Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Author Interview with Julie Orringer and Giveaway!

Photo credit: Christa Parravani
Last week I posted my review of The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, a book I loved and one that I found to be an incredibly emotional read. For any of you that read Holocaust fiction, you know that reading it can put you through quite the roller coster so I was thrilled to get the chance to sit down and chat with Orringer to see what it would be like to write such an epic novel.

First, Julie, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and my readers today! I know you must be busy with The Invisible Bridge coming out in paperback today so we really appreciate it!

1. What was it like to have your first novel published?

Thrilling. And it was a great relief to have finished the book. The Invisible Bridge took seven years to write.

2. Wow seven years? Well believe me, it really shows in the epic feel of the book! What's your favorite thing about being an author?

Doing the work. Sitting down at the desk and being alone with the manuscript.

3. Yes, that does sound nice! I think the cover, if I interpreted it correctly as being an image of the Danube river which runs through Budapest, was such a great image. How much involvement did you have in its design?

Quite a bit. The photo was one I found in the course of my research. When the jacket designer asked if I had come across any images while writing the novel this one came to mind. And it turned out that the original photograph belongs to the Terror House Museum in Budapest. The Terror House is a building that was once a Nazi headquarters. And after that it belonged to the KGB. So now it stands as a museum of all of the horrors that happened in Budapest during the 20th century. Here is a link to the museum if you are interested: http://www.budapest.com/TerrorHouseBudapest.htm  Interestingly enough, I didn’t know any of that about the picture when I found it. But it did indeed turn out to be perfect for my novel in more ways than one. 

4. Wow, I will have to check out that site! So, I have to know, what made you want to tell Andras and Klara's love story?

Andras’s story was inspired by my grandfather’s experiences during and after the war. Klara is complete fiction. I knew I wanted Andras to fall in love because I knew he would have fallen in love—he was a man in his early twenties living in Paris, after all! But I was surprised that it was Klara—a former ballet dancer nine years his senior—whom he fell in love with. Part of what compelled me to write their love story was to depict what was lost in the war. That’s why I didn’t begin the novel with the war.

5. Oh I love that the story was inspired by your grandfather in some ways! As someone who was unfamiliar with Hungary's involvement and its citizens lifestyle during the war, I found that part of the story particularly fascinating. Why was that the location you chose?

My mother's side of the family is Hungarian, and I'd heard fragments of stories about the war since my early childhood. As an adult, I wanted to learn--and then to tell--the rest of those stories. I came to learn that the Hungarian Jews' situation was quite atypical, since Hungary wasn't occupied until 1944, and its regent resisted deporting the Jewish population even after the occupation.

6. Yes, somehow I had no idea that was the case! See the things I learn from reading novels?! Do you have another novel planned? If so, will it be about any of the characters we meet in The Invisible Bridge or something entirely new?

I do have another novel planned. It doesn't involve any of the characters in The Invisible Bridge, but it does take place during World War II. The novel is about Varian Fry, an American journalist who went to Marseilles to try to save a list of Jewish and anti-Nazi writers, artists, and musicians who were trying to flee occupied France.

7. That sounds great! And finally, what book(s) are you reading right now? 

I’m reading a book I love: The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by Lewis Hyde. And a wonderful novel, Percival’s Planet, by Michael Byers. It’s about the discovery of Pluto.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions! Now for the giveaway!

Giveaway Details!

5 lucky readers will win the opportunity to choose a book from a list of current bestsellers from Vintage Books and Anchor Books, divisions of Random House, Inc! They will send anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada. The list of ten hot books:

1)       The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer
2)       Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
3)       A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore
4)       The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson
5)       Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
6)       Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich
7)       One Day, by David Nicholls
8)       Where Men Win Glory, by Jon Krakauer
9)       Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
10)     Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers

The deadline for this giveaway is February 8th

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Fill out the entry form below, indicating which book interests you and a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries in the form indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST February 8th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!


  1. Great Interview! I bet it was a huge relief to get the first book published and out there!

  2. I really loved this interview! Julie is coming to Albany in Februrary, and I'm really looking forward to seeing her speak. I also hope to finish the book tonight (only 18% left on my Kindle!

  3. Great interview - I love that the story was inspired by the author's grandfather. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Terrific interview; her book is on my wishlist.

  5. wow, 7 years of hardwork. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Great interview.

  6. Great job Leah! Can't wait to read the book!

  7. great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

    i love reading books during that time period, but i always get so emotional when i do. this sounds like a great book to read and i'm going to add it to my wishlist, but i'll have to wait and find a time when i'm in the mood for it.

  8. Looking forward to reading this book!


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