Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Cathy Gohlke, Part Two

We're back with Cathy Gohlke today to finish our discussion of her latest book, Band of Sisters. Don't forget, Cathy is offering a copy to one of my readers. Check out the details below.

If you missed Part One of this interview, click here to read Monday's post.

KL: I think Band of Sisters would make an excellent film. If it was turned into a movie, which actors do you think would best portray what you imagined for your main characters? Can you describe a few physical features that they have?

CG:  Maureen is striking - tall, slim, with thick flaming red hair (tendrils escaping) and green eyes on a thin face. Victoria Smurfit, who played Hannah Randall in "Berkeley Square" could play Maureen's role perfectly.

            Joshua is also tall, broad shouldered, with black, thick curls, dark blue eyes, and the ruddy complexion of a man who's worked outside all his life. Perhaps Hugh Dancy could play his role.

            Olivia is lovely with dark upswept hair and brown eyes. She's intelligent, with a quiet and cultured but determined air about her. I think Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abby, would be perfect. 

            Curtis is tall, slim, with dark brown eyes, curling dark hair, and alabaster skin. Perhaps Jamie Bamber could fill his role.  

KL: Sounds great, I will be among the first in line if this makes it to the theaters! I know you did extensive research for this book. Can you tell us a little about it? 

CG: My research began with with human trafficking today and the fight to abolish modern-day slavery through books, the internet, and through organizations and individuals that are helping in various ways—raising awareness, rescuing, restoring and healing victims, tracking down and prosecuting predators, education of men and boys re. the human rights and intrinsic worth of women, safe houses, etc., and those who raise funds to assist organizations or individuals who are already doing these things.                           

For historical background I watched documentaries and read (books, old newspapers, archives) about the growth of old New York, the social conditions and desperation of the poor and of immigrants in particular, the disadvantages to those who did not speak English, the unique problems of women and children—the opportunities for and difficulties of making a living wage outside of prostitution, the threats made to women and their families to coerce them into sexual service, of their economic desperation without a male provider, of their few legal rights, and of the unfair treatment women received in court.  Those studies led me to the development of the sweatshops, the growth, expansion and revisions of the settlement house movement, the work of Jacob Riis in making the abject poverty of thousands known to the public. 

Learning of those conditions led to a special interest in Irish immigrants—their cultural and social strengths and weaknesses, their views of family, their aptitude for and reception in different types of employment in America.

             My husband and I made two trips to NYC.  From there we conducted research at Ellis Island, took several tours in the Tenement Museum, and bought more research books and maps, including more on the Triangle Waist Factory fire.

            Once I knew my storyline, I mapped out locations of the story and trekked through Manhattan, exploring old sites, especially between Mid-town Manhattan, through Washington Square and the surrounding NYU area (including the site of the Triangle fire), the Bowery and the Lower East Side.  As I walked, photographed the city, explored, and talked with residents, the voices of my characters erupted.  I gladly followed their lead.

            KL: Human trafficking and the abolition of slavery is such a huge problem, let alone rescuing and restoring its victims.  What can people do to help?

           CG: There are many things we can do. First, learn all you can through reading and talking to people who have joined the fight. Google "human trafficking" to learn what is happening worldwide. Contact your library, social services, churches, or police department; ask what is being done locally to raise awareness and prevent it. They can help you find resources to educate yourself about:

  1. The crime (what is human trafficking and where in the world it occurs—you will be astonished)
  2. The people at risk                      
  3. The methods traffickers use to capture and enslave
  4. The tracking down, arrest and prosecution of predators
  5. The rescue, restoration, and healing of victims
  6. The fight to abolish slavery through legal means
  7. The education of men and boys re. the dignity and worth of women and girls  

            Organizations and/or Individuals that are already working to do the above- See my website for a growing list of these sites.  If you find more, please let me know so I can add them.  

             KL: I appreciate the info on this important topic, Cathy. Thank you for helping to open eyes and hearts. Thanks also for taking time to stop by. I know you are busy with a deadline for your next book. Are you at liberty to share anything about it yet?

             CG:  Yes, I can give you a little peek! Here is the synopsis:

            It is 1939 in the Alpine village of Oberammergau, Germany--scene of the world's longest running Passion Play. Hitler has just invaded Poland, and unleashed his euthanasia program across Germany, determined to rid the Reich and ultimately the world of "life unworthy of life." Rachel Kramer, adopted daughter of a Long Island scientist with strong connections to Germany, discovers that she was separated from her twin sister at birth as part of a nature vs. nurture experiment. Rachel and the man who loves her risk everything to find her sister and save a deaf child targeted by the SS.  But they are not alone -- the villagers of  the Passion Play embrace the message of their script. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and his book, "The Cost of Discipleship," illuminate those answers. Characters confront questions: "Is every life worthy?" and "What is my responsibility toward others?" 

            KL: It sounds like it will be another great story! I can't wait to read it. Thank you again for joining us. I appreciate the insight you brought through this wonderfully compelling story. Wishing you all the best with Band of Sisters and future books. :)

            CG:  It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me!

 Giveaway Details

  • You must be a GFC follower and leave your email address with your comment. 
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please total your entries and include link with your comment where applicable.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST Friday September 7, 2012. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, September 10, 2012.

