"No one heard us. They decided not to, to turn their heads away. It was too much to bear. Too much to know. Too hard to swallow. But now that the world knows, now that the world has heard, it all seems so simple, so easy to defray. I screamed and no one heard. Next time, will you be listening?" Aliz and her twin sister, Hajna, are enjoying their playful, carefree and comfortable life with their parents in Szeged, Hungary just before the Nazis invade. Seemingly overnight, their lives change drastically as they are transported to the ghetto on the outskirts of the city and then to Auschwitz to be used in Mengele's deadly experiments. After several months of brutal torture, Aliz is liberated to find that she is the only survivor in her family. At not even 11 years old, Aliz must make the journey to San Francisco alone, an entire world away from everything she's known, in order to live with her only known relatives whom she has never met-- a depressed aunt and teenage cousin who is more than ready to escape her mother's melancholy. Told through the eyes of both Aliz and her cousin Isabelle, Unravelled tells a story of survival, hope, family and the lives war and genocide haunt long after liberation.
Anna Scanlon is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but currently resides in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom (she has previously lived in New York City, Budapest, Grenoble and Amsterdam). She holds an MA in History from the University of Amsterdam and is pursuing a PhD in History from the University of Leicester. She lecturers and teaches on the Holocaust and art and consults with schools and theater companies who are working on Holocaust related material. She has been writing since she was a little girl, keeping diaries whilst pretending she was Laura Ingalls Wilder and writing historical fiction novels about WWII and the Oregon Trail (obviously based on the video game series!). In the third grade, she wrote an "adaptation" of her favorite film "My Girl" for her class. Unravelled is her first published novel. www.anna-scanlon.com
FMM: How long did it take you to write Unravelled? And subsequently how long did it take to edit and polish it to a state that it could be published? How long did this all take for your novel to actually be published?
AS: Unravelled has existed in my head in various incarnations since 2006. The first draft was penned in the Fall of 2006. I revisited it in 2010 where I wrote the bulk of the story. Then I was represented by an agent who didn't believe it would sell or draw and audience. In reality, this was published as an experiment after lots of rejection and frustration. This is one of my favorites I have written, but I was convinced it would never sell so I kind of put it to the world bare faced without much polish, which is kind of embarrassing to say. I just wanted to experiment with indie publishing and I didn't expect the positive reviews and responses it has received. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it's terrible, but I'm sure that will happen eventually.
FMM: Where do you see your publishing going in the future?
AS: I'm unsure. I was represented by an agent in the past and am planning on querying my current work in progress. If that doesn't work, I'll have that one and another one collecting dust and will use indie publishing to do those. I've learned a lot through publishing this book in terms of layouts and marketing and even helped my boyfriend publish a novella entitled "Victim's Addiction" independently. Even if I don't do indie publishing again, I've learned a ton about Microsoft word and Calibre.
FMM: In your writing career, who or what do you owe the most to your success?
AS: I'd owe any success I have to anyone who has supported me by reading and critiquing my work (and telling it straight, not just an "it's good!"). My mom was editing my work a lot in my earlier days and she and my dad are my biggest fans, I think.
FMM: Do you have a favorite word? If so, which word, and why?
AS: I've always liked the words "moon" and "pool" mostly just because I like the way they sound. I'm not sure I have a favorite word in a meaningful way. I do have favorite names that tend to pop up a lot in my writing, names I've thought about naming my future kids or honor people close to me who have passed away.
FMM: When you write, do you outline the story from beginning to end or do you create the ending as you progress into the writing process? If you outline the plot, how often does the story turn out completely different then your plan? Or does it come out exactly the same?
AS: I used to write by the seat of my pants, but my narratives have become stronger when they are planned out. They don't always turn out like I've planned, though, as sometimes your characters surprise you. Sometime you have to sit back and let them tell you their stories.
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