tv Author Discussion on Women in World War II CSPAN August 30, 2021 3:59pm-5:14pm EDT
student cam video competition to be part of the national conversation by creating documentaries and answers the question how does the federal government impact your life, and five - six minute video will inform policy and programs. cspan student cam competition has $100,000 in total cash prizes and you have a shot in the grand prize of $5000. entries will begin to be received wednesday, september 8 and 4 competition rules, tips and more information on how to get started, visit our website at student cam . org. >> hello everyone and welcome to the 2021 virtual gaithersburg it book festival. i am printed member of m the ciy council and your host for this presentation. and before we get started i would like to ask you to support this presentations authors by purchasing the bronx from our
bookseller partner politics and prose, one of america's premier independent bookstores. and you find purchase links in the presentation. give it all if we been through, it is so important to support local jobs, the local economy. ... ... today's literary presentation features to historical novels by two, which women themselves on the line. the invisibleynd woman is equipg historical novel based on the remarkable true story of world war ii heroin virginia hall and have the depths of the war she would defy the odds to help liberate a nation. erica is a national best-selling
author hemingway's girl, call me zelda, fallen beauty, house of hawthorne and receive me probably. the conservator to the grand central post for stories of love and union and the writers digest as a collection, author in progress. in 2014, erica was named analysis author of the year. the women modify stephanie dray is a sweeping novel about the and hope, love and courage and the strength we take from those who came before us. in a bus, based on the true story of extraordinary hassle and the remarkable women found by its legacy. stephanie dray is a new york times "wall street journal" and usa today best-selling author of historical women's fiction.
her work has been translated into eight languages topless for that much-anticipated reads of the year. before becoming an award-winning novelist, stephanie was a lawyer and teacher. moderating today's discussion between these two fantastic authors karen. karen is the author of novels including a woman of intelligence, 100 sons and gilded gears seem to be a major motion picture. former political reporter, karen has written for the washington post, miami herald, chicago tribune and newsday. she's appeared as a celebrity and politics expert on entertainment tonight, cnn and the cbs early show. welcome, erica, stephanie and karen. >> hi, thank you so much. i'm excited to be here today
talking to stephanie at erica about their books. they are masterpieces, somewhat long amazing masterpieces. i'd love to start by talking about the spark that created these books because i'm interested inn how people discover these characters in history especially these women who history has sort of forgotten and how they decide to write books about them and have the bravery to go down that research whole tempering these women to life again. stephanie, i'm guessing this is a bit of a hamilton connection situation x. >> people -- my work may know i have written america's first daughter along with my dear friend and co-author as well as
my -- these are about founding mothers so i was eager to tell the story of adrian lafayette, our french founding mother and that was the genesis of that story. but notice the book is called the women's health lafayette because along the way, i discovered a memoir by this delightful author who's a child who was hidden during the holocaust saved from the nazis. her memoir is saved by the spirit of lafayette may got to wondering, is the spirit of lafayette? how was it carried forward? that's when i discovered it was women's generation after generation who carried on the spirit of lafayette and his amazing wife, adrian in history's darkest hour and i wanted to bring that story to
its fullness and tell the tale of this extraordinary capitol in the deepest part that served as a beacon of hope in history darkest hours. >> while, that's incredible. i am already intimidated by having to go down the research while i'm sure you did but we will get to that next. erica, tell me how you discovered this story, you bring about women in literature from my favorite books, famous writers from how did you move away the litter world and discover this? >> writing community steer me a little, i was going down with another famous writer, which i think is great to go because i
like to elevate their stories that happen hidden, i was writing about his wife and she said, could you just write about a woman whose phenomenal in her own right not just because submissive or whatever? i thought that was really great feedback. i'm not sure, but i came across this article about virginia hall and by the time i was finished reading from i couldn't believe i'd never hurt this woman who did the things she did under the circumstances she did and i became completely obsessed with her. >> she's from baltimore, right? >> yes and knowing she's grown up, her family has not of the places i've gone and the hunting and fishing and chesapeake bay is such part w of my upbringing. all the things they have in common and because she was
courageous and brave and r hates being hungry or cold or tired. >> you did not shoot yourself in a leg in the hunting accident. >> not yet. [laughter] >> i'mow sure you are all the se things he said you're not but let's talk about research. when i was reading this book, i thought these books are great and so glad i didn't have to write them. [laughter] intimidating. i think i'm going to write about this and then you discovered this and i have to put this led up to talk about research methods and how you get yourself to stop researching. i feel the problem, you could just do it forever and you will never have a book how do you start and how to stop? >> 's i start because i get upset with historical characters and historical fiction authors
the tendency and by the way, have it over there and it butterscotch from my research assistant. so i start with why wanted to write about and their time and i'm always interested in the rise and fall of republic so all of my work gels are around close subjects and in this case, i started withth adrian in the 18th century, she's french noble woman who got involved in the french revolution with her husband, lafayette and would go on to leave an indictment legacy but of course as i mentioned, i discovered the story of the lafayette legacy is broader and keeps coming up generation after generation including our own and i wanted to show that.
