WSIRN Ep 157: The stories behind the stories we love to read

WSIRN Ep 157: The stories behind the stories we love to read

When today’s guest Georgia Hunter started getting curious about her family history, a few questions put to the right relatives uncovered something she didn’t expect -- a sweeping multi-generational drama just begging to be written down. So, she did. That story became We Were the Lucky Ones, a historical fiction novel I talked about with Clara Breitenmoser in Ep 131, and WSIRN Live! from The Novel Neighbor. I am so pleased to have Georgia on the show to talk a little more about how she turned her family’s difficult story into a book that has brought so many people joy and hope.

Let's get to it! 

Connect with Georgia: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Books mentioned in this episode:
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If you'd like to support your local indie, check out And by all means, go grab one of these from your local library!

• Softly Walks the Beast, by Thomas Hunter (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• A Pony Called Lightning, by Miriam E. Mason (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
City of Thieves, by David Benioff (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Girl on the Train, by (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Educated, by Tara Westover (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Suite Française, by Irène Némirovsky (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• The Weight of Ink, by Rachel Kadish (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
And After the Fire, by Lauren Belfer (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Transcription, by Kate Atkinson (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (AmazonBarnes and Noble)

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What do YOU think Georgia should read next? Does your family have a novel-worthy secret history? Let us know in the comments!

11 comments | Comment


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  1. Ruth says:

    I read We Were the Lucky Ones earlier this year and really enjoyed it (if you can say such a thing about the content matter). To have such a family ancestry is such a gift!

  2. Stephanie Towne says:

    I just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz and it was so good. I think this would be an excellent book for Georgia. It is a true story filled with love, hope and even humor in the worst conditions.

  3. Marla Jensen says:

    I loved this episode! We were the Lucky Ones was one of my top ten of last year. I was wondering if Georgia had read any Ruta Sepetys. I really enjoyed both Salt to Sea and Between Shades of Gray and thought she would to.

    • Lillian says:

      I totally agree… She seems to have gone a similar journey of digging into her family history which resulted into 2 books about WWII based in Eastern Europe.

  4. Amy says:

    I hope everyone has read Gerda Weissmann Klein’s All But My Life. Her biography is gut wrenching but hopeful and has been a favorite since my college years. Thanks, Georgia for your work and this book. Love it and have recommended it to many!

  5. Amy says:

    I bet Georgia would like People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. It traces a rare Jewish illuminated manuscript through centuries after it was rescued from bombing in Sarajevo IIRC. I loved it!

  6. Julia says:

    A story that I recently read that reminded me a lot of We Were the Lucky Ones (WWTLO was one of my favorites read last year) was “Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall.” The story came about similarly to Georgia’s experience because the author, the granddaughter, wanted to know about her grandparents. She didn’t realize that they were alive but she would never meet them because of the Berlin Wall. Fascinating look at that time in history through the lens of her family.

  7. Angie says:

    Seeing this episode pop up made me smile BIG!! Our town chose her book as our Community Read (One Book) and I had the chance to hear her speak in Thomasville this month for that same community program. She is phenomenal at her craft of both writing and speaking. I can’t wait to see what she does next!! So excited to listen.

  8. Diane says:

    A great podcast! Thank you. I am so sorry for the loss your family suffered and all the others too during this horrible time.
    Irene Nemirocsky is a fascinating person to learn about. Her and her extremely rich parents(father was a banker) moved to France from Russian during the unrest in the years prior to WW2.
    Irene became a Catholic, hoping to go unnoticed but ultimately she wasn’t taken by surprise when she was finally arrested. Because she had asthma and no medications, her death came fairly quickly.
    Her daughter, Elisabeth Gille, who was five when her mother was arrested wrote two books that are biographical fiction. “Shadows Of a Childhood”, and “The Mirador: Dreamed Memories”. These are tough books but was a way for Elisabeth to work through her loss as an adult looking back to someone she could hardly remember.
    Another book from this time period is The Zoo Keeper’s Wife based on a true store.

  9. Tana Henry says:

    I loved this episode! Such a great one! We Were The Lucky Ones is one of my favorite books of 2018. And these recommendation already went on my TBR list. Thanks Anne and Georgia!

  10. Marcy says:

    Okay, as a fellow bibliophile who tends to dislike unreliable narrators, I have to tell you about the most likable unreliable narrator EVER. And it’s even a WWII novel! Though maybe you’ve read it already…??

    I’m thinking of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It opens with the journal/”confession” of Verity to the Nazis, after being tortured. (The torture is all off screen, as one doesn’t really journal *while* being tortured, so that helps keep it readable, and sort of lighter in tone at the beginning.) She calls herself a coward, and you have no idea how much of what she’s saying is the truth, at least not for a while. So… yeah. And she’s a character you could root for even if she *weren’t* the underdog going up against Nazi torturers! (A contrast that will make most characters likable, I’m guessing…)

    Fair warning, though — there’s a part towards the end that will make you BAWL YOUR EYES OUT. It’s really an amazing book, though, well worth reading when you’re ready to laugh and sob.

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