The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry – A Berlin Guide from Pagan & Giveaway

Posted 31 July, 2015 by Danny in Blog, Blog Tour, Danny, Giveaways / 9 Comments

Happy Friday my friends and today I have the most awesome post ever! The Notorious Pagan Jones is set in Berlin, which is the German Capital and therefore I jumped at the chance to ask Pagan (or. Nina… ) for a Guide to visit Berlin! 

And Nina .. (uhm… Pagan) came with an amazing and fantastic Guide not only to visit Berlin, but also guides us through the book, which truly is phenomenal!! 


Pagan Jones’s Guide to Berlin

When Pagan Jones arrives in Berlin early August, 1961, the city is divided and movement between East and West Berlin is somewhat controlled, but there is no Wall.

By the time she leaves, the Wall has gone up. The world will never be the same.

If Pagan were around today, here are the sights she’d tell you to see, and the context in which she saw them that fateful month of August, 1961.


  1. Berlin Wall Memorial


When you visit:

Around one a.m. on August 13, 1961, East German troops began stringing barbed wire down the middle of Bernauer Strasse, and many other streets in the city. Life in Berlin, in Germany, in the world, would never be the same. This memorial and nearby museum on that ill-fated street are a must-see to learn what life in a divided Berlin was like.

When you read the book:

This memorial is only a few blocks from the exact spot where Pagan Jones attempts to get people she loves out of East Berlin the night the Wall went up. I envisioned that perilous moment taking place where Ruppiner Strasse crosses Bernauer Strasse, which this memorial will lead you through. If you’ve read the book, it’s the scene where she approaches soldiers as they unroll the barbed wire and man a nearby machine gun.

Several other key scenes take place in this neighborhood, which was in East Berlin at the time, including the one where Pagan has a flashback to the accident that killed her father and sister. Just a few blocks away on Wolliner Strasse is where I put the imaginary apartment of Thomas Kruger and his family. That street runs along the Arkonaplatz, a park where Pagan glimpses children playing and has a run-in with the East German police aka the Volkspolizei or vopos. The park is in a much better state now than it was in 1961, and with its towers, tunnels, and trampolines, could be a great place to take kids. There’s even a flea market on Sundays.

The Berlin Wall memorial is free, and open daily except Mondays from 10a.m. to 6p.m. Official website, in English:

2. Tiergarten

berlin_tiergarten_bismarck_nationaldenkmal_historisch_64da308983_978x1304xinWhen you visit:

Take a break from grim reminders of the past in this verdant, beautiful former hunting ground, now the biggest and most popular park in the heart of Berlin. Visit the Zoo and the memorials, picnic, ride bikes. In the winter ice skate on its frozen lakes.

When you read the book:

Pagan and Devin drive through this lovely wooded part of the city on their way from Tegel airport (still in use, although the old terminal is now only used by the military) to the Hilton (which has since moved from its 1961 location on Budapester Straße). During World War II, the Tiergarten was stripped bare for firewood and planted with vegetables, but in the mid-fifties it was replanted, and many memorials restored, and its now back to its former glory.


I wrote a scene for the book where Pagan and Devin banter while the go wading in one of the ponds in the Tiergarten. But it didn’t push the plot along so I cut it. I highly recommend you go bantering and wading there yourself if you can.


More info in English here:


  1. Victory Column

SiegessäuleWhen you visit:

While you’re exploring the Tiergarten, stop by the Victory Column (Siegessäule in German) set in the midst of the park. The huge, gilded statue on top was erected to commemorate major military victories in the 1800s, and is affectionately known by locals as Goldenelse (“Golden Lizzy”).

Take the underground tunnels planned by Nazi architect Albert Speer beneath the surrounding streets, then climb to the top of the column for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city. Admission is free.

