TERMS AND CONDITIONS By submitting the letter above (the “Letter”), I grant Nicholas Sparks, Willow Holdings, Inc. and Hachette Book Group, Inc. (together “Publisher”) the non-exclusive right to use the Letter in connection with advertising, promotion and/or publicity of Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks (the “Work”) (Publication Date: 10/16/18) in any and all media throughout ...]
"One of the things we can do as artists is to be truthful about what the world holds." —Tony Abbott, author of The Great Jeff and Firegirl Literature is a powerful tool that both reflects our world and widens it, allowing readers to see themselves and to see how people different from themselves ...]
Following is a recap of major news at Hachette Book Group for the week of April 8-12, 2019:
Bestseller news: Susan Page’s The Matriarch (Twelve) debuts this week at #3 on both the Print Hardcover Nonfiction and Combined P&E bestseller lists. Commander in Cheat by Rick Reilly (Hachette Books) debuts at #6 on the Print Hardcover Nonfiction and #7 on the Combined P&E bestsellers list. Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein (JIMMY Patterson) makes its debut on the NYT Children’s bestseller (Middle Grade) list at #2. HBG’s distribution clients have three books on the New York Times list this week.
Staffing news: Mary Ann Naples will join Hachette Books as Vice President & Publisher on April 22. Mary Ann was most recently VP & Publisher at the Disney Book Group, and prior to that she was SVP & Publisher of Rodale Books and Rodale Wellness. She has overseen the publication of an impressive roster of best-selling authors and franchises, and has also been an entrepreneur, working in digital start-ups and as a literary agent. Read more about our new colleague here: , .
New HUK warehouse: on Tuesday, the Hely Hutchinson Centre was officially opened by Tim Hely Hutchinson, CEO of Hachette UK until his retirement in 2017. All the publishers within the Hachette UK group and the third-party publishers distributed by Hachette will be distributed from the site by the end of the second quarter of 2019. The Centre is 242,000 square feet, will dispatch 65 million books, and has 150,000 titles in stock. It’s the most advanced of its kind in Europe.
The national parks are some of our country's greatest national treasures—so it's important that while we enjoy them, we also take care of them, especially when hiking and camping in backcountry areas. To help keep the parks pristine, visitors need to take an active role in maintaining them. Here's how you can make the most of the national parks and make sure you leave no trace:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Hiking in the backcountry is inherently risky. Three miles of hiking at the high elevations in Wyoming may be much harder than three miles in your neighborhood park back home. Choose appropriate routes for mileage and elevation gain with this in mind, and carry hiking essentials.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
In front-country and backcountry campgrounds, camp in designated sites. Protect fragile plants by staying on trails even in mud, refusing to cut switchbacks, and walking single file. If you must walk off the trail, step on rocks, snow, or dry grasses rather than wet soil and delicate plants.
Leave What You Find
Flowers, rocks, and fur tufts on shrubs are protected park resources, as are historical and cultural items. For lunch stops and camping, sit on rocks or logs where you find them rather than moving them to accommodate comfort.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Make fires in designated fire pits only, not on beaches. Use small wrist-sized dead and downed wood, not live branches. Be aware: Fires and collecting firewood are not permitted in some places in the parks.
Bring along binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto lenses to aid in watching wildlife. Keep your distance. Do not feed any wildlife, even ground squirrels. Once fed, they can become more aggressive.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
In particular, be aware of cell phones and how their use or noise cuts into the natural soundscapes of the parks.
For formation on Leave No Trace, visit .
Ready to plan your parks adventure?
[hbg-title isbn="9781640492776" summary="They’ve been dubbed America’s best idea for a reason: get inspired, get outdoors, and discover the wild beauty of the United States with Moon USA National Parks."/]
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Getting kids interested in national parks can be a challenge—and so is keeping them entertained once you get there! Here are a few tips for helping your family make the most of its time in the great outdoors:
1. Can’t get your kids off their phones? Encourage them to take photos for a family album that focuses on the variety of detail on trails. Put each child in charge of a certain thing: plants, rocks, tree bark, animals, water, etc.
2. Get your younger kids involved in Junior Ranger programs! Some parks have programs for older kids, too.
3. Prepare kids for the elements with appropriate layers of clothing, footwear, mittens, and hats. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray, too!
