Shared from the 9/15/2022 Clackamas Review eEdition

‘The Ways We Hide’

Happy Valley’s Kristina McMorris weaves illusion, magic into WWII historical fiction


Happy Valley resident Kristina McMorris’ new book hit stores Sept. 6. She plans to start writing a new novel in November.


The new novel from bestselling author Kristina McMorris, “The Ways We Hide,” hit bookstores Sept. 6.

It is McMorris’ eighth book to date, with another novel, an anthology written with two other authors called “When We Had Wings,” set for release in October.

Her previous novel, “Sold on a Monday” spent five months on The New York Times Bestsellers List selling over 1 million copies.››

McMorris was inspired to write “The Ways We Hide” after revisiting her file of potential stories and seeing a photo of a massive tragedy, known as the Italian Hall Disaster, which occurred in 1913 in Michigan’s Copper Country.›

“The image was heart-wrenching, and I was stunned I’d never heard of the tragedy before,” Mc-Morris said. “The photo haunted me for years, but I felt it would be too sad to write a full novel about it. In my folder next to this photo was an article about how the game Monopoly had helped the Allies win WWII.”››

These two unrelated topics took root in McMorris’ mind where she deftly imagined a story about a survivor from the Italian Hall Disaster who becomes an illusionist’s assistant. Obsessed with escape tactics, she is recruited by British military intelligence division MI9 to help design escape and evasion devices.›

“Allied forces had smuggled these ingenious gadgets through care packages and in pastime games to help Allied prisoners of war to escape. When I saw the photo and article together, I realized I had the foundation of a novel. Instead of using the tragedy in Michigan as the story itself, I used it as a backstory for my main character, Fenna,” McMorris said. “In about 15 minutes, I could see the story playing out like a movie in my head and I had about two-thirds of the novel planned.”›

Known as a meticulous researcher, McMorris spent nearly two years writing “Ways” and edited it constantly as she wrote but estimates she did an additional six readthroughs. Her research included topics from magic and illusions (including a deep dive into the life of Harry Houdini), the Dutch resistance, MI9, copper mining and London history. Because there are true events and people in the novel, McMorris did further research to portray them accurately.››

“There’s easily enough research in this book to have created three novels. The research is extensive, and I had no idea what I was getting my-

See BOOK / Page A3 ■ From Page A1

“In about 15 minutes, I could see the story playing out like a movie in my head and I had about two-thirds of the novel planned.”›
— Kristina McMorris, author

self into,” she jokes. “I relied on about 20 experts including a Dutch Holocaust survivor, professional magicians, historians, airmen and numerous linguists because there were at least four languages represented in the book. There was so much history to share and weave through the story. I hope readers will learn something after reading it; I certainly learned researching it.”›

McMorris celebrated the publication of “Ways” with a book signing at Clackamas Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Sept. 6 before embarking on a 15-state book tour. To date, two of her novels have been optioned for film rights and foreign rights have been sold in more than a dozen languages. But McMorris doesn’t take her success for granted. She said she received 50 rejection letters for her first novel, “Letters from Home.”››

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