The novel is based on your grandfather’s family’s experiences in Poland during the Holocaust. Why was this a story you needed to tell?

Growing up, I had no idea that [fleeing the Holocaust] was a piece of my grandfather’s past. He had chosen to put it behind him. I discovered it at this age when I was figuring out who I was and where I came from. So part of it was my personal journey in self-discovery. The other part was, the more I researched it, the more I realized that this was a story unlike any story I’d ever heard. I mean, the whole town of Radom, Poland, where my family was from, had about 30,000 Jews before the war, and less than 300 survived. For an entire family to have survived—and they didn’t survive together, too, they survived scattered—was remarkable.

Read more: Picking Up the Pieces: Publishers Weekly Talks with Georgia Hunter.