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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

Lots of guest blogs this week! If you're a regular here, you've met Katia before. I'm hooked on her books!

 

 

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becke_davis
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Katia's Bio:

 

Katia Lief

 

The first thing I ever wrote that received any notice was a one page story for my third grade English teacher. I don't recall what the assignment was, but I somehow found myself writing about a woman at a dinner party who suddenly realizes her teeth are invisible. She sits there, wedged between two chattering guests, wondering how she will eat, how she will talk, and generally how she will get out of the situation without having to open her mouth and reveal her dilemma. My teacher showed the story to my parents with a note to this effect:Katia could be a writer.

What if her note had instead encouraged me to be a dentist?

But it didn't. And so here I am.

I've been at it for a while and so far have published under three different names, in this order: Katia SpiegelmanKate PepperKatia Lief. At this point the best explanation I have for this triumvirate of identities can be found in my essay What's in a Name? which was mostly an attempt to explain it to myself.

Now, here, for you, in three nutshells:

Katia Spiegelman is the girl who was born in France to American parents, a musician and a teacher; who grew up along the East Coast with an older sister and younger brother; fled a boarding school by enrolling at Simon's Rock Early College at the age of fifteen; graduated from Sarah Lawrence College at the age of nineteen...and then ran off to Paris for lack of a better idea. Half a year later she returned to New York, got a job in publishing, followed by many other jobs in all kinds of businesses, earned a master's degree in literature and creative writing, and published two novels.

Kate Pepper is the front-woman who brought forth thrillers, when Katia Spiegelman had added Lief to her last name and decided the best way to stay home with her kids was to turn her love of writing into a paying job. Kate got the hang of it over four books, and then Katia decided it was time to take over...or as she told her husband, Oliver Lief, "I need to integrate."

Katia Lief is me: mother, novelist, teacher, reader, traveler, wise-cracker, insomniac, early morning grouch.

I have loved writing every one of my novels, and hope you will enjoy reading them.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

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becke_davis
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

Vanishing Girls  

 

Vanishing Girls

 

Overview

 

For two years the "Working Girl Killer" hunted in Manhattan, brutally slaughtering nine city prostitutes.

 

And now the fiend has crossed the river.

 

Former cop-turned-p.i. Karin Schaeffer receives the call meant for her detective husband Mac on a Sunday night: two females found on a Brooklyn street. The first is an eleven-year-old girl, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run. But it's the second body that truly chills the blood—a young corpse bearing the grisly, unmistakable signature of a serial slayer who has eluded the NYPD for years.

 

But there's something frighteningly different about these latest atrocities—a kink that is leading Schaeffer's unofficial investigation down strange and twisting alleys where nothing is as it originally seems. And the haunted p.i., who once lost everything to a psychopath, is suddenly facing the darkness once again . . . when the horror strikes too close to home and those she loves are in danger of vanishing forever.

 

 

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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Katia Lief 

 

Today my newest novel VANISHING GIRLS was published, and as always I'm being asked a lot of questions about what the book is about.  And hey, what about that title?  Girls, vanishing?  From where, and why?

It's a crime novel, so your imagination can run pretty wild with possibilities.  Here's how the official promotional copy reads:

Girls are vanishing off the streets of New York City, and young women are being murdered. When the violence descends on Karin Schaeffer's and Mac MacLeary's comfortable Brooklyn neighborhood, and their best friend becomes the lead investigator, they are drawn into the bewildering series of crimes.

On it's surface, the novel is the third installment in the Karin Schaeffer thriller series about a former-detective-turned-private-investigator and her detective-husband Mac.  But on its deepest level, once all the layers are pulled back, it's a story about human trafficking.

I'd read many articles about human trafficking.  Then, a couple of years ago, I read a book called HALF THE SKY: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  It was an eye-opener.  Their excellent book is about much more than the international commercial sex trade, but being a crime writer, I found myself turning to the darkest part of their investigation.  I started researching, consumed a lot of statistics, and was horrified by the inhumanity of the math.

 

About three million women and girls, and a small number of boys, are enslaved worldwide in the commercial sex trade.  Annually, huge numbers of people vanish from their homes and villages and end up physically and chemically restrained in brothels.