i needed to know which women were involved in this amazing story and the next woman i approach was beatrice, a woman who in world war i, purchased lafayette -- renovated and repurchased it as a refuge for children. she was my research robert hall. if you want to talk about not knowing f what to stop researching, this is one of the few books i apparently stopped too early. i thought i knew the story of beatrice, i thought she was a well-heeled society name who got involved with philanthropy during world war i and whose troubled marriage somehow survived the war and that is the story i k wrote but then i madea stop to the new york historical society tie up a few loose ends
and look at her public papers because i had already reviewed her private papers thanks to her amazing grandson withoutte me to see the private letters and at the new york historical society, iab struggled stumbled over a packet of love letters and they were not from beatrice was husband, they were from a soldier, a french officer and i realized i had uncovered a century-old secret love affair, something to tell the family. [laughter] so i thought okay, now i know what the story is. a story about a difficult war torn love affair, we all know the story so i wrote that story shortly before book was supposed to be turned in, i got up phone call from beatrice's grandson telling me he, through the
research i sent him from the new york historical society, he discovered his grandmother was not who she said she was. she in fact had been telling tall tales about her identity, her entire life. i don't want to say what she was lying about but she was a more extraordinary heroin than anyone knew. i had to follow that. even if it meant getting an extension for the novel and rewriting it, i had to do it to pay honor to the truth that this remarkable woman couldn't tell her own lifetime so normally i would say have to stop when the deadline comes up that's the end. you are done but in this case for the psaki of historical
truth and feeling like i did honor to the story, i had to keep going so i don't recommend this to other authors. [laughter] but sometimes the story is going to give you its own answer to that question and women of lafayette give me my. >> i love that. who asks for extensions during public? >> it's unheard of. [laughter] >> i can't imagine how you would have felt if you discovered the love letters after you turned in. the stress i feel it through the screen, that's amazing. those french officers will get you every time. [laughter] >> that's the tagline. [laughter] >> world war ii fiction, it actually sort of is true, the officers were get your above.
erica, let's talk about how you started and stopped. i write you spoke to people in the cia currently and i think it sometimes more intimidating to write about people who are more modern day, or exists about them so how do you find it all? >> it's an act of faith, as you pointed out it really is an act of faith and a process. you have to trust when you're open to it in earnest, it's going to lead you where it's supposed to go so once you're opened up and find your character, i feel like virginia hall trying to find frequency and trying to listen andf all of a sudden one day, not monday or tuesday but maybe wednesday or maybe friday, all of a sudden you get the signal crystal-clear and then you download. like every other writing day, it's statically.
the same with research. i write about virginia hall. one of the first books i came across from one of the other people involved said don't bother reaching out to virginia, she doesn't want to be found. the whole time i felt like virginia hall had her arms crossed like this from the beginning but gradually as i started to dig deeper and visit the cia go to the national archives and read records and reviews, find the obscure biography, the most recent biography, which was fabulous, it wasn't written so i had to go dig deeper with what biographies were available. i was able to use that and also a lot of french language books. we talked about google translate translating 300 pages of french, you can get lost in that, it's a perfect process that is helpful. doing all about work i finally felt virginia start to trust me, i know that sounds strange
because then more and more would come. the cia approval came through and i was able to visit. then her niece who lives in baltimore answer the phone and said please come see me for lunch. and they brought a box of family photographs, but they put virginia hall into color which she spent an intimidating sketch for a long time. then talking to men and women in the cia, i just feel like this for everybody but there are peopleotge who do this and theye this calling and they respond to it and they operate in the shadows it's a fascinating world so i felt like i had real-life superheroes the whole time and over the course of the process she let me in so i was able to write the book and of course as you pointed out, i thought
because virginia hall isn't particularly relatable to the average person speaking five languagesch, doing this as if is nothing, i need to find a way and so i k paired her with a won from present-day, a little more related relatable, a veteran of iraq and i started to write this protagonist story after about 150 pages, i realize it wasn't working, the virginia strike was too big, i couldn't do that so i put her aside and i put virginia with another woman in the zoe i've been having dreams about so i put the two of them together and virginia, almost seemed to think this is about me, focus so i put that woman aside a set of writing regina's first mission so i got to the end of it and i realized zero my gosh, it's a back story because she went back to occupied france, why did she go back? so that became the question 400 pages later, you find page one and off you go so that's the way
