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I finished writing the sequel to ‘Sisters At War’ called ‘Sisters of the Resistance’ and I’m exhausted by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2024 by in category historical, Jina’s Book Chat, Paris, sexual assault, sexual violence, World War 2, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,

@jinabacarrauthor

Guess what! I finished the sequel to Sisters At War called Sisters of the Resistance Pubblishes July 2nd yay! #historicalbooklover #booksthatmakeyoucry @Boldwood Books @Ulverscroft

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr Historical Author♥
‘Sisters of the Resistance’

I finished Sisters of the Resistance and I when I got edits back from my editor, her words were golden.

‘Marvelous book… absolutely fantastic…’

And notes.

Questions, queries, suggestions, all those wonderful moments a good editor finds that need just a little bit more work… or maybe more. Notes that make it sparkle and readers cry.

Writing the sequel to ‘Sisters At War’ (Paris WW2 — the story of two sisters and how sexual assault on a sister by the SS affects both their lives),

I owe my fairy godmother better known as my Boldwood Books editor a grande latte with a cherry on the top.

With her guidance and support I finished Sisters of the Resistance (sequel to Sisters At War). I’m working on her notes now.

So back to work… if my hair looks golden in the video, it’s because of the wonderful fairy dust she sprinkled on me!

LINK to more info on Sisters At War and Sisters of the Resistance

Sisters At War:

US https://a.co/d/eZ25gZb      

UK https://amzn.eu/d/0LEWy2z

Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

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‘Sisters At War’ and writing the sequel ‘Sisters of the Resistance’ can be maddening by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2024 by in category historical, Jina’s Book Chat, Paris, sexual assault, sexual violence, World War 2, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,

It’s called ‘development hell’.

That writing path that causes you to wish for a coffee pot that’s always full of hot java, when connecting the dots in your story drives you crazy, how they jump around in your mind like impish video game icons, taking you down one path then another, then golloping up our words in a big gulp and we start again.

I first came across this phrase when I was writing for TV — kids’ cartoons, daytime drama, kids’ musical show, cable. You submit an idea to the producers, they love it, then spend three hours telling you how to change it.

You rewrite it.

They love it. Then more notes.

You rewrite it…. well, you get the idea. As a king in a famous musical comedy once said, ‘Etc. Etc. Etc.’

Writing the sequel to ‘Sisters At War’ (Paris WW2 — the story of two sisters and how sexual assault on a sister by the SS affects both their lives), is maddening. If I were writing a TV drama and continuing the story from the following week, you put together a recap: ‘Previously on [name of show]’ and you show clips that give the viewer enough of the story so they can jump right in and enjoy the episode.

Try doing that in a WW2 historical novel set in Paris.

Mon Dieu…

I’ve written the opening chapters several times — the goal? Add enough backstory so the reader continuing the story enjoys revisiting ‘Sisters At War’, while the new reader gets enough information so they’re excited about reading the sequel while… here’s the kicker… you KEEP THE ACTION GOING.

You can’t stop the story in midstream with nothing happening but ‘backstory’ in the opening chapters of the sequel. For example, that’s like the heroine sitting on a raft in a river and watching the clouds roll by.

Boring. You need action.

Let’s try this:

A rainstorm with hail pelting her in the face… her baby sister in a big basket crying… then a north wind blowing and the raft nearly capsizes… causing the heroine to nearly fall into the river and a hungry alligator, jaw wide open, swims toward her… while a river bandit shoots at her with a repeating rifle. Then the raft falls apart and dumps the heroine into the river while her baby sister in the basket is about to go over the waterfall…

Oh, my.

There’s a lot going on and it could work, but only if the reader is invested in the heroine. If they care. Why is she on the raft? Is she running away from an abusive father? Is her baby sister sick with the colic? Does she have an important letter to deliver that will change their lives? Is she praying she’ll survive so she can tell the man she loves ‘yes’, she’ll marry him?

So many possibilities.

Blending together backstory and action is the challenge I faced while writing the sequel ‘Sisters of the Resistance’. Keeping my facts straight, talking about what happened when the Nazis occupied Paris, foreshadow where the story is going. And most important, up the stakes on the dynamics between the two sisters who are not only at war with the Nazis, but each other.

I’m happy to say I’ve climbed out of the hole, that the story is humming, rolling along with a lot of action and character development and scenes ‘that make you cry’.

Now to finish it… thank God there was a sale on Starbucks coffee at my market.

Thanks for listening! And I’ll be back next month with my progress…

Sisters At War:

US https://a.co/d/eZ25gZb      

UK https://amzn.eu/d/0LEWy2z

Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

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Writing ‘Sisters At War’: my personal journey by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, sexual violence, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

For a date night back in graduate school when my life took a sharp right turn, I slipped on a pair of new red high heels, never dreaming I’d break them in by jumping out of a Mercedes and running away from the man who kidnapped me. I was the victim of sexual assault. For years afterward I blamed myself. Relived the night, asking, what did I do wrong to make him take advantage of me? What should I have done… why didn’t I fight back harder? I couldn’t, the man I dated was drinking heavily and bigger and stronger than me.

Questions and more questions, but no answers.

I kept the details of that night to myself, afraid to share my experience with anyone. Afraid I’d be judged. As if it were my fault.