For more info on Cathy and her books, visit her website.

To read my review of Band of Sisters, click here.

Have you read any fiction that tackles the topic of human trafficking?

What are you reading this weekend?

Have a great weekend,



  1. Wow, Karen. What a topic for a book. Just the research, alone, must have taken a long, long time, I would think.

    Thank you for your interview with Cathy. What a woman.

    Great job! Susan (

  2. I am really looking forward to reading this book. I have read several books on human trafficking, but none from that era.

    I follow via GFC.

    I tweeted:

    I shared on FB.

    I shared on my blog:

    thanks for the giveaway!!


  3. Just reading about the topic, her research and conclusions are compelling. I'm sure the book is amazing. Wonderful interview.

  4. Susan,
    I know, it's a great topic, isn't it? Cathy handles it with grace; it's an excellent read!

    I appreciate you spreading the word! Thanks so much!

    Yes, compelling is the right word! It is a great read; I really enjoyed it.

    Happy weekend,

  5. Yes, definitely seek representation in the film industry!

  6. Dang, I keep forgetting to leave my email addy.

    cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca

  7. I enjoyed reading both interviews, Karen. Thanks for introducing us to Cathy's book and the important issues it presents.

  8. Thank you for having me today, Karen. It's always a pleasure to meet with you and your readers.

    The research did take a while, Susan, but I have to say that I LOVE research. It's very much like a treasure hunt to me, and the characters reveal themselves to me as I come to better understand their life and times.

    Thank you, Ladette, for sharing this far and wide! The more people who are aware of human trafficking the more will become involved in working for abolition of the slave trade.

    Thank you--all of you--for your enthusiasm and interest in this topic. I hope you enjoy the book!

  9. Joylene,
    I know, this would make a great film! Perhaps we'll see it sometime in the future. :)

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed them. I hope you have a chance to read her books!

    It's always a great pleasure. You are welcome here anytime!


  10. Band of Sisters sounds like a compelling book--both in story and in the issues it deals with. Thanks so much, Karen, for hosting Cathy! Great interview, great-sounding book :-)

  11. Human trafficking is a disturbing thing and more people need to be made aware of what's going on. For too long our focus has primarily been on the U.S. slave trade and there is so much more to tell.

    The era of the early 20th century in NYC is a fascinating time.

    A Faraway View

  12. Something my daughter has always been concerned with. Would love to be entered to win.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  13. Wow, very interesting. I'm curious whether Cathy did all that research first before writing, or did little by little as she wrote.

  14. Kenda,
    I think it is! I am glad Cathy chose to tackle this issue. If you don't win, I hope you get a chance to read it! :)

    It is disturbing to think about. You're right, so much more going on out there than we realize. It's a great story for opening our eyes.

    It is a viable issue. I think raising awareness is a big help.

    Good question! I was thinking it was before and maybe a bit during, but I am sure Cathy can fill us in.

    Happy weekend,

  15. Wow, this book sounds amazing. I enjoyed reading about the research that went into it, and the awareness it draws to a terrifying issue. Thanks for introducing me to Cathy's book, Karen.

    srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

  16. Wow, Cathy. Seems you've put your heart, soul and considerable research into this book. I'ts sure to make its mark given the subject matter. Congratulations.

  17. If I am not mistaken, I read the summary of the book in Wikipedia. How lucky me! and reading this post made me feel livelier when you said, "Band of Sisters would make an excellent film"

    oh! If this is what is going to happen then I am sure going to start reading it. :)

    Thank You Karen. You are wonderful.

  18. Hi Karen & Cathy,

    I can't wait for your next book to come out!

    Your books reflect your intense research methods. I'm familiar with how you put together Band of Sisters. Is this your normal process for all your books?

    Susan :)

  19. Susie,
    It is wonderful! :) Cathy's resear h is extensive, isn't it? Hope you get a chance to read it if you don't win!

    I agree, Cathy's put a lot into it. I think you are right; it should make a big splash.

    I hope you get a chance to read this. And I will let you know if it becomes a film! Thanks so much for your sweet words. I love your enthusiasm and support. :)

    Susan R.,
    Cathy is something, isn't she? Thanks so much for introducing me to her! :)


  20. Band of Sisters sounds like a great book. I will see if I can get a copy of it.

  21. Oh, I missed the deadline. Rats! I think I entered the first time, but even if not, I commend Cathy for using her talent to help others get out of their pits!

  22. The research alone sounds fascinating! Wow. I'm sure it lends authenticity to her account. The cover, I think, is perfect.

  23. Rachna,
    I do hope you can get a hold of a copy. Let me know how you like it! :)

    Sorry about that! Maybe you can pick up a copy later. :) Hope so!

    I know, it does! Lots of great stuff. I agree, it does add authenticity in a big way.


  24. Visiting Ellis Island is such a powerful experience--especially if you have relatives that came through there... Awesome!

    I just finished Unending Devotion by Jodi Hedlund, which had a human trafficking theme, also!

  25. Cheryl,
    I agree. I visited Ellis Island in junior high, but still remember the sobering feeling knowing that so many came through to the US that way. I can but imagine some of their trials. I too, am just about finished with Jody's new book. It is another good one. :)


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!