it goes and i guess i wouldn't have it any other way. it be nice to write a tiny little book that's all outlined asbut life is messy and writings rest messy but when it comes together, the joy is so profound, it's worth all the trouble. >> i think it is really hard to make it is to write that lien in perfect book. you have a family member and then you discover information and all of that. >> the generosity from both of you hit me when i read the books. i want to talk about the complexity and bravery of these women. stephanie, i read something you wrote from adrian was to perfect #to find flaws about her and i was like that's just the way
women are represented in history at the time, they are never going to paint them as these figures and i'd love to know how you made her a more complex person. erica, i know virginia hall didn't want to become bigger i read. not giving up her story, how do you turn real women into full complex characters they deserve to be on the page? >> stephanie, do you want to go first? >> with adrian, i had the advantage of a little bit of biographical information. her daughter had written a biography of her and she'd written a bit of information about herself while trying to document her mother's life. the fact that adrian wrote her mother's biography with a two
pack and ink while she herself was in prison, i think that indicates the incredible level of guilt for what happened during the french revolution so you read a little between the lines and what someone is not saying d and why they are saying and when they are saying it. with adrian, i still think she's kind of perfect. she's far more forgiving woman that i could be a misuse infinitely courageous. this is a woman who really was a damsel in distress who ended up saving her nights. meshe saved lafayette life and risked her own life again and again during the french revolution and raise i can't even imagine being back courageous. all of her contemporaries described her as being without
jealousy of this perfect temperament. you see a little less temperament speak out in some of her letters. he complains to lafayette when he's making her about giving back property at some time and she's essentially saying listen, i'm doing the best i can. i'm walking around france on foot and you can just sit down, shut up and wait for me. it was infinitely nicer than i just did but when you see those little speaks of impatience, you know there is a real flesh and blood person behind that so you tease those out if you can in the story and with adrian, i might have even exaggerated a little because she probably
crossed the saint but for the other characters in the novel, i also have her letters, beatrice and she is extremely funny, she was a comedic actress in her day and that really comes through. i should mention she wasas alson author at one time she submitted a manuscript to her agent and she hadn't heard back from him yet so she feared it was so back it might have killed him. [laughter] ii thought she's our people, we would love having lunch with her so i was able to bring her to the page. martha is the third character the story of lafayette and she's the only fictional composite character and i based her on reale women who helped the frenh resistance it may have been involved in hiding and protecting jewish children. i did not want martha to be the same as the other two women in
the book whoho both idolized lafayette. they think the sun rises and sets by himad so i needed a contrast with martha i thought she's not going to care about this, she doesn't care about the castle, the legacy, she just wants out into thes world and live her life and she is caught up in the great offense that forced her to find her in her courage and that is something modern day readers might find more relatable because most of us don't set out to be doing glorious deeds so that's a bit of humanity i brought wanted to bring to the character so that is the approach i bring. >> and there are such different women. i laughed so hard -- left? yeah, i laughed when i read
this, lafayette was so show about her husband's mistress, i was like where is this television coming into capture a reality show? she's a modern lady. [laughter] >> i wonder, to. her husband a little bit because of you can become friends with your husband's mistress, every time youst have teak with him, he's off somewhere wondering are talking about so i thought of that. [laughter] >> i like that take. talking about bravery, one thing that stuck out to me was how they told virginia paul, she had a six-week life expectancy and i could tell you i feel like i will be at the café around the corner, best of luck with the one thing happening.
i'd love to talk about how you made her the complex character she is your book and how -- how did she get this way? how did she get so brave? i was in maryland born and i was not like this. >> when you look back at the course of her life, she's an outdoor woman her whole life and there is a page in her book i posted last week which is just incredible. i wish i had it in my hands right now but it summarizes her so perfectly.. first of all, she'sol been president of every club and captain of every piece so she is a natural leader, and also word she used for her? she's project week but we can't do without her, something like that. that was the theme throughout her life.
