: Re: doing research, I love the joy of finding old books or films produced during the time I’m writing about; e.g., there is an enormous amount of material from the 1930s and 1940s, both first person accounts published during the war as well as films. Newsreels, but also home movies shot by participants on both sides. I have a wonderful ‘coffee table’ book that’s filled with scenes of Paris during the Occupation, as well as detailed timelines both in print and on the Internet that help me in setting up scenes so I can drop my characters into the historical moment, then turn them loose and see what they do. They always surprise me!

I research during all phases of the writing process… from creating the characters to researching the weather on a certain day to the phases of the moon (I have RAF landings in France that depend on moonlight). I never hesitate to check a date or place at any time, right through the proofreading.

Jann: Your new historical, The Orphans of Berlin, is described as Heartbreaking and based on a true story. How did you find the story this book is based on?

Jina: It’s based on the Kindertransport, the children’s transport. It’s well documented in films and books… I was fascinated by a documentary featuring an American couple who orchestrated a Kindertransport at a time when the US limited immigration, making it impossible for German Jews escaping death at the hands of the Nazis to come to America. I discovered that Jewish children from Germany and Austria and other European countries were sent to England and also to France by their desperate parents. Since I write about Occupied France, the story took off from here.

I also write about a personal journey in The Orphans of Berlin related to my American heroine (all is revealed in the acknowledgements).

Jann: What major conflicts do your leading characters in The Orphans of Berlin, Kate Alexander and the Landau sisters, have to work through?

Jina: Kay Alexander is a debutante albeit a reluctant one. It’s a life chosen for her by her society mother, but Kay is determined to be her own person in spite of her mother’s domineering ways. Kay has to work through the delicate balance of finding her independence, yet never giving up hope her mother will see her as an individual. She loves her mom and is proud of her heritage, and wants to use her fortune to help others.

Rachel is twelve when we meet her, a time in the Jewish religion when a girl becomes an adult. We follow Rachel through the trials and tribulations every girl faces growing up: her maturing body, feelings for boys, seeking independence from her parents whom she adores, and yearning to be her own person. What makes all this so difficult is that Rachel faces the trials of impending womanhood in a time when the Nazis set about destroying her world of tradition and ancient culture… and also taking on the duty to keep her younger sisters safe in a dangerous time.

Jann: I understand there is a handsome British pilot. What can you tell us about this character? 

Jina: Max Hamilton-Jones is a daring pilot from a tough, English upbringing in Blackpool in Northern England. He grew up around airplanes and joined an air circus when he was a teenager. He has a fierce sense of protecting the innocent and uses his flying skills to fight in Spain before WW2… he’s an avant-garde artist who captures human foibles with his amazing sketches featuring slices of life. He loves beautiful woman and sees into the soul of his models with his pen… he’s sexy, witty, and protective of Kay and Rachel and her two sisters. I love that.

Jann: Are you working on something now that you can share with us?

Jina: I’m writing my fourth book about the Holocaust in Occupied France… this time I’m tackling the subject of rape during the war: how many cases were never reported and the stories of these Frenchwomen lay buried in the shadows.

I want to shine a light on one such story…

Jann: You’re a multi-published author, is there a character in one of your books whose personality most matches yours? If so, which book and character and why?

 

Jina: Aye, it’s Ava O’Reilly, my Irish heroine from Queenstown in The Runaway Girl, my story about the Titanic. Ava pokes her nose where she shouldn’t, is outspoken with her opinions, and is filled with colorful, witty phrases. Of course, Ava speaks her mind; me, I write it down in stories, but there’s a lot of Ava in me.

 

 

Jann: Where can we get your books? 

 

Jina: Readers can find my books published by Boldwood Books at Amazon US, UK, CA, AU, and international Amazon sites, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and in the UK, in brick and mortar stores, The Works and Waterstones.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jina.bacarr/

Twitter https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr

Blog https://jinabacarr.wordpress.com/

TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@jinabacarrauthor

The Orphans of Berlin

US https://amzn.to/3TMKZlf

UK https://amzn.to/3Qjp5mB

Jann: What’s your all-time favorite book? 

Jina: Time and Again by Jack Finney

I love exploring the science behind traveling through time, the whys and what ifs. Mr Finney made me believe in time travel. I love his wit, his passion for the lady he loves in his time travel novel, his historical accuracy and gripping detail that put you there.

A true gentleman and a scholar for any time.

[I wrote two novels about time travel: Her Lost Love – WW2 on the home front where a lonely woman goes home on a magic Christmas train to save her fiancé who died in the war; and Love Me Forever – a female re-enactor goes back to the Civil War dressed as a soldier and meets her double, a Confederate spy.]

Jina, its been great to have a peak into your writing world. You write amazing stories. Good luck on The Orphans of Berlin. Have a wonderful holiday season.