 

Another number that jumped out at me was that a brothel-enslaved girl will have about ten "customers" a day, seven days a week.  That's seventy men ready, willing and able to pay for sex with a child.  Keep doing the math, and you'll figure out that that's over three thousand individual men per year, each of whom makes a conscious decision to sexually abuse a single child as casually as buying a new pair of socks.  Multiply one girl's annual "clientele" by three million--the estimated number of enslaved women and girls around the world-- and the number of men participating in this horrendous activity explodes to over thirty million.

 

Ironically, it's the girls and women--the victims--who have traditionally been demonized as the root cause of the sex trade.  But I asked myself:  Who are these customers, these men, whose patronage of this rampant commercial victimization of children and women allows it to thrive?  And how is it that certain cultures allow such brutality to be normalized?  It's just not possible that all those men, as individuals, are evil people.  So how has it come about that these men are culturally reinforced to objectify so many people in such a cruel manner and in such grotesque numbers?  And what can be done to transform the way whole societies perceive long-accepted modes of behavior?

 

Because I'm a novelist, everything that upsets me, interests me, intrigues me, and consumes me ends up in the books I write.  I decided to look into the facts about domestic, U.S.-based trafficking, and while the numbers aren't nearly as staggering, the problem exists here as well.  Of the approximately seven-hundred thousand people trafficked out of the U.S. each year, the vast majority are women and girls forced into the commercial sex trade.  Looking closer to home, I learned that my own city, New York, is also no stranger to trafficking.  I read and discovered some appalling facts about where some of these victims end up, and how they get there, and the seeds of my novel were planted.  I set the story in my own neighborhood in Brooklyn as a way of emphasizing how close to home this hidden but vast problem really is, and how important it is for all of us to open our eyes and start thinking of ways to reinvent inhuman cultural attitudes and practices whenever, and wherever, we find them.

 

VANISHING GIRLS is a story about people whose lives are disrupted by a series of vexing crimes in their own neighborhood.  As Karin, Mac and their best friend, Detective Billy Staples, seek to unravel a tangle of mysteries, they find themselves caught in a net they didn't see.  It's a novel:  pure fiction; pure, that is, except for where it overlaps with bitter truths.

 

If you'd like to learn more about the novel, please visit my website

 

 

To learn more about sex trafficking, and what you can do to help, visit the website for Half the Sky:  http://www.halftheskymovement.org/campaigns/sex-trafficking

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

One of my favorite aspects of this board is that it exposes me to authors I've never heard of before.  Part of me feels like a shmuck, but the other part is estatic that I have so much out there to read.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!


Ryan_G wrote:

One of my favorite aspects of this board is that it exposes me to authors I've never heard of before.  Part of me feels like a shmuck, but the other part is estatic that I have so much out there to read.


Ryan - You should never feel like a schmuck about missing new authors! New books are published every day. (It used to be every week, but now with self-publishing, it is - literally - every day.) I don't think ANYONE can keep up with them all!

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Ryan_G
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Thanks!  Now I don't feel so bad :-)


becke_davis wrote:

Ryan_G wrote:

One of my favorite aspects of this board is that it exposes me to authors I've never heard of before.  Part of me feels like a shmuck, but the other part is estatic that I have so much out there to read.


Ryan - You should never feel like a schmuck about missing new authors! New books are published every day. (It used to be every week, but now with self-publishing, it is - literally - every day.) I don't think ANYONE can keep up with them all!


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

Wow, what a blog! Very eye-opening to human trafficking. Loved your blog, Katia...I'm glad you were here today.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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becke_davis
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maxcat wrote:

Wow, what a blog! Very eye-opening to human trafficking. Loved your blog, Katia...I'm glad you were here today.


Katia was hesitant to write her blog on such a dark topic, but I told her to go ahead with it. I think this subject has been swept under the carpet too much in the past.

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lovesreading1
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Re: Guest Blog by Author KATIA LIEF!

Thanks, maxcat. Glad you appreciated the post. It's such an important subject, despite being difficult And thanks, Becke, for your entouragment.
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KatiaLief wrote:
Thanks, maxcat. Glad you appreciated the post. It's such an important subject, despite being difficult And thanks, Becke, for your entouragment.

KatiaLief wrote:
Thanks, maxcat. Glad you appreciated the post. It's such an important subject, despite being difficult And thanks, Becke, for your entouragment.

Was it hard staying in that world while you were writing the book?