there's a bad moment she's in the hospital, the doctor asked, your leg or your wife? she asked to have t it amputate. when she wakes up, she goes to a suicidal. , she wishes she hadn't because she thinks her life is over. she's always been top dog and now she iss here. she had pills in her hand to swalwell them and commit suicide and she had a vision of her father or a ghost or something but he came to her and he said this is not who you are, you have a lot more ahead of you. from then on, she was resolved, but not who i am so she slowly comes out of it and start working to get a prosthetic leg which at the time is nothing like the light weight legs veterans and people have today, it clunky object which she named puppet so she can yell at by the name and then within months
after rehabilitating at her family farm from she's in venice learning in gondola, it who she was. after that, she became show determine, t all of that gave hr the fortitude show her what she needs for the work. she had the deep love of friends and people and put herself at their service and i think all of this makes us who we are and who she is. again, formidable is the workst that always comes up because a few things in the document. the end of her report, 20 pages, enemy and friends, places she visited, bridges she blew up, every little detail. at the end the typewritten interview is had were you in the field? her answerr was no, no reason to be. i could feel her like no -- you could get a little bit of her.
he could see her picture from donovan giving him such a look, you have to google it, is in the public domain but it's a cute cheeky look so you get to see there is some faithfulness behind this formidable woman and the little quinces help make a human person out of the character. >> many think surprised me about her but one she thought about going into the service but at the time the permit didn't let anyone with a disability be an officer. truly ironic. [laughter] it seems like she tries to go with more traditional path and doors were closed for her because she's a woman, she has this problem with her leg and it was like allyo right, let me stt throwing grenades, sometimes
pads are more open to women and even something like the state department which is crazy to me. i'd love to more no more about starting over after her network. >> i think there were two reasons and i talked to a number of combat veterans and a close friend of mine, a police officer who suffered a traumatic event in the field and taught me a lot about posttraumatic stress and what happens because of it but using what they talk about and what i saw she did and understanding the psychology behind it, i realized there were two things. she wasas t motivated to haunt e betrayer. she knew who he was, she didn't listen to her instinct even though there were alarms going off, headquarters kept buying and she accepted it. atshe felt guilty so survivor's guilt and all of her people getting carted away in concentration camps and murders
that she had to avenge that and bring justice however she could virginia wasn't mary, she didn't have children and she had this calling so she was determined but the sop, british intelligence services she worked for didn't want to send her back because she was on wanted posters so she went outside and her boss said you want to stick your neck out, go for it. you want to do this? what do it. the ministry of unjust warfare and oss product department of dirty tricks, a u.s. british thing. [laughter] so she went with dirty tricks. survivor guilt and a healthy dose of revenge, she wanted to get him and she was able to find enough information that she led them to the capture.
>> is awesome and i'm also guessing there was none in the british service. >> that i came across.ce [laughter] >> i would love to talk about your talking about these real women and stephanie, the third character in your book is a composite fictional character, let's talk about the balancing historical fiction like the books you write of truth and fiction and do you just try to fill in holes with fiction or do you think adding this bigger picture element makes these historical characters more accessible to modern readers? >> i've not often written truly fictional characters so in some respects, i'm almost the wrong person to ask but in this case,
i needed this composite character and i'll explain why. when i started writing this, i believed i would be writing in world war ii about a woman, the daughter of the president of their. for people listening, that was how you would treat tuberculosis and the children before they advent of penicillin so that's what it was transformed into it was based on techniques sabic familiar to us right now. keep the kids socially distance, get them outside, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, don't let them breathe on each other so he's well-suited for that
being in the mountains. and, we know, took over at the age of 24 when her father was arrested by the gestapo she was in charge of protecting all of these children at a time when the french resistance was hiding weapons under the floorboards of the children's beds so i want to mention that and sister was married to henri hyde, who erica probably knows about because he was one of the wild bills associates in america's version of the cis so i deeply believe and not only new the french resistance was hiding guns under the floorboards but she knew jewish children were hidden
there. i can prove none of this and on top of not being able to prove it, her father had a lot of ties to the puppet regime and occupy france so i face a choice, do i lionize someone who might have been a collaborator, had collaborationist instincts or do i bill and eyes someone who was secretly white heroic acts in my heart of hearts, i believe she's a heroine, i really do but i felt like it would be irresponsible for me to do either of those things so i needed to fictionalize a heroine. i knew the french resistance said there was an french school children that helped but they don't name her. the little girl i mentioned who's saved by the spirit of
lafayette, they talk about administrations who help, she does not name them so i found a photograph of a little girl in a classroom little boys at the castle, the only little girl and she's looking straight at the camera and as soon as i saw that photo, i thought there you are, that is my character, there is a hole in the story and i'm going to fill it with this character so that's what i did so yes she's fictional but really she's instillingta that whole, that's what i get there. inc felt that it elevated the story. i want to say you say her name so lovely, you make us sound but i can't -- [laughter] >> i just decided to make fun of