 

Some of Jina’s Books

(Click the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy buttons.)

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

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A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

COME FLY WITH ME

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COME FLY WITH ME

HER LOST LOVE

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HER LOST LOVE

LOVE ME FOREVER

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LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

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RESISTANCE GIRL

THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS

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THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS

THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN

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THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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THE RUNAWAY GIRL
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The Orphans of Berlin pubs today by Jina Bacarr

November 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , ,

Yes, it’s here! Pub day for The Orphans of Berlin.

I’ve been holding my breath for this moment… a long road… years in the making in a very personal way that made me cry as I write this.

Meet the Landau Sisters barely surviving in Nazi Germany… and Kay Alexander, the amazing debutante from Philadelphia who will stop at nothing to save them from the Nazis in 1939 Berlin…

And of course, there’s a British pilot hero to die for…

US https://amzn.to/3TMKZlf

UK https://amzn.to/3Qjp5mB

PS — in case you’re wondering about the items in the photo — cigarette case engraved with a map of the UK is a vintage piece like the one the hero gives to Kay, my heroine (I use it to keep stamps), and the cigarette holder is a prop I had from a play I did…

The string of pearls I’ve had since I was 16; chocolate pieces because Kay is a candy heiress and a Philadelphia deb — she was Debutante of the Year 1934. The photo is similar to what you’d see on the society pages in the 1930s announcing Kay’s ‘coming out’.

Any questions about The Orphans of Berlin? Be happy to answer them, so fire away!

Before I go, I want to thank our own Slice of Orange author Veronica Jorge for her 5 star review of The Orphans of Berlin. She’ll post it here on A Slice of Orange on November 22nd… so check back!

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What Are Your Top 2 Questions by Kitty Bucholtz

November 9, 2022 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I’m so excited! After 2 1/2 years of working on it, I’m almost ready to launch my new Finish Your Book program — yay!! You may know that I’m a big believer in the idea that we can write books that change the world, whether it’s making a reader’s day better or changing how people think. So I want to help all the writers I can to write and finish more books. AND to do so with more peace and joy.

Before I launch Finish Your Book on December 1, I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything important. Can you do me a favor and answer a 2-question survey? I’d really appreciate it! And you’d be helping other writers, too!

Here’s the link to the Google Form.

Look for me on Facebook Live and YouTube Live over the next three weeks where I’ll be talking about my WHOLE PATH System to writing, finishing, and getting your books out into the world. I’ll also be teaching a free Master Class at the end of November explaining the WHOLE PATH System. It’s going to be a great new year for all of us! Here’s to writing and publishing more books!

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‘The Orphans of Berlin’ is now on NetGalley by Jina Bacarr

October 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

It’s always exciting when a new story you’ve labored over for months… and months finally makes its debut… like a Broadway show opening out of town.

Philadelphia has had its share of out-of-town openings, so it’s only fitting THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN with my Philly debutante heroine had its opening this weekend on NetGalley.

To celebrate, I pulled out memorabilia from Berlin… my red cloche hat and red leather driving gloves… Berlin postcards.

And three of my favorite dolls that I carried around in a special pink trunk when I was a kid every time we moved.

My childhood ‘posse’.

Doll friends I could hang with since I was always the new kid in school (I went to 15). I’d eventually make friends, but these 3 ‘sisters’ were always there for me as they are today when I introduce you to the three Landau Sisters during WW2, Jewish girls in danger when the Nazis come to power…

Rachel, Leah, and Tovah.

Through a twist of fate, their fate is changed forever by Kay Alexander, a candy heiress with a dark secret that haunts her. Kay has no idea what’s in store for her when she visits Berlin in 1937… once she meets the Landau family, she’ll do anything to help them survive.

I spent part of a summer in Berlin years ago, visiting the city’s museums and shopping on the Ku’Damm, but the most memorable part was visiting East Berlin before the wall came down. I remember what the hotel clerk told me when I asked him for directions to Checkpoint Charlie. ‘They’ve forgotten how to smile,’ he said. I didn’t understand then what he meant until I was lost in that world of gray between East and West like a lost shadow.

During WW2, the Landau Sisters also forget how to smile as their freedoms are slowly taken from them because they are Jewish. In The Orphans of Berlin, you’ll meet Rachel and watch her grow up during the 1930s until the day her parents make the hardest decision a family should never have to make.

To send her and her sisters away… so they may live.

But how? Will they survive? Where will they go? Find out in THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN.