When you read the book:

The statue commemorates 19th century victories over the Danish, the French, and Austria, but by the time Devin points it out to Pagan in 1961, Germany had suffered devastating defeats in two World Wars and was still rebuilding. As it says in the book:

Pagan said nothing as they circled the monument’s red granite base. A lot of wars had come and gone since then. The Germans sure wouldn’t be erecting a victory column to commemorate the last one.


Berlin Siegessäule

Photo by Thomas Wolf (usable as long as you give him credit, available on Wikipedia.)


  1. Charlottenburg Palace

When you visit:

The oldest, largest, and most glorious palace still standing in Berlin, Charlottenburg is named for Sophie Charlotte, first Queen of Prussia. Come for the crown jewels (although it’s costly to see both the Old and the New wings of the palace), but stay for the highly manicured and free-to-all gardens.


When you read the book:

Pagan suggests they go to a museum, because she wants to find out more about Devin. All she knows is that he loves and knows art. He takes her to the Charlottenburg Palace, still under reconstruction from wartime bombing in 1961, but with some rooms and the gardens open to the public. Pagan is bored by all the blue and white porcelain, but:

She preferred the painted ceiling, which was cloudier this time, with gods and plump women in capes whooshing around, winking and beaming at each other as if they knew that life in the sky was better than for the suckers down below.

She also uncovers some very interesting information about Devin. He seems much more interested in the alarms, or lack of them, on the art, than the art itself.


Visitor info here:

Schloss Charlottenburg

Photo by ernstol, available if you credit the photographer, via Wikipedia.


  1. DDR museum

ddr-museum-berlijn-1(p-activity,2453)(c-0)When you visit:

The only museum to show what every day life was like in East Germany (aka the DDR), this place will give you a taste of the complete control the state exerted on every aspect of its citizens’ lives. The museum is small, easily visited in about an hour, and hosts a lot of interactive displays – like a typical DDR living room to walk through or a simulated ride in a Trabant (the only car manufactured in East Germany).

When you read the book:

The book takes place when the DDR (East Germany) was still very much alive, so of course no such museum existed. Pagan experiences the DDR first hand when she has dinner with Thomas Kruger and his family, and later, when she’s trapped there the night the Wall goes up.

Pagan, so used to the freedom of the US, chafes at the restrictions in East Germany. For example, she gives Karin Kruger a Wonder Woman comic, and Karin’s mother warns her not to take it out of their apartment. Otherwise, it would be confiscated, and the family punished.


Learn more here:


  1. Brandenburg Gate

Brandeburger TorWhen you visit:

This 18th century triumphal arch is one of the most recognized monuments in the world, and has been at the center of German history and life since it was first erected. The Gate is centrally located, so while you’re there, be sure to check out the nearby beautiful Pariser Platz and Reichstag.

When you read the book:

You can no longer drive through the Gate, as Pagan and Devin do on their way to see the Kruger family. Before the Wall went up, the Gate was one of the checkpoints through which Westerners could venture to visit East Berlin. After the Wall, the Gate was surrounded by barbed wire and closed off to all traffic. From the book:

They passed the battered-looking Brandenburg Gate with its six grand columns and smaller annexes on either side, a four-horse chariot riding victoriously forever on top. The black, red, and yellow flag of the Communist German so-called Democratic Republic crowned it all.

Pagan peered through the window and saw the large white signs in English, Russian, French, and German: YOU ARE NOW LEAVING BRITISH SECTOR.

Round Volkswagens, rectangular Trabants, and cobbled-together motorcycles and bikes zoomed toward the looming gate, slowing as the stationed East German Volkspolizei, or “people’s police,” in their lumpy olive uniforms scanned their license plates. Those with approved types were waved through. Others had their papers checked.

Info in English here:


  1. Walk Unter den Linden & Friedrich Strasse

unter-den-linden-65When you visit:

After exploring the Brandenburg Gate and the Pariser Platz, keep going east on that wide road with two lines of linden trees down its grassy pedestrian mall center. You’re on Unter den Linden, which means “under the linden trees,” in the heart of historic Berlin.