that a little bit in the book early on, she says americans always butcher her name and say marta so i will continue to butcher her name. i think in historical women's fiction when you do biographical fiction which this mostly is from you want to stay as close to the factual truth as you can while still telling an entertaining story and bringing out scenesha that makes the readers feel something. i want you to feel something because there areh great biographies out there. i know it's a great biography -- i'm sorry, i didn't mean to say vera -- [laughter] erica's heroin and get i know erica's, it's going to make you feel something intenselysh for virginia health and that's what we want to bring to readers so that's in the back of my mind
when i make those choices. >> i love that. when i was going down to virginia hall, i saw this historical book and i saw a movie out of the end of 2020 and i was s like i should do that, , i would rather. >> yeah but you kind of get attached to the version you know but let's talk about how you filling the gaps with someone like virginia hall. >> i've done both, i have fictional characters in the event i've done just characters from history, with this novel, there some i just couldn't find. there were also a lotot of peope i could i took the cross-references from 20 different sources and whenever a
person emerged, there were too manyd so one there are five or six men who did a different action. once cap the books and one from the weapons. one of them got the distinction. if there is a group from the first stop on her mission who met a terrible fatee and she specifically mentioned in a letter to her mother but she wouldn't say who they were part of those people i couldn't find so i went into the town records, the church records and i found last names and created, those were fictional people that think in the authors note i explained everything. the first thing i write is, i am not a biographer. i'm here to make you feel -- yeah. >> it's so hard because they
expect you to know every aspect of world war ii. my research really ends here so -- >> i tell everybody, i confess everything for what's good and bad. i said with hawthorne, i have the voice in my ear so deeply from reading her writings, i knew i n could use her to tell e story. margaret cooler, i didn't need to make anybody up, it was so well documented so i let the work guide mees each time, whenever it calls for. >> i love how comfortable you both are being able to voice these legends. i feel some people would be so intimidated, including me, he wrote so comfortably and so well, kindpe of need that bravey to write the way you do.
i'm glad you're comfortable, is a very uncomfortable process. >> you have to make it look smooth so every bone in your body doesn't hurt. [laughter] >> wasn't intimidating at first? is a a something that comes with rest and now -- i feel like a lot of people would be scared to go there. >> it's always intimidating. i don't think it's less intimidating for me. writing america's first daughter, we had jefferson who people either loved or hate you have to respect those feelings. the same thing, hamilton is a founding father. you have to tread carefully and with lafayette, even though he's a frenchman, he's an american founding fathers cited want to try carefully although give too much difficulty and generally
the most fun of the founding fathers but when you are dealing with someone more modern like beatrice -- talking with her family, i desperately wants toin please them. i want to write a story that makes them happy while reflecting the truth dealing with figures and was brought to is more harrowingne because it's recent history and still emotional for many people i don't think i ever stop being scared. what about you, erica? >> never, it's a whole new world capitol into her niece described her as intimidating and scary. having them say is we make them likable, she's not likable. i love these dominant people, i
while not everyone does so it was a challenge and you can usually figure out if i feel i can speak in the voice of whether i should choose their present or second person first person parks i can only -- i try to call crawl under their skin but virginia hall, i whenever be able to fully embody her so i have to keep a little distance and watch her through that view i feel like i know her inside and out. that is the trick i play, first person or third? [laughter] >> so much truth to that, i agree. i want to give a lightning round, you know i would love a lightning round but i want to talk about the writing process in covid stephanie, i want to hear about your trip to france, too. i was reading your book and like
i am reading arcs, they wrote this during covid. process,k about the did you just wake up and start drinking go for it? were you writing at midnight and couldn't feel sorry for yourself because he didn't have to fight your wars? what did you do? >> it took place in 2017, paris is a wonderful place for researchers to go because people speak english, easy to get around and it's a great experience at the hotel in albany which is the last remnant of adrian's lafayette childhood home but the amazing thing is beatrice stayed in that same hotel for the same reason wanted to walk in adrian's footsteps. i got to walk in the footsteps
of both of my heroines at the same time. i did not realize how serious this was until after we rented a car and i thought were driving up into the mountains and a place i do not speak the language and gps is spotty and there is not a formal address to the capitol, it's just a hassle. so good luck. they were slippery and lots of turns, we had an angry donkey at one time. [laughter]ot there is a donkey. [laughter] is the top of the mountain, we saw them become emotional because it's a historic place that has seen so much and i
thought if they could speak, or they say? that's what my book should be about. most people get excited when they go because there's lots of americana there, ben franklin signet ring used to be george washington, they went missing around the time they were hidden from the nazis, i have a theory where they went that's in the book, anybody's guess, i got emotional walking into the ballroom which lafayette turned into a philosopher because it was aristocratic. the reason i got emotional isre because the little girl, a jewish girl there, she described sleepingo near the fireplace and feeling safe to know she's being hunted. there's a video on my website that describes how they got caught, they would not be coming to the capitol to find jewish children so that was an amazing
experience. the writing of the book was largely finished before the pandemic struck but i was still finalizing it. i remember being struck by something because i was finishing it at the height of the pandemic when it was the scariest because we didn't knowt what we were dealing with that so we were under lockdown in our member thinking this is not great but when i look at these women who face to situations far darker than what we are facing now, they reached inside themselves and found the courage to meet the moment they were faced with and every generation is going to face a challenge, going to face a challenge in terms of difficulty of their lives and also every generation faces a challenge to democracy.
