Meet Kristy Cambron & Her Debut Novel & Giveaway

Cara author interviews 62 Comments

kristyToday I’m delighted to introduce you to a new friend of mine in this writing journey. Kristy Cambron is an author who’s first novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, just released. Her book is the perfect blending of a contemporary and WWII story — but not only is the book WONDERFUL, she’s become a sweet friend who radiates Jesus. I LOVE her debut novel so much I have to share it with you.

Kristy masterfully weaves contemporary and historical storylines together. While this half of the book takes place in Auschwitz, it is laced with hope…and the reality that God is with us anywhere we go. This book is beautiful and haunting. Breath-taking and page-turning. You’ll love it! If you love WWII fiction, you must go buy it immediately!

So Kristy’s here and I want to introduce her to you and tell you more about her book. First, lets all take a moment to enjoy the GORGEOUS cover. Ahhhh. Okay, now onto the interview! Be sure to read to the end so you can enter the giveaway. And stop by Kristy’s site for the other half of this post, a video interview with me.

The Butterfly and the Violin takes readers back to WWII in Austria and a concentration camp. How did you get the idea for this novel?

The idea for Adele’s story had been in the recesses of my heart for more than a decade, since I was a young college student in art school. It was then that I first learned that prisoners created art inside concentration camps – under penalty of death if caught in many circumstances. The majority of the artists did not survive and to this day, most remain unknown. The thought of creating art while facing death made me want to understand it more. I began reading anything I could find on the subject – in particular, Elie Wiesel’s Night had a profound impact on my desire to write this book.  

One element that I loved about this story was the incorporation of art inside the concentration camps. It’s a largely unknown story. Can you give us an example of how people continued to create inside the camps?

I think the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz is just one of many examples. There was an official orchestra where musicians played to survive. I had the unbelievable opportunity to interview a survivor from Auschwitz-Birkenau when researching this book. I asked her about the orchestra – did she remember it? Did she see the musicians? What did the music sound like? She told me something I’ll never forget: each prisoner’s survival story was so unique, so terrifying, that they could have all heard the orchestra and remembered hearing a different song. I think that’s what connected me to Adele’s character most. Her experience had to be unique and so raw in places, but the artistic self-expression was something that united many of the prisoners.

What surprised you most as you researched and wrote this book?

That the art even existed! I learned about the art of Auschwitz more than a decade ago, when completing my undergraduate work in art history. One of my professors began showing slides of watercolors, sketch drawings, even paintings found hidden on the walls inside the camp – and I think every student in that room was shocked to silence. None of us had ever heard of it before.

The heroine had to learn how to love God regardless of what happened to her. Have you walked this same journey?

I’m open about my family’s journey in 2013. It was a year of totally new things – a leukemia diagnosis for my Dad, a first publishing contract, visiting a chemo center for the first time, first book signings and my dream of becoming an author, losing my Dad to cancer… The ups and downs of this life, whatever they are to each of us, they don’t stop when you become a Christian. I think that was a tough thing I had to realize. Being a Christian is not about perfection. It’s messy sometimes. We have hope in Christ, but our faith can be sorely tested when the big storms come. I had to really dig deep this year, and cling to Christ like I never have before. Through the pain of loss, challenges, and the uncertainty that can come in life – they’ve been difficult, but He has made me stronger through them.

What do you hope stays with readers after they close the cover on this novel?

That we’re all in our own journeys through this life. We all have different challenges, struggles, defining moments… I’d love all of us to have God-given strength that is very real in our lives, especially at our weakest moments. I hope readers can see some of themselves in Adele– just like I did in writing her– and know that they can rely on Christ for every one of the barriers that arise in our lives, no matter how large or small. He is a very real, very loving God who has infinite care for the challenges we face.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what’s next for you?

Absolutely! My next book is A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, Book #2 in the Hidden Masterpiece series. The story centers around the children’s art of the Theresienstadt transport camp (also known as Terezín), the Nazis’ propaganda camp north of Prague. It follows a key character from the historical storyline in THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN (which I can’t share because it would be a major Spoiler). It also introduces Kája Makovský, a Czech-born journalist who survives the worst of The London Blitz in 1940, only to be later transported to Terezín when trying to help her family flee Nazi-occupied Prague at the height of the war. Here in the camp, Kája uses her love of art and of storytelling to help the children – all under the age of fifteen – cope through the horrific experiences of the Holocaust. A SPARROW IN TEREZIN will release from Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins Christian Publishing) in April, 2015.

