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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.

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Sisters At War: You ain’t seen nothing yet… the sequel is coming! by Jina Bacarr

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

@jinabacarrauthor

the surprising thing that happened to me when I was writing Sisters At War #books #booksthatmakeyoucry #womensfiction #authorlife #history #booktok #historicalbooklover @Bold Book Club 📚 Boldwood

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr Historical Author♥
Sisters At War — new release Paris WW2

When I was a little girl, I loved sitting at the feet of my grandmum coloring in my ballet books while she twisted tiny pieces of wire and blue or green beads into rosaries and spun tales about Ireland. How my English great-grandmum, a grand lady, ran away from her overbearng, stuffy father to marry her Irish rogue.

I used to pretend she became a ballet dancer like the drawings I colored in Degas pastels.

She didn’t.

But I spent hours coloring and cutting out the dancers. I discovered I had an artistic bent like my grandpop but I also loved telling stories like my grandmum. So at times in my life, I used my artistic talents to get the job done; other times, I wrote stories.

Both require intense concentration as well as precious time. (I swear there’s a watch that can stop time with its golden hands, but I haven’t found it on Amazon). And sometimes you have to make a choice.

Which brings me to my current dilemma.

I had an intense year writing SISTERS AT WAR with ‘life’ getting in the way numerous times as well as reliving diffucult past experiences to capture the emotions of the story. Then the book came out and I loved making the pretty graphics, the videos, the everything you get to do that’s artsy and fun…

But here’s the rub.

Readers are waiting for the sequel called SISTERS OF THE RESISTANCE… some want to read it now.

Oh, my, I’m still writing the sequel.

Which means I need to take a deep dive and put away my coloring book and crayons. Write, write, write. I know where the story is going, new characters to add to the tension between the Beaufort Sisters in my story, a life-altering experience for Eve and a heartbreak for Justine, but there are no shortcuts on this journey. Writing about WW2 requires maddening research as well as intense, emotional dialogue.

So, mes amis, I have pull back for a while on social media while I finish writing Sisters of the Resistance.

I’ll be here once a month, but not so much on other venues.

Alas, I’m going to close now. I’ve got research to do and a chapter to write tonight. I hope you enjoy my short video about what’s going on with Sisters At War.

See you soon.

Jina

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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When you’re on deadline and the time changes and you freak out when you lose an hour by Jina Bacarr

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

when the time changes and you don’t…

If there’s one thing we writers never have enough of…

It’s time.

Words we got… thousands.

Coffee… by the potful.

Comfy bunny slippers… on automatic re-order from Amazon.

But time?

That’s as elusive as the instant bestseller.

I’m on autopilot this week until whenever to get it all together and bring my next Paris WW2 novel home for my publisher Boldwood Books. Amazing company. They take good care of their authors… fabulous marketing team… I love my editor, Isobel… and the company has won several ‘Best Publisher’ awards in the UK and is up for more awards this year.

And my fellow authors are like family to me.

But in the end, it’s up to me to write the damn book.

Sweat, tears… blood. Yes, I changed the order because I sweat the small stuff like commas and the big stuff like research which turns into major tears when I realize writing never gets easier but tougher (you demand more of yourself)… and blood because if you don’t bleed onto the page, you’re not giving it your all.

So, mes amis, tonight is the night we turn the clocks forward and lose the hour.

But guess what. I’ve decided to do something about it.

I’m going to type twice as fast for a solid hour (accuracy is another story) and write twice as many words and–

Voilà!

I’ve got my hour back… at least for tonight.

Tomorrow?

Well, that’s another day.

===============

Some great book news:

The trade paperback of my Paris WW2 novel THE LOST GIRL OF PARIS

is coming to THE WORKS stores in the UK… so check it out if you’re in the United Kingdom.

Listen to an excerpt in the video below…

E-book:

My heroine, Angeline de Cadieux, is a Roma girl in WW2 Paris… she’s strong, fights in the Resistance… makes exquisite perfumes and comes up with an amazing marketing campaign during the war to boost morale in France.

Thank you!

UK https://amzn.to/3j7eU6S

US https://amzn.to/3aD9Jae

CA https://amzn.to/3IbaVRZ

AU https://amzn.to/3xtrF1A

————–

And THE RUNAWAY GIRL is a Kindle Monthly Deal in Australia.

Thanks for listening… and now back to our regularly scheduled craziness.

Jina

 

 

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Are you an author or a writer? and my TikTok Confession by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2023 by in category historical fiction, Holocaust, Jina’s Book Chat, Paris novels, Writing tagged as , , , , , ,
@jinabacarrauthor

WIP woes… #booktok #authorlife #writersoftiktok #amwriting #ameditingfiction #womensfiction #booktoker @bookandtonic #writer #authorsoftiktok #heartbreakingstories #amediting edit

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr Historical Author♥

No, this isn’t a trick question.

It’s the challenge we ladies of the pen all face in our social media, digital, crazy, mad, mad world…

The answer is: BOTH.

The writer is me in total chaos working on an insanely difficult book about rape in France during World War II with a deadline looming. My office is a mess, I’m a mess… the manuscript, thank God, is NOT a mess but it’s not finished yet. Weaving such a trauma against the backdrop of the Nazi Occupation is the most gut-wrenching task I’ve ever faced. It’s taken me a while to get a handle on the story of two sisters and how the rape of one of them affects them both.

That’s the writer me.

—–

Now for the author me.

That’s the me writing this post because this is my chance every month to reach out to you guys and let you know what’s going on in my world. It’s how we present ourselves to the book world and at times is as just as trying and difficult as the writer me.

Hence, my TikTok confession.

I hope you enjoy my video showing me in my office drowning in research material… oh, Lord.

——–

And now for some good stuff, if I may.

My WW2 story THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN is now FREE to read in PRIME on Amazon 

THE OPRHANS OF BERLIN

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

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