Interview with Author Martha Hall Kelly Read it later

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Author Martha Hall Kelly has a unique knack for bringing to life historical events in her books. Her writing has the power to transport you back in time and make you feel as if you are part of the timeframe of the setting.

My first book by Kelly was Lilac Girls. I became mesmerized by Kelly’s tone and attention to detail as it follows three women in the Ravensbrück concentration camp during WWII. To say I was excited to interview Kelly about her latest novel, a short story, Naomi’s Gift, is an understatement.

Meet author Martha Hall Kelly!

Welcome, Martha! I’m excited to have you join us and chat about your latest, riveting short-story Naomi’s Gift. Tell us about it!

Hey, Carly—thanks for having me! Naomi’s Gift is a WWII story of two Hungarian sisters that are arrested and taken to a concentration camp. The older sister Naomi is pregnant when she arrives at the camp, and it’s the story of how they keep the baby secret.

The powerful storyline of the letters is really heart-wrenching. Is this short story based on a true story of what some women did during that time?

Yes—when I was researching my first book, Lilac Girls, I came to know several survivors who had been imprisoned at Ravensbrück as children and learned of many more, some who’d been born at the camp.

What inspired you to tell the story of Aldona?

I had always wanted to tell the story of a child born at the camp. In Lilac Girls, there is a baby born at Ravensbrück  Concentration Camp for women, based on a true story, Guy Poirot, whose mother gave birth to him in the camp laundry while she was working. I loved that story and wanted to create my own.

Who was the most challenging character to craft?

Zina, the aunt who tells the story through her letters to the baby, was the hardest to craft—it’s her voice carries the story, so it had to be compelling, but she’s just a teenager, so that was tricky.

You write a lot of historical fiction stories. Do you travel to the places you write about to get the setting right? Or do you do a lot of research? Share with us how you capture the historical timeframes in your writing.

I’ve traveled to the settings in each of my four books—I feel like it’s the only way to bring the experience alive for the reader. It started with France and Germany for Lilac Girls, then Russia for Lost Roses, Gettysburg and the deep south for Sunflower Sisters, and now Italy for my next book, The Golden Doves. My husband loves that my job takes us to great places!

Naomi’s Gift by Martha Hall Kelly

Genre: Historical Fiction

The story follows Aldona who discovers letters after her mother passes about women in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

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In Naomi’s Gift, you capture the courage of what those women felt in your writing beautifully. Does that come with researching, or how do you put yourself in those characters’ shoes?

Wow, such a great question. I think the research is step one. I’ve been to Ravensbrück and know so much about it now that it feels like I’m there when I set characters. After that, I just imagine what it must have been like—try and feel all the senses, so the reader feels it too.

Naomi's Gift book
Naomi’s Gift on Amazon!

Did you always want to be an author?

No, I came upon writing for a living late in life—I visited a house museum near me in Connecticut, the Bellamy-Ferriday House, and Gardens, to see the famous lilac gardens and came away wanting to tell the world about Caroline Ferriday, the woman who lived there who helped a group of young women who survived brutal experiments at Ravensbruck. That became Lilac Girls— I’m so glad I went to the house that day!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Having readers tell me they enjoy my work. And creating the imaginary worlds. There’s nothing more fun and empowering.

Do you have any upcoming releases you can share with readers?

The Golden Doves is the story of two female spies who risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of WWII. It takes place in some amazing settings—Rome, French Guiana, and Texas. It was pretty pulse-pounding to write and hopefully to read, too!

Before I let you go, where can readers find you on social media?

On Instagram: @marthahallkelly  Twitter: @marthahallkelly

Thank you so much for joining me Martha! What did you think of my Interview with Author Martha Hall Kelly?

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Popular books from the author

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Genre: Historical Fiction

This story follows three women: Caroline, Kasia, and Herta. All are very different but have one thing in common: WWII and the plot is brought together cross continents.

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | Audible

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Genre: Historical Fiction

This story followers Georgeanna “Georgey” Woolsey  and her sister Eliza. It takes place in the South during the Civil War giving readers a front-row seat to this war.

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | Audible

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Genre: Historical Fiction

When Lillian is forced to leave boarding school because of a scandal, she’s given the opportunity to be a caretaker for twins. There’s only one catch: they periodically burst into flames!

Read more reviews on the book index here

Buy this Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | Audible

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Naomi's Gift book
Naomi's Gift by Martha Hall Kelly
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