Anne Blankman: PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG

We have a lot of fantastic debut authors at OneFourKidLit and we’re excited for you to get to know them! Today Anne Blankman is with us, author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, coming from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in spring 2014.

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I’ve always loved writing and reading, and as a youth services librarian, I’ve had the chance to do plenty of both. But I wasn’t sure I had the talent to get published. One day an idea took hold of me and wouldn’t let go, and I knew I had to write this story. I wrote PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG in little pieces, squeezing an hour of writing here and there during my baby’s nap or at night. Once I felt it was ready, I submitted the first ten pages for a critique session at a regional SCBWI conference. My top choice agent was there and, amazingly, we got matched with each other. Meeting her felt like meeting a wonderful new friend. I signed with her about a week or so later, and three weeks after that, we had a three-book deal at auction. Obviously, I was incredibly lucky, and my experience is by no means a typical one!

What’s your debut book about?

PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG is a YA romantic historical thriller set in Munich shortly before Hitler’s rise to power. Here’s the blurb I used in my query:

Obey. Smile when Hitler comes closer. And never, never question him.

These are the three rules in seventeen-year-old Nazi Gretchen Müller’s life. They’ve kept her safe since Papa died, protecting old family friend Adolf Hitler during a street fight years ago. Until the night in 1931 when Gretchen meets a young, fearless Jewish reporter she’s supposed to despise. But she can’t stop herself from listening to his story — that her father, the adored martyr, was actually murdered. Together, Gretchen and the reporter vow to do whatever it takes to uncover the truth. Even if it means breaking all of Hitler’s rules. Especially the most important one of all: Don’t fall in love with the enemy

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Wow. I can’t pick only one thing. Working with my editor, Kristin Daly Rens, who is not only smart and funny and patient but asks brilliant questions that get me thinking about my story in new ways. Meeting my agent, Tracey Adams, and knowing within minutes that I wanted to sign with her agency. Knowing that people in New York City were talking about my manuscript. And, of course, seeing my cover for the first time and realizing that this is really happening.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

I rowed on my high school and college crew teams, which is why I have no fear of wearing unisuits. Not, I hasten to add, that I wear them anymore! Let’s be clear about this!

I used to fence competitively. Saber was my main weapon, so I got to compete mostly against REALLY. BIG. GUYS. Did I mention they were big?

My husband played football at our college, and I still don’t understand any of the rules. Not a one.

Every room in my house has a bookcase, except for the bathrooms. To me, a house without books is like a person without a personality.

A native New Yorker, Anne Blankman currently lives in southeastern Virginia with her husband and young daughter. She’s lucky enough to be a writer and a librarian. Her debut novel, PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, comes out in 2014 from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins.
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