 This is another GREAT cover, Kristy! Where can people connect with you?

Twitter: @kcambronauthor – Facebook: Kristy L. Cambron – GoodReads: Kristy Cambron  Website:

Now for speed-fire round of quick-hit questions:

Favorite food? Italian

Coffee or tea? Yes, please.

World traveler? Not yet – here’s hoping!

Dream vacation? Museum-walking in Paris, while holding my husband’s hand

Favorite movie? Classic 1930s-40s films, Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Favorite TV show? Downton Abbey, Little House on the Prairie

Favorite book? Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and Night by Elie Wiesel

Favorite place to write? Everywhere! I write chapters on my iPhone wherever I am.

Funny quirk? I don’t wear pink

Secret love? NFL football (Go Colts!)

Most memorable Mom-moment? Saying, “Stop playing with the puke bucket!” – more than once

Why I write? Jesus Christ is everything to me, and I want every story to tell someone about Him.

Life verse? Joshua 1:9NIV – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

From reading those answers, I think you can see why Kristy and I are becoming writer friends. We are eerily similar — except for the puke bucket comment! Here’s more about her book, then be sure to read to the end for a giveaway of her book!

“In her historical series debut, Cambron expertly weaves together multiple plotlines, time lines, and perspectives to produce a poignant tale of the power of love and faith in difficult circumstances. Those interested in stories of survival and the Holocaust, such as Eli Weisel’s Night, will want to read.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“. . . debut novelist Cambron vividly recounts interwoven sagas of heartache and recovery through courage, love, art, and faith.” —Publishers Weekly

A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

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Comments 62

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  2. I did not know about the art or music at Auswitch but I am not too surprised as the survivors had to have something to keep them functioning and alive in their nightmare.

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  3. I did not know about the art at Auswitch.I always enjoy reading these author interviews. For one I have found many new authors this way and second I always seem to learn something new. Thank you for sharing and a chance to win. ~ blessings ~

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    2. Hi Lisa – Nice to meet ya! Thanks for stopping by to chat with us today. Cara can back me up on this one: the best part of writing is getting the chance to connect with readers. It’s a blessing that nothing can replace. ; )

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  4. I knew about the art since I am Jewish and I have been reading about the Holocaust for many years. Non-fiction, fiction and many historicals since it is important, meaningful and unforgettable. Do you know about Sir Nicholas Winton.

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  5. I am a history buff, and WWII has always intrigued me. I had read a bit about Auschwitz before, and even toured Mauthausen in Austria. They are fascinating – but devasting – places.

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      Kathryn, the summer we were in Germany we went to Bergen-Belsen, the concentration camp Anne Frank died at. Overwhelming!

      1. I have not yet traveled to Europe. As researchers, we’re fortunate that we can “tour” other locations via YouTube. I do know that when I eventually travel to Europe, I will go to Auschwitz. I’m not sure I’m prepared for the reaction I’ll have. You can be sure I’ll share it when I go.

  6. I don’t think I’d ever heard of the art at Auschwitz before reading about this book, though I’ve read quite a few books about World War II. I love that we can learn more about history through well-researched historical fiction.

    1. Hi Pam ~ Thank you so much! I did most of the research back when I was studying for my undergrad degree. But yes, I love that aspect too. It’s a major reason why I read historical fiction to! : )

  7. My dad fought in WWII, and, as a history teacher, I love that time period. I find the storyline here fascinating, too. I have done arts and crafts (including paintings), and am a writer, too. I would love to win a copy of this book!

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  8. I had never heard of the art! I love history! What an amazing thing to learn. So looking forward to this novel.

  9. It seems to me I remember a tv movie (many years ago) about a violinist in one of the camps-had forgotten about it until I read this tonight.

  10. Historical Christian Fiction is my favorite genre to read. Like many of the others who have commented, I have not heard about the of the art at Auschwitz until I read this blog post. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron is now on my TBR list. I can’t wait to read it!



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  11. I also had never heard about the artwork done in Auschwich. I have heard and read about many other beauties and miracles coming from the prison camps and I stand again in awe of our God who ALWAYS takes what Satan means for evil and turns it into good! So excited to read about these awesome finds through this story! Would absolutely LOVE receiving this give away book!

