Serendipity has played a huge role in my book-writing. I wish I could say I always set out to write books that satisfy a conscious curiosity or fulfill a long-standing ambition, but the truth is that a chance meeting will activate some inchoate desire to explore a topic or theme. Before meeting Veryl Goodnight and Roger Brooks in Santa F in 2002, I had given no thought to writing about buffalo or the American West. Before meeting Sophie Turner-Zaretsky at a Passover seder in 2010, the thought of writing about the Holocaust had not crossed my mind. Afterwards, I felt oddly destined to write her story and those of two other hidden child survivors, and, in doing so, remedy a nagging ignorance about the destruction of my own people during World War II.
Here again, as with A Buffalo, I was drawn to the repercussions of the traumatic past on the present. While the vast majority of Holocaust books concentrate on the Holocaust experience itself, in the case of Such Good Girls I sought to tell not just the stories of how three girls survived the Holocaust in three different countries, but how the horrors of their childhoods affected them—and other hidden child survivors, the last living eyewitnesses to Hitler’s Final Solution—throughout their lives. Researching Such Good Girls and interviewing the subjects in depth was emotionally taxing, though of course nothing compared to the tragic realities of my subjects’ heroic lives.