She was a teenager when she learned she came from a family of Holocaust survivors. Ever since, Hunter, 38, has felt a desire to both explore and share her family's history. After years of compiling memories from relatives and traveling thousands of miles, to France, Brazil, Poland and beyond, Hunter is seeing the release of We Were the Lucky Ones. It is a historical novel based on her family's experiences.
She explained her decision to fictionalize the family history.
"It was during the early drafts that I started realizing that if I allowed myself to dive a little deeper into the individuals' thought processes and conversations and emotional journeys (through fiction) it would allow readers to feel even more immersed in the story."
The book was named a Glamour "Best Book to Read in 2017'' and a February pick by LibraryReads, a monthly list compiled by U.S. librarians.
What's on your nightstand?
I just finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I hosted a December book club and it provoked great conversation. With the election, it brought up a lot of conversation about the surprise turn of events and helped us understand the thoughts and culture of a subset of Americans. It was a peek into their lifestyle and mindsets that I think none of us understood before. It was told in such an honest way. J.D. Vance, who grew up in that culture and went on to get an Ivy League degree, was saying, "These are my people, and I love them, and I will always love them."
Did you walk away with more compassion or less?
I'd say more understanding and that with understanding comes compassion. I also have finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. I absolutely adored it. She's an advice columnist. Her own life experiences have been so broad. She's able to answer questions in the most raw and helpful way. It's a great book to have by your bedside because you can read it in pieces.
Contact Piper Castillo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Florida_PBJC.