4. Check your park’s specific NPS site before you leave home—you’ll find special kid-friendly programs and activities under “kids.”
5. Play trail games like “I Spy” to keep kids engaged along the way.
6. Choose shorter trails for young kids with attractions as destinations: lakes, boulders to play on, driftwood on beaches.
7. Check out the program: 4th graders can visit all national parks for free!
8. Prevent meltdowns by having snacks and water handy, even on short hikes or adventures.
For more tips for exploring the national parks with your family, pick up:
[hbg-title isbn="9781640492790" summary="They’ve been dubbed America’s best idea for a reason: get inspired, get outdoors, and discover the wild beauty of the United States with Moon USA National Parks."]
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Following is a recap of major news at Hachette Book Group for the week of April 15-19, 2019:
HBG Community Service Day: we had our second annual Community Service Day on Wednesday, and close to 600 HBG employees volunteered in a wide variety of activities – preparing food in community kitchens, delivering hot meals to homebound seniors, reading with children, repainting rooms in community centers, gardening in green spaces, caring for animals in rescue shelters, assisting with literacy and mental health awareness projects, creating handmade cards for hospitalized children, and much more.
Bestseller news: James Patterson’s The Fall of Crazy House (JIMMY Patterson) debuts at #4 on the New York Times YA Hardcover list. Also, debuting on the NYT lists are William W. Li’s Eat to Beat Disease (GCP) at #10 on the Advice, How-To, & Misc., and Miracle at St. Andrews by James Patterson & Peter de Jonge (LB) at #13 on the Print HC Fiction list. HBG’s distribution clients have a #1 bestseller with Jeff Kinney’s new addition to the Diary of the Wimpy Kid franchise, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid (Abrams) at the top of the Middle Grade Hardcover list. And David Sax’s The Revenge of the Analog (PublicAffairs) makes a surprise appearance at #1 on the Washington Post bestseller list this week.
LA Times Book Prize: Beth Macy’s Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (LB) has won the 2018 for Science & Technology.
Ondaatje Prize shortlist: Adam Weymouth’s Kings of the Yukon (LB) has been named to the Royal Society of Literature’s 2019 shortlist. The £10,000 prize is awarded annually to a book of the highest literary merit – fiction, non-fiction, or poetry – which best evokes the spirit of a place. The winner will be announced May 13.
Major launch: Ali Benjamin’s highly anticipated The Next Great Paulie Fink (LBYR) went on sale this week with an interview on NPR’s Here & Now, coverage to come in The Denver Post, New York Times, People, and the Wall Street Journal, and a two-week national tour.
Name of town: Sweetwater Springs, NC Population: 3,210 Where did you get your inspiration for town: While Sweetwater Springs is a small mountain valley town, I modeled it after Swansboro, a small coastal town near me in North Carolina. Swansboro is a scenic town with beautiful little shops strung together along the water. Is there ...]
As I mention in the Author’s Note at the back of The Paris Orphan, I first heard of Lee Miller when I was researching my previous book, . There was a throwaway line in an article that mentioned Miller and other female war correspondents who, after World War II had ended, had not been able to continue working as serious journalists because the men had returned from overseas and taken all of the available jobs.
It caught my attention. What would it have been like to report on a war and then come home to America and be assigned completely different work? After the war, Lee Miller was relegated to photographing fashion or celebrities during the winter season at Saint-Moritz. She was also an occasional contributor of recipes for Vogue.
That article was the start of my fascination with her. I went looking for more. And I found a story so incredible I couldn’t help but be inspired by it.
Miller the Photojournalist
Miller was a photojournalist for Vogue during World War II. She took some extraordinary photographs: she stumbled upon the battle for Saint-Malo in France and photographed the U.S. Army’s first use of napalm there. She reported from Paris, Luxembourg, Alsace, Colmar, Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Torgau, among other places. She was one of the first to document the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. And she was the subject of an iconic photograph, bathing in Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, having left her filthy boots to drop the dirt of Dachau, as she put it, all over the Fuhrer’s pristine white bathroom.
Miller the Model
But Lee Miller started on the other side of the lens. She was discovered by Condé Nast on the streets of Manhattan and became a famous model for magazines like Vogue during the 1920s. I decided to use this as the starting point for my character, Jessica May, as I was fascinated by that transition. How did a woman who was so obviously beautiful manage in the male and often chauvinistic environment of an army during a war?
