Saturday, November 6, 2021

Q&A with Eva Shaw




Eva Shaw is the author of the new historical novel The Seer, set in New Orleans in 1942. A ghostwriter, she has written more than 100 books.


Q: What inspired you to write The Seer, and how did you create your characters Thomas and Beatrix?


A: When writing a mystery, the location becomes nearly another character. The Seer couldn’t have taken place at any other time or in any other location. I have been visiting and working with ghostwriting clients in New Orleans for over 20 years and the history speaks to me.


Visiting with locals and historians in the city, I learned how terrified the residents were fearing that there would be an enemy invasion up the Mississippi River, as there certainly were Nazi U-boats swarming the mouth of the river and in the Caribbean Sea.


I’m also a student of American history and wanted to blend the fear felt during this time in a way that the characters could show it.


The Seer is not a history book, but I did make sure that the facts were correct. Well, nearly so, as my protagonist Beatrix is fiction, hence she was never involved in the war effort nor with Eleanor Roosevelt or General Charles de Gaulle.


As for the characters, I am fascinated as to why people lie, and both Beatrix and Thomas are liars in the book, trying to be something they certainly are not. Many of the characters are concealing the truth or trying to get an advantage by lying. So yes, lying is a theme that runs through the pages.

Q: As you’ve indicated, The Seer takes place during World War II--did you need to do much research to write the book?


A: I spent consider time learning about the ramifications of WWII on the city and her residents, about Camp Algiers and how the US government misappropriated the legal rights of refugees in Central and South America.


The staff and those associated with the National World War II Museum, in New Orleans, and other museums and historical societies in the city generously shared material and answered my constant questions. That’s the long answer.


The short answer: Yes, and I love digging out facts and researching.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: There’s a moral dilemma at the end and it’s a good point for book group conversations. The takeaway I would like readers to understand is that we’re all fighting our hidden and inner battles and we need to cut people a bit of slack. We need more kindness in the world.


Q: How did you first become interested in ghostwriting?


A: I fell into ghostwriting in one of those lovely coincidences. I was an editor for a fitness magazine and on assignment to interview a nationally known fitness expert. She was incredible gracious and after the magazine interview we had coffee.


I remember saying, “You know so much about health and wellness, why not write columns or a book?” She smiled at me and said, “I don’t have time.” I responded, “I do.” I became her ghost for the next 20 years.


I have never advertised for ghostwriting clients and have never lacked for them. I love helping people write the books they feel are needed. I also mentor emerging writers as I love to pay it forward.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now, I’m writing a sequel to The Seer, set after WWII and in Santa Barbara, where I spent a part of my childhood. As with The Seer, Beatrix and Thomas meet their share of liars. Most of the characters are not what they seem on the surface, just like us. I am happy to be working the new book.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Fifty percent of the profits I get for the sale of The Seer go directly to Days for Girls, International, Please visit their website and learn more. It’s an honor to partner with the organization that truly is barebones and making the lives of girls and women around the world better.


Days for Girls is a nonprofit organization that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods. Proper menstrual health management is a universal human right, a critical component of gender equity and vital to women and girls reaching their full potential.


By buying a book and sharing this information with others, you, too, can make a difference in the world.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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