Hi Ruta! After reading "Out of the Easy", "Between Shades of Gray", and "Salt to the Sea", I've concluded that Emilia is by far my favorite historical fiction character EVER (though all your characters are spectacular). Her story is so powerful and heartwrenching to me. What inspired you to make her particular story/perspective one of the main focuses of "Salt to the Sea"?
Thank you so much for reading all of my books and specifically commenting on Emilia! She means so much to me. I created the character of Emilia to give voice to those who were never able to tell their story—young women who experienced hardship and horror yet still put others before themselves. Emilia also represents the quiet sacrifice of Poland. Some of the women I interviewed and researched had not spoken of their experience for over fifty years. The shame and sadness they felt had stolen so much, including their voice. I decided the way to support these women was to create a character— a brave, selfless, loving girl—who might inspire discussion, reflection, and hopefully, progress. So to hear that Emilia is your favorite historical fiction character ever makes me cry! :) Thanks again!!