Then head back to Friedrich Strasse and head south. Badly damaged during World War II, this street is now filled with spiffy new buildings and posh shopping.


When you read the book:

Pagan and Devin drive down Unter den Linden on their way to visit Thomas Kruger and his family, and Pagan takes note of the tanks and soldiers, the Russian embassy, and a giant head of Lenin. As they pass Friedrich Strasse, Devin says:

“That’s Friedrich Strasse, once a main street in town. North, that way, if you go far enough, you’ll hit the French sector. Go South—” he pointed to the right “—and you’ll find yourself in the American sector.”

“Must be confusing for the mailmen,” Pagan said. She peered down Friedrich Strasse. Although the street itself was clear of debris, every building lining either side was a bombed-out skeleton, a series of vacant shells covered in dust, pointing jagged fingers of stone at the sky. “Holy cats!”

“In 1945, most of Berlin looked like that,” Devin said. “Dresden was even worse.”

“They’ve rebuilt way less than West Berlin over here,” Pagan said. “Maybe East Germany should rethink what they’re doing.”

Information about Friedrich Strasse becomes very important for Pagan once she finds herself trapped on the Eastern side of the wall, and it leads her to our next location.

Info in English:


  1. Checkpoint Charlie/Allied Museum

When you visit:

Keep walking down Friedrich Strasse and you’ll pass the most famous Berlin Wall crossing point, known as Checkpoint Charlie. The booth that came to symbolize the Cold War was removed from its spot here and put in the Allied Museum. What you see there now is a copy of the guard booth as it looked in 1961.

To learn more about Berlin in the post-war years and see the actual guard booth, check out the Allied Museum, which is in the Dahlem district. Admission is free.


When you read the book:

Because Pagan encounters this area on the very night the Berlin Wall goes up, the Checkpoint as we know it does not yet exist. Somehow she must get past armed East German troops and tanks, with no Western forces of any kind on the other side to help her.

And yes, you’re going to have to read the book to find out more.

Info on the actual Checkpoint:

Info on the Allied Museum:


  1. Berlin Cathedral

When you visit:

Berliner KathedraleThis magnificent church with a beautiful dome was first established back in 1451 as a chapel. Chapel became church, and church became cathedral as the building was enlarged and enhanced over the years. Check out the beautiful cupola above and the Hohenzollern crypts below, with coffins dating back four centuries.


When you read the book:

While trapped in East Berlin, Pagan stumbles into a ruined church with a ruined roof, and a bunch of scaffolding out back. And there’s a very determined East German soldier right on her tail.

She slid inside, shut the door behind her, and turned to look down the long nave of an abandoned church. Above, the roof vanished over where the altar had once been.

She had no idea whether she’d find a way out, but Pagan picked her way through smashed statues and broken pews on wobbly legs. She found an intact wooden doorway in the back and paused, listening, waiting to be discovered. But the room lay dark and still. She left the door open to let in the moonlight and glided through another room and outside into a back alley. Behind her the wall was combed with scaffolding.

This scene was inspired by the Berlin Cathedral, although it doesn’t specifically take place there. Unfortunately, many churches were damaged during World War II. Because it was on the East Berlin side of the city, the Cathedral didn’t get fully repaired until after the Berlin Wall came down.


The cathedral has its own site:

More visitor info here:


  1. House of the Birches (Haus der Birken)

When you visit:

On the night the Berlin Wall went up, East German leader Walter Ulbricht had a garden part at this lovely lodge, once owned by Nazi Hermann Göring. Ulbricht invited members of the East German parliament and any other possible opponents to the Wall within his own country to the Haus der Birken, then had the place surrounded by Stasi troops to guarantee that none would escape until the Wall was done.

Not a tourist attraction, the House of the Birches has become the Hotel Döellnsee-Schorfheide in a wooded area northeast of Berlin. You can stay here, or just drive out after a busy day in the city to have drinks or dinner by the lake. You can raise a toast to the fact that you were not among the “party guests” trapped there on that terrible night.


