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Katrina ShawverKatrina Shawver<div class="ExternalClass4FED394EF008456A99D01C1C11B79DDE"><h2><a href="" target="_blank">​Henry​</a> by Katrina Shawver<br></h2><p><br></p><div>Katrina Shawver is a writer, experienced public speaker, and history geek. She wrote for the <em>Arizona Republic</em> newspaper for eleven years. During that time, she met Henry Zguda, a Polish Catholic survivor of German concentration camps, and soon offered to write his incredible story.   </div><div> </div><div>In 2018 The Polish American Congress - Arizona division awarded Katrina their Polish Heritage Award for “her contribution to the documentation of the suffering inflicted on Polish people during the Holocaust.” She is a Road Scholar for Arizona Humanities, the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities for 2019-2021 and served as the Writer in Residence for the Glendale Public Library. Additionally, her book garnered First Place for Published Nonfiction in the 2018 Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest. </div><div><br></div><div>Katrina has answered phones for a forensic psychiatrist, ridden in a hot air balloon, hiked the Grand Canyon three times, and lost her car keys more times than she can count. She still dreams of the day sweet potato fries count as a vegetable. A reader at heart, she loves curling up with a good book and a glass of Merlot by her side. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. </div><h3><br></h3><h3>What prompted you to write this book? <br></h3><div>Pure instinct. The story came to me unexpectedly and stayed with me for reasons I cannot explain. I met Henry Zguda through a phone tip. He was eighty-five-years-old, with no one to leave his stories of Auschwitz and World War II to. Soon after we met, I offered to write his story, and we became close friends. I became determined to tell a story that represented a less-recognized portion of history in this country – that of Poland and Poles during World War II. The story called to me and the right people came into my life at the right time. He died a year after we met, so it was meant to be.   </div><div><br></div><h3>What attracted you to this genre: romance, mystery, non-fiction, etc.?    <br></h3><div>I am drawn to nonfiction, or historical novels based on true events. History is our culture - part of who we are and where we came from. When I am writing, real life is often crazier than anything I could dream up. As someone fascinated by people, I was always drawn to biographies. Through those books I learned about Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, the Von Trapp Family singers, Anne Frank, and so many others. Even the <em>Little House on the Prairi</em><em>e</em> books I read as a child are stories based on the author’s life. I have always had this sense that history is about people, not dates and battles - what they experienced, how they survived, and what they endured. Unless written down, their stories will be lost.  <br></div><div><br></div><h3>Are any of the characters in your book based on real people and if so, who? <br></h3><div>My book is WWII nonfiction. Everyone in <em>Henry</em> are real people.  </div><div><br></div><h3>What type of research did you do to write your book? </h3><div>The burden of proof and accuracy in nonfiction is especially non-negotiable, just as when I wrote for the newspaper. In my case, I began with almost no knowledge of Poland, Polish history, or the details and intricacies of what it meant to be a survivor of a concentration camp, especially from the perspective of prisoners outside the category of Jewish. It took years of reading similar memoirs, texts, researching photo archives, and even travel to Poland and Germany to verify information. I came across original documents in German, French, and Polish. A significant part of the research included translation of dozens of documents, including 130 original documents from Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. </div><div><br></div><h3>What book are you currently reading? <br></h3><div><em>The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek</em> by Kim Michele Richardson. Next I will read <em>The Giver of Stars: A Novel</em> by Jojo Moyes. Both novels are based on pack horse librarians in 1930s Kentucky.  </div><h3><br></h3><h3>Are you writing anything now? If so, when will it come out? </h3><div>I still blog on my website and write in short form on various writing websites. I’m still looking for the next great survivor story. I have several ideas I am working through, but none to announce at this time.  </div><h3><br></h3><h3>If you weren't a writer, what would you do? </h3><div>Few people are only writers including me. Through outside lives we all bring those experiences and views to our writing. The question is more what else would I do in addition to writing? In addition to writing and blogging, I have worked in software support, as a paralegal, tax preparation, and answered phones for a forensic psychiatrist. Today, in addition to writing, I am actively pursuing items on my “bucket list,” especially now that my children are adults. Life is short, so I want to experience as much as I can. Professionally, I think being a librarian, or a high school history teacher, and sharing a passion for literacy and access to information would be rewarding and worthwhile.  <br></div><div><br></div><h3>Do you use your local library?  If so, which library is it and what do you do there? </h3><div>I have been a Friend of the Phoenix Public Library since 1993 and love to support other local libraries. I can often be found using the Ironwood branch, near my home in Ahwatukee. I also love how many resources are available through every library’s website.   ​<br></div><p><br></p></div>





Henry by Katrina ShawverHenry by Katrina Shawver

















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