While researching her debut novel about Russia’s 1939 invasion of Lithuania, author Ruta Sepetys interviewed survivors, isolated herself in a deportation train car, and endured a prisoner’s immersion experience.
We caught up with her to find out more about the research for Between Shades of Gray.
Q: How important is it for writers to ‘get their hands dirty’ during the research process?
A: I imagine it’s different for every writer. I personally love the immersion experience. If at all possible, I want to see it, hear it, smell it, touch it, and experience the emotions associated. That makes it easier for me to write about it. But I do have to say, I doubt I will ever go the lengths I did to research Between Shades of Gray. I damaged my back during research and spent two years in physical therapy. Next time I don’t need to get my hands that dirty.