NYT best-selling author, Martha Hall Kelly, joins us this week to discuss her latest novel, The Golden Doves
Author Name: Martha Hall Kelly
Book Title: The Golden Doves
Book Genre: Historical fiction/thriller
Release Date: April 18, 2023
Publisher: Ballantine/Random House
Welcome, Martha! Please tell us a bit about The Golden Doves.
Two young women join the French resistance and become so good at revealing Nazi secrets that the Gestapo puts a price on their heads and they become known in Paris as The Golden Doves. They are sent to a concentration camp and years later are offered the chance to track down the Nazi doctor who brutalized them at the camp, who has disappeared and escaped on the Nazi ratline.
What sparked the idea for this book?
When I was writing my first book Lilac Girls I discovered the Nazi ratline and knew I wanted to write about it someday.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do any research?
It took about four years to write Golden Doves. In the book the doctor the women are tracking has escaped Germany and fled the country via the “ratline”, the trail from Germany down through Italy to Rome by which Nazi fugitives escaped to South America. So for research I travelled to Italy and started in Northern Italy and made my way down to Rome to trace the ratline for myself, seeing where the Nazis hid along the way. It was fascinating!
What drew you to writing historical fiction?
I discovered the true story behind my first book Lilac Girls when, back in 2000, I visited New York socialite Caroline Ferriday’s former home, now a museum in Bethlehem, Connecticut.
What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?
My favorite part of writing historical fiction is the research. I love getting out there and digging into the true stories that bring history alive. The hardest is the outlining at the beginning of each book. That seems to take forever sometimes. But once that’s done, it’s so much easier to write the whole book.
What about the publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
How amazing the readers are. Every day I’m grateful for those who reach out with incredible stories and support.
Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?
Just hang in there and try to write as much as you can. If one manuscript isn’t getting traction write another–short stories as well–and eventually it will happen. Just stay flexible and pivot if you can!
Where can readers find you?
My website is marthahallkelly.com and there you can find my upcoming tour schedule for Golden Doves, more info on the true stories behind the books and a bunch of good stuff. I also share a lot on insta, facebook and twitter.
Thank you, Martha! The Golden Doves launches in one week and is available for pre-order!
Two former female spies, bound together by their past, risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of World War II—a pulse-pounding novel inspired by true events from the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls
“Martha Hall Kelly deftly illuminates little-known complexities of the post-war era while painting a vivid portrait of the deep scars and trauma that Holocaust survivors carried.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Sapphire
American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue are thrilled to be working in the French resistance, stealing so many Nazi secrets that they become known as the Golden Doves, renowned across France and hunted by the Gestapo. Their courage will cost them everything. When they are finally arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with their loved ones, a reclusive Nazi doctor does unspeakable things to Josie’s mother, a celebrated Jewish singer who joined her daughter in Paris when the world seemed bright. And Arlette’s son is stolen from her, never to be seen again.
A decade later the Doves fall headlong into a dangerous dual mission: Josie is working for U.S. Army Intelligence and accepts an assignment to hunt down the infamous doctor, while a mysterious man tells Arlette he may have found her son. The Golden Doves embark on a quest across Europe and ultimately to French Guiana, discovering a web of terrible secrets, and must put themselves in grave danger to finally secure justice and protect the ones they love.
Martha Hall Kelly has garnered acclaim for her stunning combination of empathy and research into the stories of women throughout history and for exploring the terrors of Ravensbrück. With The Golden Doves, she has crafted an unforgettable story about the fates of Nazi fugitives in the wake of World War II—and the unsung female spies who risked it all to bring them to justice.
Martha’s debut novel LILAC GIRLS, about socialite Caroline Ferriday and her fight to help a group of concentration camp survivors, became an Instant NY Times bestseller in 2016 and went on to sell over two million copies. Once the paperback stayed on the NYT list for fifty-four weeks, and became published in fifty countries she wrote two more novels: LOST ROSES about Caroline’s mother, and SUNFLOWER SISTERS about her great grandmother, which also became Instant NY Times best sellers. Her latest novel, THE GOLDEN DOVES, which returns to WWII, arrives in bookstores April 18th, 2023.
Martha grew up in Massachusetts and now splits her time between Connecticut and New York City.
You’ll find more info about the incredible, true stories behind all of her books at her website: http://www.marthahallkelly.com, on Instagram: @marthahallkelly, Facebook.com/marthahallkelly, Twitter: @marthahallkelly and on her ever-changing Pinterest page.