so i felt very inspired by knowing these women carried the torch forward generation after generation and passing the torch onto hours so i hope your readers take away from the book gave me that perspective. >> i felt more sorry for myself and you did, i admire you. what did you do? >> i kind ofre wished stephanie had gone second because i felt like i need to go out congress the wealth. [laughter] on the nordic track you can walk anywhere so from the comfort of my basement, i walked, everywhere i walked it, walked it'll.
i have not been to france, i did go to all where virginia hall, she had a family farm up north, the house has a lot of the land developed, a lot hasn't, is able to find where she learned to swim and fish and rope and there is hiking paths along the fault there so i spent time up there and also her home in maryland, i wrote to the people who lived there and said exactly who i was and i'd like to come to their house and e-mailed h me and said come on over. so im went to the house and got to seek where she and her husbandi raised five french poodles, the kennels are still there, it looks like a château, a big onene actually, pretty phenomenal. they are also have goats. she was buried in baltimore so i went to her place.o
i went where i could. i couldn't get everywhere. i will get to france one day, i get emotional even thinking about it, some of the places go, ishe went, when i won't say what the village is or did but i am covid in chills at the thought. >> but it's amazing, i know what they did. erica, you will be close to the castle because the characters in my book were by virginia, not named in the book because she came a little after but i think it's optical. >> oh gosh. a lot more, who's there and who's not? [laughter] >> i think it is so -- i think all of these amazing people, it
made me feel like we should -- >> that awesome. okay, i am going to take us to the lightning round, which if you feel, just scream out your answers. start with a question for both of you and i have targeted questions for each of you. i feel like i have to ask historical fiction writers, if you could live in any time. other than today, when would it be? >> the roaring 20s. not the pandemic to be? >> i would not live in any other time because i enjoy your plumbing. [laughter]
>> i also want to say the roaring 20s and then mike i just love telehealth. [laughter] >> midnight in paris, you know? no system. >> especially were women, after for women. [laughter] but the clouds are better. a person who's embraced the pandemic, i could use the roaring 20s in my life. if you could be any fictional character, who would it be? or nonfictional since you write nonfiction, real people. >> i don't know, i might secretly be beatrice, i love when she put on her passport application, to see who's who, i was like this lady is hilarious.
[laughter] mymy instinct has been clear frm outlander but no and he was like no, he is not worth the trade-off. >> he's not. [laughter] >> i don't think. >> he was a french officer. [laughter] >> it's a good lead into my next question, what has been your quarantine binge watch? >> i've been watching all the historic programs andnd i think i'm going to recommend the last kingdom, he's super cute, it's on netflix, bernard, a vikings, i'm not normally a viking kind of girl but i make an exception
here. >> okay. >> the opening credits of that show emotional when it's forged from a hunk of metal into the crowd, i can't take it. [laughter] and now i feel like going out. >> i definitely don't. have you watched french shows, agent for instance? >> no e, i have a serious to recommend to both of you, actually. the french village. subtitled it's amazing, it's about an occupied french village during world war ii, it goes through every year of the war and it's so great. it's going to make you all want to run out and get the invincible woman what she should do anyway.