I left the university and went off the grid for a year. I traveled throughout the US in a job that let me get lost… never staying for more than two days to two weeks in one town. I glammed myself up in a blonde wig and fashionable clothes to forget and pushed the old me into hiding. Then something cool happened. I found purpose in my cosmetics work, bringing a smile to ladies’ faces young and old when I did makeovers for them, traveling from the Big Apple to Amarillo. It was the era when the grande dame department stores ruled the downtowns. I was a language major in college, but I also studied art and costume design and I enjoyed creating color palettes and showing ladies how to look their best.

Until the old fear reared its ugly head.

I’d freeze if I saw someone who reminded me of him.

I couldn’t get into a car without checking to make sure the doors were unlocked.

I didn’t feel safe alone with a man.

To gain confidence in myself, I took self-defense classes, but it took me years before I could talk about what happened. The strange thing is, that came about because of my writing.

I’ve written four books about Occupied Paris and Berlin during World War 2. I’ve covered the concentrations camps, the Resistance, dealing with life under the Nazis, saving Jewish children. It wasn’t until I wrote Sisters At War that I attempted to write about the sexual violence women faced from the Nazis and the Gestapo… the horror and humiliation, not to mention the physical pain and degrading of their bodies.

War crimes against women.

I was appalled and shocked by the inhumane and horrific treatment I unearthed in my research against French and Jewish women.

I was even more disheartened when I discovered that rape wasn’t prosecuted as a war crime at the Nuremberg Trials. That haunted me and set me into motion to tell the story about the two Beaufort Sisters in Paris in 1940 when one of them is raped by an SS officer and the effect it has on both sisters.

Sisters At War is the hardest book I’ve ever written, reliving my own experience through the eyes of the Beaufort Sisters… but writing the sequel Sisters of the Resistance is just as hard because I’m dealing with the aftermath of sexual violence and how it affects the rest of their lives.

I went on with my life, but the mental and emotional anguish stayed with me until I started writing about it. Then I couldn’t type fast enough. I find there’s power in sharing, a healing of the soul and mind. And most of all—     

I’m not afraid to talk about it anymore. 

Jina ‘glammed up’ in blonde wig

Sisters At War:

US https://a.co/d/eZ25gZb      

UK https://amzn.eu/d/0LEWy2z

Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

0 0 Read more

When a writer’s best-kept secrets inspire a novel… and that writer is me by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Writers have secrets.

Even when we don’t want them to, those secrets sneak into our stories. Subtle at first, a moment in your heroine’s life that mirrors something awful you lived through. You shiver. How’d that get in there? Oh-oh, it’s flashback time. I’m not going there again… am I?

You dismiss it at first, then you fixate on those moments. They fester, begging for attention. Like the scar covering an old wound, it’s always there to remind you. 

That’s what happened to me when I was working on Sisters at War.

My two worlds collided head-on—my writing world with my past.

When I look back on my life, it’s been a wild ride. I traveled a lot, lived in different places, had crazy jobs, but I kept going and never spoke about what happened to me because you just didn’t.

I was sexually assaulted.

And I was ashamed.

When I saw the same thing happening to women in the Ukraine (rape by Russian soldiers), it hit me in the gut. I asked myself, why don’t things ever change? Why must women always be victims? Would they, if women spoke up? Told their stories? Should I tell my stories?

No, I said. People will judge me. Let it be. It’s over. Done.

Me back in the day…

Then when I was researching WW2, I came across the horrible sexual violence the Nazis did to women prisoners (I decided to concentrate on the emotional wounds instead). Then I discovered something that infuriated me. At the Nuremberg Trials, they kept out rape victims’ testimony because, and I quote, they didn’t ‘want a bunch of crying women in the courtroom’.

I was livid.

That’s when it became clear to me I had to write Sisters at War no holds barred. And I did. It’s raw in places, gut-wrenching, emotional, but in the end it’s a story about love, courage, and redemption.

I told the story of women assaulted during WW2 through the eyes of two sisters. Meet the Beaufort Sisters in Occupied Paris. Eve and Justine. They were once painted by a famous artist when they were fourteen and sixteen. The painting became known as ‘The Daisy Sisters’; then in August 1940, the SS stormed their home and stole the painting.

And one of the sisters.

The story continues with how each sister copes with the aftermath of sexual violence, how it affects her part in the war, and the men in their lives who stand by them.

The early reviews have been amazing:

‘A must read for anyone’

‘Hard hitting and heart breaking’

‘An absolutely gripping, powerful story’

Then a question popped up from more than one reviewer: Will there be a sequel? Yes!

I’m writing book 2 now about the Beaufort Sisters and continuing their story through the war and afterward. I admit, I’m petrified writing the sequel, praying I can make it as exciting and inspiring as ‘Sisters at War’.

Well, there you have it. My secrets are out in the open. I recounted what happened to me in the Acknowledgements of Sisters of War so readers will know the words of my heroine, her emotions, guilt, shame, and choices come from a real place. Along with the healing that still goes on. My editor said my acknowledgements were the bravest she’d ever read. Brave? I don’t know. Emotional, truthful. A cleansing. It was time.

 I hope readers give my story a chance. I hope you give my story a chance.

Thank you for listening.

Jina

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Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

Pre-order

US https://a.co/d/eZ25gZb 

UK https://amzn.eu/d/0LEWy2z

NetGalley: http://netgal.ly/gSCTrL

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