Monday, April 18, 2022

Interview With Holocaust Memoirist Anna Salton Eisen



Anna Salton Eison’s memoir, PILLAR OF SALT: A Daughter’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust, publishes on April 26th, two days before Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here is a stirring interview with the author of a very moving book:


1.      What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into this book? I am a child of Holocaust survivors and grew up in a home where the Holocaust was not spoken of. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I came across two watercolor paintings that showed horrific scenes of the Holocaust. This was the start of my personal journey to learn about my parents’ past which I wanted to claim as my own. I studied on my own, became a docent in a Holocaust Museum and eventually confronted my father and asked him to share his story. We traveled as a family to Poland, to the sites of Holocaust memorials, concentrations camps, the city where he had been in the ghetto, to his hometown and even his boyhood home.  Returning from this trip I was changed. I grew closer to my father and helped him write his Holocaust memoir, The 23rd Psalm. Years later, I recorded my own Holocaust journey, because the Holocaust should not fade into silence but be passed down to give us the lessons that will hopefully inspire us to fight hate and treat others with respect and compassion. 

2. What is it about and who is it for? The book is divided into three parts. The first section is about my emergence from the innocence of childhood as I began to learn about the Holocaust and how history was changed, and how my family was murdered by the Nazis. The second section is like a travel diary that records the emotional and intimate journey my family took through Poland and my father’s role as guide as he shared his own personal stories. The third part tells of the miraculous connections made with children of Holocaust survivors my father was with in concentration camps as well as families of the small group of American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne that liberated him. The book is for anyone who wants to learn about a family’s search for their hidden past, about trauma and how we need each other to integrate and find light after periods of pain and darkness. 

3. What takeaways might the reader will be left with after reading it? The Holocaust was an immense 12-year period that involved more than 20 nations and resulted in the death of millions of people. After reading this memoir, my hope is that the reader will see this time in history through the eyes of one family and see how we are changed and challenged by the past and how love, understanding and kindness helped my father to face and share his terrible past and find healing by our acceptance and love. 

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?  During the years of my search, I was warned not to delve into the Holocaust. My family was worried about how it might affect my father who had spent the years since the war trying to bury his grief and how it might affect me to learn of the immense and tragic events that are filled with brutality and suffering.  But I was compelled to look back as in the biblical story where Lot’s wife looks back. Unlike Lot’s wife, I did not turn into a pillar of salt for doing so but found strength learning of my father’s and other survivors’ courage and resilience. The cover design seeks to illustrate how I as a little girl held onto my father’s hand for guidance and protection but that our relationship was always clouded by family secrets and the unspoken grief that he carried alone in his heart. 

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? My advice would be to open yourself up and tell your truth without worrying about how it might be received. There is a saying that what comes from the heart goes to the heart. To write as if you were sharing the story with one person, that reader who you trust with your innermost secrets and feelings. I believe in the power of storytelling and would encourage other writers to be brave and believe in themselves. 

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Because of the pandemic, there are lots of delays, shortages, and problems in the printing world. This may make publishers more restrictive on how many books they can publish. It is also harder to travel and have in-person events. I think that the industry will need to rely and promote more electronic versions of books and virtual events to bring writers and readers together. 

7. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? I had written the manuscript many years ago and then my father became ill, and I decided not to pursue publishing. A sole paper copy was forgotten in my home. My son, also a writer, found it and convinced me to rework it with him and get it published. He had also traveled with my parents to Poland, and he helped me to tell the story and use his writing gifts to make our collaboration rewarding and successful. 

8. How would you describe your writing style? I would say my writing style is simple and straightforward. My sentences and sentiments are not complicated. I try to bring the reader into my shoes and give them a sense of my experiences and emotions. 

9. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? My hope is that this book will touch people’s hearts and remind them of how important our families and connections to our past can be.  In this age of technology and isolation, I tried to bring a personal story that is honest and reveals both loss and healing. I hope it inspires and helps others to deal with the struggles we all face in life.


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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: 

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