>> have you all watched the 100-foot dirty? >> is at the restaurant one? >> yes. >> that wasas great. >> anything that makes you want to go to france. >> i've been the laziest food person during covid. [laughter] but i'm supporting small business so it's fine. [laughter] all right, if you were not an author, you would be ... >> i am also a teacher. i would full-time teach. i do not on the side. >> what you teach? >> i've taught everything from early childhood to middle school to high school to faith formation, i am a teacher. >> wow, that makes perfect sense, i think like teacher and historical fiction writer. >> i have two preschoolers, they've been the heroes of the
pandemic so stephanie, what would you be? >> unemployed, i have no marketable skills. >> you are a great researcher, a great interviewer. >> i will help you research for your book, you can hire me. >> historian. did you know this was your calling? did you start really young writing books? >> i did, i blamed my writing career on my grandmother, a drunk lady, she likes to go to antique shops and garage sales she would take her grandchildren and scuffed up the back of her limegreen -- you be arrested if you did this today. we be locked in their but as the oldest, if any of the kids got
out of the car, i'd be in trouble so i started stories to keep them in the backseat and that's where i learned to write with hangers so that's how my writing career began. >> i love that. >> my irish grandma got the story, she would have these books i have no business reading. flowers in the attic, i would take my catholics go back and hide it, i got in trouble but a good old man. >> it was worth it though. a good book. >> i'm always so interested in what kids are reading these days because you always remember the
books you are not supposed to read, they are the ones that were in the best. they were the best. do you read reviews? you go on good reads and replying your mind to what people are saying or if you just ignore everything? you in her scream? >> i do. i read them, in her scream, i claim to my friends like erica she understands when i say things like they are just wrong about that somebody is convinced you've got something wrong and i'm like i can't believe they are leaving wikipedia over me. [laughter] i did the research, lady. i did it, i know and i can't say it, i have to smile. >> the author on good reads, do
not reply. never ever reply. we know but -- >> i definitely screenshot the most hilarious and share them with my author friend, say iterrible things. he gets really upset about it, i don't. i really don't. i might get upset about critical review buffer just every day stuff, once you publish it, it's not yours anymore. i think it's funny because it reflects more about the reviewer i think than the book itself but there are some really funny ones if you look at them that way but my husband gets really upset. get on there and fight with people.t' [laughter] p i feel like there was an author who did go fight with people and it never ends well. let them have that, you know?
whenever i feel really bad, i'll look at some r incredible ones like a book that everybody loves indigo and it has three or something and you're like okay. >> once i saw stonehenge got a rating -- after seeing that, i felt a lot better, if even stonehenge is getting one star and i am fine. [laughter] >> you try it, you do it and fence we'll talk but i think you have to approach it just being like i am same lady and everyone is allowed to have an opinion even though it's not all how we feel. it's review, which i on the antidote you get wrapped up. a one star on my book if you
look at the things she gave a five-star to women's underwear, they would write up and that's great and i love this and it's going to be something i get up to one of these day. >> advice for aspiring writers, do not do it for any other career. do something else, then become a novelist. see, do it now ande repeat until you have ae hit spivak do it now and. [laughter] >> repeat. >> i think i would say become a sort of. i was at journalist first and it forced me to write a lot. as a reporter, to not care if
your work sucks which i think is a important lesson. people are like i have writers block no, you just don't want to write things that are terrible. i'm okay with writing things are terrible because you can write them later on and fix them. >> i went to loss will and was a lawyer for like ten minutes -- >> what is this you tell if no other skills? >> no other hobbies or interests.ou ...
>> we will just be shaking, but one day you might find some lady lawyer who you turned into a book and you never know i feel like a lot of the thriller writers are lawyers. >> research for law that was lost time and the patients were boring but yeah, i think everything helps and away and you never know what you pull into books they have to recess in your mind, while i'm glad especially during a pandemic. okay stephanie don't lie you wrote about elijah hamilton how many times did you watch hamilton do you still love the music or do you hear the scarlet
sisters and want to start drinking. >> i will never lie about hamilton. >> i have seen the musical twice, i have listened to the musical more times than i can count, i do know the musical allows me too drive to annapolis to my house and back again and i think everything but the last song. i mentioned to my travel distances in terms of hamilton i'm a gigantic fan of the musical. >> are you sick of it yet. >> i will never get sick ofla hamilton. >> i love that. >> erica you wrote intermittent about hemingway and fitzgerald, pick hemingway and fitzgerald what is the husband and one is a
whopper. >> the answerr is neither, i guess we have to say against my better judgment, i love hemingway i love him and his response and they read every single letter and book and i understand him as a human, but i get him and i love them fitzgerald i guess a lover, there is just something about being nasty on fishing boats i guess. >> get it girl, i love the end of these because this is when it gets real.