Just as Condé Nast discovers Lee Miller, he also discovers Jess in The Paris Orphan and Jess is one of his favorite models, as Miller was. However, to suit my story better, I moved time forward to begin Jess’s modeling career in the early 1940s.
Miller’s modeling career ended when a photograph of her was used by Kotex in an advertisement for sanitary pads. It’s so hard to imagine that this could end a career, but it did. To be seen as the “Kotex Girl” was a stigma so dreadful that no magazine wanted to use pictures of Miller again. So Miller moved to France, where she became Man Ray’s lover. He helped her develop her photography skills and she became a well-regarded surrealist photographer.
I used these elements when creating Jess’s character too. Jess has to stop modeling after a photograph of her is used by Kotex, Jess has a French photographer as a lover, and solarization is a trademark of her work, as it was Miller’s.
The Intersection of Fiction and Reality
Miller actually reported for British Vogue during the war, although many of her pieces appeared in American Vogue too. For ease of the story, I have Jess working for American Vogue in The Paris Orphan.
Jess follows in Miller’s footsteps in The Paris Orphan, working out of a field hospital when she first arrives in France after D-Day. I have given the room used by Lee Miller at the Hotel Scribe in Paris to Jess, complete with a balcony piled high with fuel cans and an acquaintance with Picasso. Miller is called la femme soldatby the joyful Parisians after the city is liberated, as is Jess. Miller stays at Hitler’s apartment in Munich and is photographed in Hitler’s bath, as is Jess in The Paris Orphan.
After the War
One of the most heartbreaking parts of Miller’s story is what happened to her after the war. She suffered from post-traumatic stress after viewing and recording so many horrors, and she tried to forget that she was ever a witness to war and all its atrocities. So effective was she at excising this from her past that, when she died at age seventy, her son, Roland Penrose, had no idea of what she had done during the war. Her work was largely forgotten.
One day, Penrose’s wife found boxes of photographs and films in the attic at Farley Farm, Miller’s home. They contained Miller’s correspondence with her Vogue editor and wartime paraphernalia. Penrose immediately understood that he had made an incredible discovery, that his mother had been a true artist, and that her words and pictures had—once upon a time, until she let the world forget them—meant something.
He resurrected Lee Miller and her work. She is now widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent war correspondents and photographers. The idea that she had been all but forgotten haunted me, and this inspired the scenes set in contemporary times in The Paris Orphan, when D’Arcy Hallworth finds an attic full of photographs and an extraordinary legacy that should never have been lost to the past.
Next to writing, research is my true love. When I stand in the spaces I want my characters to inhabit, I can feel them and see them and bring their lives and their stories out of my imagination and into the structure of words and sentences.
The Hotel Scribe, Paris
To research The Paris Orphan, I started in Paris at the Hotel Scribe, where Lee Miller stayed during World War II and where Jessica May, my character, also stays. The hotel was used by the U.S. Army as the press office, and the hotel’s exterior is largely unchanged from that time.
Staying in the hotel for several nights allowed me to picture more vividly the scenes in my story set there, to see where Miller’s room was, and the view from her balcony. The hotel is very proud of its association with Miller.
A Chateau in the Champagne Region
From there I had the very difficult(!) job of staying in a chateau just outside Reims in France’s Champagne region, just as D’Arcy does in The Paris Orphan. How I suffer for my art!
It was a wonderful experience because I was able to wallow in the richness and lushness of the area. The extraordinarily bright pumpkins that D’Arcy sees from her window are the pumpkins I saw from my room at the chateau, as is the canal, the maze, the plane trees, the potager—or vegetable garden—and the butterflies. From inside the chateau, the black-and-white-tiled marble floor, the salon de grisailles, the boiserie, and the turret all came from the chateau I stayed at.
Crazy Trees—Les Faux de Verzy
I had heard about Les Faux de Verzy, the dwarf twisted beech trees that feature in The Paris Orphan, before I left for France. I was determined to see them, as they captured my imagination. When I told my kids we were going to spend the afternoon walking through a forest in search of crazy trees, they looked at me as if I was the one who was crazy!
But we had the perfect day. It was a little overcast and dark, haunting, mystical, magical even. We found the trees, and they were like something from myth. We all felt as if we were walking through an enchanted forest. As we left, my kids said to me that doing weird research things with Mummy always ended up being really fun! There was no way I could leave those spectacular trees out of the book.