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  12. I had not heard about this aspect of WWII. I have been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it. I love that authors are bringing out these stories from WWII! They truly are the greatest generation, and we are losing them. It makes me sad! Thank you for telling their stories, so they will live on!

    Stephanie C.

  13. Oh, pretty cover! I’m a cover addict and that one is so pretty! Anyway, I hadn’t heard about the art found at Auschwitz. It’s amazing, that those artists would still create beauty in such a hideous, horrible place. I can’t even imagine what being there must have been like. I doubt that even reading all the books in the world could come anywhere near explaining what experiencing it must have been like.
    There’s a verse, Isaiah 61:3, that talks about God giving beauty for ashes. That’s what I thought of when I read about the art in the concentration camp. Beauty being found in one of the ugliest places on Earth. Beauty for ashes.
    Thanks for an interesting interview! I really enjoyed getting to know Kristy! 🙂

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    2. Sarah ~ I LOVE that verse!

      And yes, I worried about the fact that one could never fully describe what it was like to have been there. I worried for years – “Should I try to write this? Will I get it right?” How could I ever know how to represent it properly? Honestly — I prayed my way through the entire experience. Going into edits for book #2, I’m going to have to do that again. After all, it’s not MY story.

  14. No, I had not heard about the artwork done in Auschwich. What an amazing story… I love hearing about all the amazing stories in history that focus on the good in an awful time! 🙂 Love historical books! Can’t wait to read this book… Have read so many great reviews on it!

    1. I love reading the reviews! So many times I am surprised by what connects with readers. It’s usually things that I hadn’t thought would really mean something, and am so blessed as a result.

  15. Yes, I did, but I am almost positive I learned about it by reading about this book on the author’s blog previously. So I think it is tremendous that she is bringing an awareness to this remarkable piece of history.

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      I love that, Amy. I love learning pieces of history that are new to me through story. Especially when they’re handled as well as Kristy did.

  16. I knew about the orchestra but was unaware of other art being created. I knew that the Nazis would steal anything artistic and squirrel it away…for what purpose, who knows? I also learned quite a while ago about the children creating art at Theresienstadt from some research I was doing on WW2. I am fascinated with the time period, and have even gone so far as to watch documentaries in German and other languages which I do not speak!

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      I didn’t know about the children. Now you’ve got me curious. I spent so much time researching the theft of art by the Germans for Shadowed by Grace. It’s hard to understand what the Nazi plans were.

    2. HI Lisa ~ We sound like kindred history spirits! Book #2 in this series centers around the children’s art in Terezin, also known as Theresienstadt. Have you ever read “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”? It’s more of an art book, but it’s fascinating (and heartbreaking). It was another book that really spoke to me all those years ago when I was in college.

  17. I had not known about the art in the concentration camps. I had heard about the orchestras that were put together, but I had no idea that prisoners created art. It’s so interesting (and sad) to learn about!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! This looks like a really great book!

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  18. I knew about the music, but not concentration camp art except at Thereisenstadt. I found that information a few years ago while doing research on another topic.

  19. I did not know about the art in Auschwitz, but then war era books have not really appealed to me until recently. “For Such a Time” has opened that door for me.

  20. The cover is beautiful. I didn’t know about the art either. I have read other novels that take place during this time and one novel the Lost Wife by Alyson Rickman which also discusses art in the concentration camps.

  21. I did not know about the art before. I am anxious to read The Butterfly and the Violin. World War II is my favorite timeline to read about.

  22. I had no idea! What a lovely thing to find, and hold in high esteem now! Beauty from ashes…such struggles they had, yet they could not quiet the deep inspiration to create beauty in the midst of their misery. God bless them all.

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  24. Can’t wait to read this novel. I was a high school English teacher for 15 years and taught Night. If I had known about the artwork, I would have included that information.

  25. WW II time period has always been interesting to me. I am amazed at the stories and information that we are still finding out about the concentration camps. Kristy Cambron’s books have been put on my must read list!

  26. I had never heard of this before either. I think it is inspiring how some people were able to bring beauty to the very darkest of times.

  27. I remember when I was in Prague, visiting a Holocaust exhibit near the Jewish cemetery, they had one room entirely wallpapered with the drawings of the children in the concentration camps. It was overwhelming.

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