>> there are a lot of codenames in your book i want to know what you would pick as your codename and i will let you know at the end. >> they are very basic there like women's names. >> not tees called artemis, she did a play as diane and they always tell them my name is aldo. >> i love how are codenames resulted. my name is karen and i have to change it, what would yours be. >> i'm gonnana go with athena because i went to the high
school and she was our mascot and she is the goddess of wisdom from whom i would like to learn. >> i would love that, neither of you got those, erica you got honest flamingo and stephanie you got cold hurricane. >> that is so fantastic. if you want to use that at starbucks, feel free. this is such an utter joy i would love to leave this with both of you talking about readers get one thing from your book, what do you hope that they walk away with. >> i think that i hope that they walk away with the idea that we
are walking on the shoulders of people who came before us and we have some responsibility to live up to that legacy and meet the challenges of our time if not as much courage and fortitude, some courage and fortitude and selflessness. >> like stephanie the courage lland selflessness is somethinge need at any time and also i hope the readers get a sense of perspective because it was helpful to me during the pandemic to see what that could look like and i been very fortunate during this time but it always reminded me when i started feeling sorry for myself i would read a little bit about virginia hall in here the verse blurring at me and that i was like okay i'm fine. >> i was finishing both yearbooks and i was like iti' doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. you can read my head.
those are great lessons and certainly during this time, i cannot wait to meet you both in person and we should have a post covid drink and thank you so much for talking to us about your incredible book. >> you should mention you have an incredible book coming out soon. >> yes july i have a book called woman of intelligence and there is some spy situation there domestically spy ladies all around. >> a beautiful cover. >> thank you i already told her all excited i was about the cover, i'm glad it turned out and it's funny we were talking about the cover and you mentioned how you are talking to the artist of the direction of the graft i love that. i feel like you do it for you
but to do it for the women and i'm just saying virginia hall would like the graft. i bet you do. thank you so much and thank you to everyone for watching us today, i hope the next one is in person and we can all be there. >> the population of china in 1949 when the communist took control was 540 million people. during 72 years the prc has had five principal leaders. incense 2012 the current head of state xi jinping. george washington university professor david has written close to 30 books devoted to the
subject of asia. we talked with professor about his newest book titled china's leaders from now to now. >> listen to book notes plus at c-span.org/podcast or wherever you get your podcast recently the house museum in houston hosted a virtual event with columbia university professor peter who explained why he believes future. mx can be prevented by expanding vaccine literacy. >> i started to write this book a year before covid-19 began. and one of the points of the book is what happened with covid-19 is not the extraordinary event that many claim it is but rather a culminating event of a lot of unraveling that has been happening over the last few years and it chronicles the
collapse, i don't want to say total collapse but partial unraveling of global health infrastructure and all the things that we are put in place which includes a lot of vaccine diplomacy and by vaccine diplomacy you have to defined broadly as cooperation between nations around global health for particular vaccines because they are such a powerful tool in global health and the beginning of it goes with vaccines when edward jenner developed the first smallpox vaccine in the 1700s some say 1798 he was called upon the prisoner exchange between the british and the french during the napoleonic wars and thomas jefferson used his vaccine as a goodwill gesture to send the vaccine to lewis and clark expedition and their exploration of the wilderness with native american
groups the more modern version began with not many people realize when he developed the polio vaccine he did it jointly with the soviets at the height of the cold war into the ussr and got permission from state department and his soviet counterpart whose son works the fda as a friend and colleague and got permission to work together, that is where the vaccine was developed and tested on 10 million soviet schoolchildren to be safe and effective and led to the licensure of the polio vaccine and a happened again for smallpox, the soviets found a way to scale up free stride of the smallpox vaccine which allows you to take that version into tropical areas so it would not the destroyed by heat and that's what da henderson an american to leave the smallpox
eradication campaign. some of our greatest successes in global health and infectious diseases always relied on international cooperation and cooperation between countries which generally did not agree ideologically and willing to put aside their ideologies to work together and this is something i was so impressed with as a vaccine scientist, how can we dust the soft and maybe give it a fresh coat of paint and reinvigorated i have that role of the u.s. science envoy for the state department and the white house between 2014 at 2016 and the obama white house at a very difficult time in the middle east when the isis occupation was starting and were at the height of the syrian conflict and civil war in the proxy war in saudi arabia beginning in yemen and very awful time looking how we can
cooperate for the majority of nations for vaccine development i made some progress but the point is this is a time when we needed more than ever and we can talk about what were seen unraveling what russia is doing in china is doing to some extent. and now as if life is an complicated enough a very aggressive antiscience campaign which is homegrown in the united states and being launched by russia, how do we walk all of this back and restore vaccine diplomacy to the rightful place because of its incredible track record of success. >> you can find the rest of the program on our website booktv.org search for peter or the title of the book preventing the next pandemic using the search box at the top of the page. >> it is now my pleasure to introduce sam apple. sam is on the
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