Question:Have your experiences as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. State Department in Europe helped you write your novels?
PIn the mid-1990’s, I was sent to Krakow, Poland as a diplomat. Although I originally went to do consular work (stamp visas and passports and help Americans who got into trouble), I found myself there at a unique moment in history. Many of the issues from the Holocaust, such as anti-Semitism, property restitution and preservation of the camps, had remained unresolved through the Cold War when dialogue and exchange were stifled, and they now had to be resolved before Poland could join NATO and the European Union. I was given responsibility for working on these issues, and I became very close to the surviving Jewish community there. I was profoundly moved by these experiences, both professionally and personally as a Jewish woman living in Poland. My books have been inspired by the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, especially in Europe. I’m moved to create stories based on the things I have witnessed.
Book Excerpt:“Books had become a luxury few Parisians could afford during the war and there were horrible stories of people burning them for kindling, or suing their pages for toilet paper. But some had instead brought them to places like this, selling them for a few francs in order to buy bread. The result is a shop bursting at the seams with books, piled haphazardly in floor-to-ceiling stacks ready to topple over at any moment. I run my hand over a dry cracked binding with affection. The titles are odd-old storybooks mixed with volumes about politics and poetry in a half a dozen languages and an abundance of war novels, for which it seems no one has the stomach anymore.”
About the book: As the world’s leaders gather in Paris following World War I to chart a new political order, one young girl suddenly finds herself at the center of it all in a city full of mysterious figures, foreign intrigue and dark, deadly passions. THE AMBASSADOR’S DAUGHTER (Harlequin MIRA, February 2013, $14.95 U.S./$17.95 CAN.) is bestselling author Pam Jenoff’s long-awaited follow-up to The Kommandant’s Girl and The Diplomat’s Wife.
When Margot Rosenthal’s diplomat father is summoned to Paris in 1919 as a German delegate to help rebuild a new world from the ashes of the Great War, Margot is eager to accompany him and delay her return to Berlin and her wounded fiancé, Stefan, who now feels like a stranger to her.
Although Margot spends her days frustrated by the overcrowded streets of Paris and her nights bored at her father’s dreary political functions, she nevertheless relishes what little freedom she has left before her impending marriage. But Margot’s entire world is suddenly turned upside down when she strikes up new alliances with two separate people, each as different as night and day, but to both of whom Margot is drawn as strongly as a moth to a flame.
As Margot fights to suppress her burgeoning new desires, dark forces are at play, seeking to manipulate her for their own nefarious purposes. With the fate of the world looming, Margot finds herself being used as a pawn in a political chess match played by people who are willing to sacrifice the lives of everyone she holds dear to achieve their goals. For a girl who has never had freedom of choice before, suddenly Margot has too many choices to make, each more harrowing than the last.
About the Author: Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including The Kommandant’s Girl, which received widespread acclaim, earned her a nomination for a Quill Award and became an international bestseller. She previously served as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. State Department in Europe, as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a practicing attorney. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, her master’s degree in history from Cambridge University and her bachelor’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. Pam Jenoff lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.