On to Normandy
I then traveled to Normandy, which was a sobering experience. Standing on Omaha Beach, as Jess does in the book, deeply affected me. The beach is so very wide, and I could see the difficulty that any soldier would have had, jumping out of a vessel on the water, traversing through waves to the ocean’s edge, and then having to forge a way across that vast stretch of sand to safety. Almost impossible. I could feel how Jess might feel, standing there, seventy-odd years ago, a witness to the immense and terrible destruction of human life.
I visited the American Cemetery there, and then drove to Sainte-Mère Église, where there is a museum dedicated to the paratroopers. I knew little about the intricacies of battles and battalions, so seeing a mannequin dressed in a paratrooper’s uniform, plus all of the eighty kilograms of equipment they carried, and studying the maps of their campaigns and victories was hugely helpful in allowing me to better understand Dan Hallworth and what he might have faced.
In the museums of Normandy, I saw a lot of the equipment used by the soldiers and the personal items carried by them, which helped me to recreate life as it could have been: everything from U.S. Army jeeps and tanks, to long-tom guns, packs of Lucky Strikes, ration chocolate, Scott paper, and tins of Marathon foot powder—all of which appear in the book.
I was also able to see the accreditation papers, passport, uniforms, telegrams, diary, and war correspondent badge of Virginia Irwin, one of the female correspondents, at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, England. These were all items Jess would have required, so it was wonderful to view them.
And then it was time to leave Europe and to try to write down the story that was occupying all of my thoughts. It’s my favorite of all of my books. I truly hope you enjoy reading The Paris Orphan as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you.
For photographs and more, visit my blog on natashalester.com.au.
One of the author’s concerns when writing the book was that the extent and magnitude of the bias and discrimination shown towards female war correspondents was so great that readers might not believe it could really have happened. Were you shocked by the any of the sexist behaviour, rules or beliefs described in the incidents in the book? Which incidents surprised you the most? How do you think it might affect a woman to have to struggle against such ingrained bias in order to do her job?
Had you heard of Lee Miller before you read the book? Have you been drawn to find out any more about Miller since reading it? What do you think of the author’s decision to create a character inspired by Miller rather than write a fictionalised account of Lee Miller’s life? Which approach do you think you might prefer as a reader?
Victorine makes a difficult decision towards the end of the novel when she withholds information from both Jess and Dan. What did you think of her decision? What might you have done in her place? Is it possible to make the wrong decision for the right reasons? How important is it to consider a person’s motivations when assessing whether their decision was right or wrong?
Both Jess and Dan make different decisions when it comes to Amelia’s ultimatum: Dan decides to marry Jess in spite of his battalion; Jess decides to leave Dan so that he has to marry Amelia. Who was the more heroic out of Jess and Dan over the course of the war, and in making that final decision? Which one of them made the “right” decision?
For much of the novel, Jess collects information about soldiers sexually assaulting civilian women. She doesn’t report on this until after the war. Do you think it was cowardly of her to wait so long? What do you think might have happened had she tried to publish the article while the war was still continuing? Was she guilty of letting other women down, or did she have no choice?
Back in London, Jess has the thought: "War makes us monsters or angels, but so too does love.” How difficult do you think it would be to fall in love during wartime, knowing that death was a very real possibility for one or both partners? Do you think this would change the kind of love a person might feel, make it tense perhaps because risk is everywhere, or less intense because the fear of death creates a fear of true intimacy? How can love make someone a monster and where does this happen in the book?
The difficulties Jess and Dan and Amelia face during the war are very different to the difficulties D’Arcy and Josh have faced in their lives. Do you think people in contemporary times are guilty of creating problems where none exist? To what extent does living through a war change how a person views life? Are contemporary concerns less important than those people faced during the 1940s or are both sets of issues equally challenging and worthy of discussion?
There are many women in the book who are based on real people including Martha Gellhorn, Lee Carson, Iris Carpenter, and Catherine Coyne. Had you heard of any of these women before reading the book? Which ones? Is it true that the stories of so many extraordinary women have been lost to history, and forgotten by those of us who come after? If so, why do you think that is? What other books have you read, or movies have you watched, that feature extraordinary women from history and what did you enjoy about them?