When you read the book:

Pagan is invited to Walter Ulbricht’s garden party at the House of the Birches because Ulbricht’s adopted daughter Beate (an actual historical person) is a fan of Pagan’s Hollywood movies. It turns into the most dangerous night of her life. Here is her first impression as she and her friend Thomas drive there in the late afternoon of August 12, 1961:


They pulled into the sweeping half circle of a drive leading up to a series of buildings next to an open front lawn. Just beyond, a lake lay flat and gray-blue in the dim late-afternoon sunshine. Long fingers of shadow cast by the birch trees reached across the aggressively trimmed lawn and cut dark lines in the rigidly carved hedges.

“This used to be where Hermann Göring’s huntsman lived,” Thomas said. “You know—one of Hitler’s chief ministers and founder of the Gestapo. Göring burned down his own house nearby, but this one remained. Our own leaders built the two adjacent buildings.”

Pagan unrolled her window to crane her neck out and get a look. The central three-story building with its sloping red roof did look older than the two complementary ones that winged it. The rows of windows on the lower floor were tall and narrow, almost like French doors, with ivy crowding in between. Even on a warm summer day like this, every window was closed and curtained.

The side buildings were done in a more subdued gray-white stone, but their roofs sloped in a similar steep manner. Cars, mostly Trabants, Mercedes-Benzes, and Volkswagens, were parked on the lawn.

“It’s lovely,” said Pagan. And that was almost true. The place would have had a quiet, gracious air of a bygone era if not for the armed guards and curtained windows.

I can’t give you any more than that, because spoilers! But let’s just say Pagan’s not about to let anyone keep her cooped up, armed soldiers or no.

The hotel’s website (in German, but good for the photographs):


The Notorious Pagan Jones

The Notorious Pagan JonesBy Nina Berry

Pagan Jones went from America’s Sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night she accidentally killed her family in a drunk driving accident. Nine months later, she’s stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt—not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Hollywood actress.


But when Pagan’s Hollywood agent arrives at her reform school with a mysterious studio executive Devin Black, Pagan must decide if she can stay sober – while shooting a new comedy with award-winning director Bennie Wexler in war-torn Berlin just as the Wall is going up. All the while, her ex-boyfriend shows up in Berlin with his new wife – a Pagan Jones lookalike. Will she run into him? What will she say? Ultimately, Berlin is her chance at redemption: both personally and professionally.


With a court-appointed guardian, her every move scrutinized, and her recovery still in question, can she pull herself together, rescue her co-star and re-win the hearts of the American public?


Nina BerryAbout Nina Berry

Nina Berry has been working in Hollywood for years, and is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of movie and TV sets. She took her love of old movies, her knowledge from her day job as well as a heartbreaking personal story of the loss of a friend who succumbed to alcoholism to create the world of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES.

Find Nina

Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES offers a flawed, brilliant new heroine in Pagan Jones, who relies on more than just her looks to get herself out of some very hairy situations

Tour Schedule

Monday, July 20th – Reading Lark – Interview
Wednesday, July 22nd – Bookish Lifestyle – Guest Post
Friday, July 24th – Actin’ Up with Books – Interview
– –
Monday, July 27th – Rockin’ Book Reviews – Interview
Wednesday, July 29th – Fiktshun – Guest Post
Friday, July 31st – Bewitched Bookworms – Guest Post


Thanks to the amazing team at Harlequin Teen, each stop on the tour will be offering up a copy of THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, so be sure and follow along for more guest posts, interviews and chances to win! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Guys! Isn’t this a incredible and amazing post from Nina?? I was so excited when I saw it and I’m now even more excited reading the book. I just love it when I have some visuals ready while reading and this post is just perfection! 

Thank you sooo so much Pagan.. uhm.. Nina:) 



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