Ruta Sepetys's most recent young adult novel is Salt to the Sea. From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Salt to the Sea?--Marshal Zeringue
A: My father's cousin knows that I love hidden history and underrepresented stories. She told me about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff and I was passionate to write not only about the single largest maritime disaster in history, but about the refugee evacuation as well.
Q: You write from the perspectives of four different characters. How did you settle on these characters, and what did you do to differentiate their voices?
A: As I was researching the novel, I traveled to many different countries. I quickly learned that even if human beings experience the same event, they all have different interpretations because we all look through our own unique lens. So I created characters to represent the various lenses I encountered.
Differentiating their voices was...[read on]