Lisa Barr's resume is as colorful as the cover of her new book. The Deerfield native's career spans from international hard-hitting journalism, to author of a World War II novel to blogger of the secret lives and problems of suburban housewives.
Her new novel, Fugitive Colors, which won first prize at the Hollywood Film Festival for "Best Unpublished Manuscript," and debuted on Amazon in April, is a suspenseful tale of an artist's revenge after World War II. Julian Klein, a young Jewish American artist, leaves behind his religious upbringing for the artistic freedom of Paris in the 1930s, only to find himself trapped inside a world in which a paintbrush is far more lethal than a gun.
Barr's website GIRLilla Warfare: A Mom's Guide to Surviving the Suburban Jungle (www.girlillawarfare.com) launched in May.
Barr, a Solomon Schechter graduated who grew up in Northbrook, was an editor at the Jerusalem Post for five years, where she covered Middle East politics, lifestyle, and terrorism. Among the highlights of her career, she covered the famous handshake between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and President Bill Clinton at the White House.
Barr later served as the managing editor of Moment magazine in Washington, D.C. and Today's Chicago Woman and also launched a women's section for the Chicago Sun Times. "I always say I've covered everything from terrorism to cleavage, basically," Barr said. "I covered hard hitting stories as well as a lighter side: celebrities, sex and relationships."
Barr, the mother of three teenage daughters, started the manuscript for Fugitive Colors (GIRLilla Warfare Press, LLC) while on bed rest when she was pregnant with her first child. "Before I left for Israel, I was 150 pages into another manuscript, also historical suspense, and I ended up going to see this exhibit at the Art Institute and it was on degenerate art," Barr said. "I was literally blown away. I stopped in my tracks and I said this is the period that I need to write this novel. The novel is about three friends, three artists and the backdrop is the Holocaust of art. As you know Hitler was an artist and so were all of his henchmen and he actually went after the artists and the intelligentsia first before he went after the Jews and the communists and the homosexuals and everyone else. He really went hard after expressionist and modern artists."
The book was really written over several years and after several more years, she decided to dust it off and bring it back to life.
Her website, GIRLilla Warfare, showcases Barr's other side. The site, which serves as a moms' guide, launched in May. Barr writes several times and edits posts submitted by other moms about marriage, parenting, divorce and sex. "It's a bit racy, a bit R-rated, but it's a lot of fun," she said.
Barr says that being Jewish is a strong part of her identity. "Pretty much in everything I do, my Jewishness is with me," she said. Barr's personal hero is her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. "I feel I've gotten so much of my spirit from her. She's definitely my muse and my inspiration."
As she is busy with her three daughters, promoting her book and her new website, Barr is also hard at work on her next book, which will be more personal in nature.
Catch Lisa Barr at JUF's Young Women's Board Fall Perspectives event held at a private home in Glencoe, at 7 p.m., Thursday Oct. 18. For more information visitwww.juf.org/women. In addition to the soft cover and Kindle version on Amazon.com, Fugitive Colors is now available at the Illinois Holocaust Museum Legacy Shop, Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, and area bookstores including the Book Bin in Northbrook; the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka; and Books on Vernon in Glencoe.