Burning Distance 

by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman 

(Oceanview Publishing, March 2023)

Interview by Doris Booth

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet— set against the backdrop of deadly weapons smuggling before and after the Gulf War.

In our video conversation, author Joanne Leedom-Ackerman talks about the difficulties in writing a complex story, the process of re-writing, and how she persevered to become the successful author of several fiction and non-fiction works, along with a number of essays.

In Burning Distance, after ten-year-old Elizabeth West’s father dies in a tragic plane crash over the Persian Gulf, her family uproots their life in Washington, D.C., and moves to London. Her mother marries a knighted British businessman who has two children, and Elizabeth (Lizzy) and her two sisters move in with their new family.

At age sixteen, while attending the American School of London, Lizzy meets and falls in love with Adil Hasan— but when Adil’ s father, a noted arms middleman, is deported, Lizzy and Adil are separated.

Lizzy’ s family has also become involved with French-German industrialist Gerald Rene Wagner. Little does she know that Adil’ s family has ties to the man, as well. When a member of her family is murdered in Berlin under mysterious circumstances, questions surface about Wagner’ s dealings, and Lizzy reexamines what really may have happened to her father. All the while, she endeavors to reunite with her lost love, Adil, and reclaim the connection that was ripped away.

Set in the years before and after the first Gulf War, Burning Distance is a journey through family secrets and competing loyalties, contemporary history, and the dark world of arms trafficking.

Jane Austen meets John le Carré in this cross-cultural love story and political thriller

About the author

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist. Her works of fiction include upcoming novels Burning Distance and The Far Side of the Desert and also The Dark Path to the River and No Marble Angels. She has published PEN Journeys: Memoir of Literature on the Line and was the editor for The Journey of Liu Xiaobo: From Dark Horse to Nobel Laureate. Former International Secretary of PEN International, she is a Vice President of PEN International and a former board member and Vice President of PEN American Center. She also serves on the boards of Refugees International, the International Center for Journalists, the American Writers Museum and Words Without Borders and is an emeritus director of Poets and Writers, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and Human Rights Watch. She is an emeritus trustee of Brown University and Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Texas Institute of Letters. A former reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, Joanne has taught writing at New York University, City University of New York, Occidental College and the University of California at Los Angeles extension.

Encouraging take always for authors:

💡Never give up on your book idea.

💡Immerse yourself in research for your book.

💡Go to the places you are writing about.