Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Leora Krygier Interview - Do Not Disclose

Photo Content from Leora Krygier 

Leora Krygier is a former Los Angeles Superior Court, Juvenile Division judge. She’s the author of When She Sleeps (Toby Press), which was lauded for its “luminous prose” (Newsweek) and praised by Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus. It was also a New York Public Library Selection for “Best Books for the Teen Age.” She’s also the author of Juvenile Court: A Judges Guide for Young Adults and their Parents (Rowan & Littlefield) and Keep Her (She Writes Press), a young adult novel reviewed as a “vibrantly dazzling literary cocktail on the restorative powers of love.” She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, David.


Where were you born and where do you call home? 
I was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, grew up in Philadelphia, lived in Paris and Saint Tropez and now call Los Angeles home. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I’ve had wonderful trade and reader reviews for all my books, but my most cherished review came from my daughter who also appears as a teen in my memoir, Do Not Disclose. With two kids of her own now, she said the mother-daughter relationships described in the book really spoke to her. It was the best review I could have received. 

What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
Even as a child, my favorite things were to read books, write little book reviews and write stories and poems. Life intervened and I ended up going to law school, becoming a lawyer and a judge. In my early forties and while still working, I decided I needed to go back to my first love, writing, finding a small space between a wall and the washing machine in my utility room and started writing.

Tell us your latest news. 
I was so honored to receive a Kirkus Starred Review for this memoir. 

Can you tell us when you started DO NOT DISCLOSE, how that came about? 
After I found a W.W. II postcard in a Los Angeles thrift store back in 2003, I started a journal chronicling my journey about trying to find the soldier who wrote it. It took me a year (and three journals) to find him and return the postcard to his family in 2004. I wrote a couple of fictionalized versions over the years, but never felt it was quite right as fiction. Three years ago I decided to write it as a non-fiction memoir, with a parallel story of my own family’s history, and although it was much harder to do so, including names of real people, I felt it was the right way to tell the story. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope my readers will find my personal journey universal to them. In every family, there are secrets buried away, but secrets always have a way of coming out. Today, with DNA testing such as 23 and Me, people are learning about family members long hidden away - brothers, sisters and biological parents they never knew existed. I’ve always felt that no matter how difficult the secret is to absorb, we become better with its discovery. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
The single worst distraction was the worry that people included in the memoir and still alive might feel uncomfortable with the publication of this memoir. I wanted to tell my truth, but not hurt anyone in the process. One thing I learned during my years as an attorney and judge was that not everyone’s “truth” is the same

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Get in a car, train, or plane and not know your destination. Just go! 

Best date you've ever had? 
First date with the man who was to become my husband, a magical ride in a two seater car, driving up a narrow mountain path to Jerusalem. 

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
I would go back to the time I lived in Saint Tropez and relive the sea, the sky, the vespas, the charm of the town (but not during tourist season ;-) 

First Heartbreak? 
First boyfriend. Aren’t they always? You are usually too young to realize he’s not for you. 

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had
It was one summer job when I was a teen, working as a volunteer in a pediatric ward of a hospital. Eye-opening, heart-breaking, and uplifting. It’s a job that makes you count your blessings. 

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love of course. Even with true love, there are always heart breaks, big and small alike.

Anytime I’m travelling, I’m inspired to write a book with that particular place as a setting. Some locations stay tucked away in my head for future reference. Others have appeared in my books: 
  • Paris, France - Avenue Mozart, Metro Jasmin, bakeries and busybody concierges. 
  • Venice, Italy - the Dorsoduro District, which is the University District, canals and stone bridges, watermarks on buildings 
  • Tel-Aviv, Israel - the area called “The White City,’ a world heritage site with rounded Bauhaus architecture 
  • Los Angeles, California - the San Fernando Valley (where I live now) , dry, fire prone, Santa Ana winds, bordered by two mountain ranges. 
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - (where I grew up) the western suburbs, green, full of creeks and American history. 
  • Barcelona, Spain - vibrant, motorcycles buzzing everywhere, the sea, Gaudi architecture, and the remnants of bull fights. 
  • London, England - a maze of intersecting streets, history, royalty, theater, museums and the snaking Thames River.
  • Somewhere in Scotland - castles, endless vistas of green, lochs, the North Sea and a wealth of history, folktales and ghosts. 
  • Jerusalem, Israel - the center of the earth, home to three religions, mystical, ancient, evolving. Savannah, Georgia - a succession of planned parks leading to the river and port, hundred years houses built to find any breeze that might arise in the humidity of the South. 
  • New Orlean, Louisiana - the flavor of a leftover French colony, street jazz, voodoo cemeteries, open-air markets and chicory coffees paired with beignets.
Writing Behind the Scenes 
My process is a bit eclectic. When I think of starting a book, typically a novel, I usually write one chapter out in long-hand, to see if it at all has any legs. If it does, I type it out as a Word Doc, and interestingly, that first chapter often becomes a mid-book chapter and not the first. 

I also don’t always have an ending in mind. I view the writing process as a journey and like having my characters and story lead me wherever they want to go. Only later, when the story is complete do I take a long and detailed overview, adding and subtracting. 

During the process, I use my iPhone to take notes and also to take a lot of photographs. Taking photographs helps me focus not only on locations but the “observational” nature of writing. Writers are essentially “photographers” of situations and people. I’ve written articles about how taking photos can help in making one a better writer. 

As to research - I’m afraid I’m a bit of a research geek, sometimes wasting too much time going down online rabbit holes. But in the end, every rabbit hole seems to add some unexpected detail to the process.

Leora, a juvenile court judge, wife, mother, and daughter, is caught in the routine of work, taking care of her family and aging parents. But she’s also a second-generation Holocaust survivor. It’s an identity she didn’t understand was hers until she accidentally discovered a secret file of handwritten notes addressed to her father. A further discovery of a seemingly random WWII postcard in a thrift store sets her on a collision course with the past in this lyrical memoir about secrets hidden within secrets, both present-day and buried deep within wartime Europe.

You can purchase Do Not Disclose at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LEORA KRYGIER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Do Not Disclose by Leora Krygier.


  1. My daughters obituary. I want it there

  2. The meaning of my Daddy's name. He moved to Heaven in 2012.

  3. My wife's bank machine pin for emergencies.

  4. Honestly, I don't carry anything unique in my wallet. It's just the usual, CC's, GC's, insurance card, drivers license and I always like to have a little bit of cash on me.

  5. I dont at all just the usual stuff money

  6. Old version of my American birth certificate card in French.