Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on R.M. Romero and her debut novel THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW.
Title: The Dollmaker of Kraków
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Age Range: 8-12
Launch Date: September 12th, 2017
Please tell us a little bit about your book?
The Dollmaker of Kraków is a historical fantasy novel that follows Karolina, a living doll who arrives in Krakow, Poland on the eve of World War II. It chronicles her friendship with a veteran of the Great War and a Jewish man and his daughter, and what happens to them during the German occupation of the city from 1939 to 1943.
What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?
I never would have written The Dollmaker of Kraków if I hadn’t traveled to Poland when I was a teenager. (I’ve been back twice since.) At eighteen, I was struck by the beauty of the city of Kraków and shattered by the horror of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It took me almost a decade to be able to be able to write about those things, though the form it took was quite unexpected…
Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?
For better or worse, I am what is known as a “pantser.” I don’t outline my books; I let my characters lead me through the story while I’m writing the first draft. Then I go back and revise, cutting out threads that fizzled out and making sure the plot unfolds in a more coherent way. I draw inspiration from music, art, reading nonfiction, and traveling.
We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?
In middle school, most of my teachers were annoyed by how I was more interested in writing fiction than paying attention in class. But my 8th grade English teacher Carrie actively encouraged me to keep writing. During our graduation ceremony, one of the teachers would say a few words about a student they’d grown close to. When my turn came, Carrie told the audience that one day, they would see a book I’d written on the shelf in Barnes and Noble. It meant the world to me. And happily, her prediction has come true!
What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?
In a time when hatred and xenophobia are on the rise, I think that it’s valuable to look back at history and see not only how such things can lead to tragedies, but how to actively resist them. The Dollmaker of Kraków is about doing just that.
I wanted to write a book that gave a historically accurate and sensitive depiction of the Holocaust and the German occupation of Poland during the Second World War, and I think that it could be paired with lessons about WWII by teachers and librarians. I even have a series of blog posts containing more historical information paired with photos from my trips to Kraków that I plan to put on my website in September. I also wanted to let young readers experience the beautiful and unique city of Kraków and give them a window into Polish folklore and mythology, which is fascinating!
I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?
This is Tucker, my family’s dachshund. If you’ve seen Up! and remember Dug, that sums up Tucker quite well…