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If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like to request an ARC here’s the NetGalley info:

THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN

UK http://netgal.ly/JraDUM

US https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/270880

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PRE-ORDER NOW:

UK https://amzn.to/3Qjp5mB

US https://amzn.to/3TMKZlf

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How to Plan a Writers Retreat by Kitty Bucholtz

October 9, 2022 by in category Writing

Yesterday, I was so happy to host another in-person and Zoom writers retreat at my home. I’ve been to lots and hosted several over the last few decades, and I just love all the creative energy driving people to get more done faster in a fairly stress-free environment.

In case you want to host one but don’t know where to start, this is what I did.

  • Look over my home and guesstimate how many people could comfortably work on laptops for a day, and how many people could comfortably eat together
  • Make a list of local friends who might be interested and decide if I wanted to open it up to non-locals via Zoom (or any of the other video services)
  • Contact friends individually and add the interested ones to a group chat (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.)
  • After double-checking my calendar, offer three dates to the group and ask which ones work, choose the one that works best
  • Decide if I wanted to prepare the food myself, or if we’d do a potluck; make sure everyone posted allergies, then create a menu; decide if I wanted to take on the cost or distribute it evenly
  • Send reminder messages a few weeks before and create a schedule so everyone knows what to expect and we don’t accidentally talk most of the day
  • Send final reminders in the few days before with a list of things to bring: laptop, cords, chargers, extension cords (if I don’t have enough), food/snacks/drinks if applicable, sticky notes, pens, etc.
  • Do a little housecleaning the day before, and set the coffee on about ten minutes before the arrivals
  • Have some encouraging words ready, remind people of the schedule and where to find drinks and snacks, open Zoom if applicable, and start on time
  • Ask everyone what they accomplished at the end of the retreat and celebrate everyone’s successes!

For me, the key to success was to make sure I created an atmosphere where I, too, would get a lot of writing done. That meant that I picked my writing friends carefully and didn’t have too big a group. (We found that 4-6 additional people besides me and John fit comfortably in our apartment.) After we did this successfully once, THEN I asked if they wanted to do it again.

When first asking the group about a date, I found it was better to limit the date choices to a few I knew would work for me rather than to look at the entire calendar and ask everyone to pick one date that they could all commit to. (I made that mistake first!)

I also made sure that my husband John and I only committed to the amount of hospitality we wanted to provide. In our case, John loves to cook and he chose to make both breakfast and lunch! But he chose meals that were easy for him to prepare and easy to clean up after. (If you’re wondering, yesterday we had peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and his amazing grilled cheese with sweet potato soup for lunch!) For the first two retreats, yesterday and this past July, we decided to buy all the groceries and prepare all the food and ask everyone to chip in a set amount that was approximately equal to what we’d spent. Next time, we’ll do a potluck because now all my different friends know each other and everyone wants to contribute and work together.

We have a “great room” rather than separate areas for kitchen, dining room, and living room, so everyone was able to spread out over that whole area, and I connected my laptop to the TV so everyone could see our Zoom friends and they could see us. John and I worked in our offices, giving the others more room and allowing us to work in a setup we already enjoyed. Both times we started about ten minutes late because we were all happily talking over pancakes for an hour. Haha! But some friendly nudges every time it was time to start again got everyone back to their computers and we completed all the sprints close to the times on the schedule. (I set an alarm on my phone for each sprint.)

My schedule, in case it’s helpful as you’re planning your day, was:
9-10am Breakfast
10-10:30 Sprint 1, shorter to give people time to get back in the writing mindset
15-minute breaks between them to stretch, etc. and to share accomplishments
10:45-11:30 Sprint 2
11:45-12:30 Sprint 3
12:45-1:45 Lunch
1:45-2:45 Brainstorming, plotstorming, etc. (we used part of this time to do a “How to Create a TikTok Video”, and everyone who wanted to created an account and followed each other)
2:45-3:30 Sprint 4
3:45-4:30 Sprint 5
4:45-5:30 Sprint 6, getting tired, asked people if they want to do one more or stop, they always continue
5:45-6:30 Sprint 7 — Done!
6:30 – Ask each person what they accomplished for the day, CELEBRATE! Then some people have to leave, ask others if they want to order pizza, collapse on the couch and decompress, eventually everyone leaves, YOU finally collapse and tell yourself you’ll clean up the kitchen tomorrow 🙂

My little group works so well together that we decided to do this quarterly, so our next one will be in January. For friends outside my time zone who want to sprint via Zoom, I tell them the time and they decide when they want to arrive and leave. One person was going to write from when she woke up until we finished, about noon her time. Another is a night owl, so she wrote with us the entire time — 3am until almost noon her time! A few of us will probably get together at my place a couple Saturdays in November now that we know this will work — but for that we’ll get pizza or sandwiches or takeout so no one is cooking and we can write even more.

I hope this was helpful as you consider what you could do to create a writers retreat. Remember that one of the main points is that YOU also get a lot of writing done! Enjoy!

Writers retreat over breakfast
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