Leah Rae Lambert, author of ‘The Unveiling’ and ‘Shred of Evidence’, on writing novels based on true stories


Leah Rae Lambert began her writing career after early retirement from public service in Toronto, Ontario, where she makes her home. Her first book, The Unveiling, drew from her mother’s experiences escaping the hardships of life in Eastern Europe and struggling as an immigrant to fit into a new society. In Shred of Evidence, her second novel, Leah Rae Lambert drew inspiration from real experience, painstaking research, and documented testimony to tell the story of a woman’s determination to uncover the truth about her husband’s shocking death in the face of secret government programs and cover-ups.


  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?

“Keeping the focus on Rachel’s search for answers about her husband’s death without getting too immersed in the historical details of the MKUltra Program and its mind-control activities.”

  • Are your characters based on people you know?

“Many of the characters in my books are inspired by real people, but some are totally fictional. My inspiration for my first book, The Unveiling, came from stories of my mother’s life. My second book, Shred of Evidence, is based on true stories, documented research and victim testimony. The book follows one woman’s quest to discover the reason for her husband’s suicide and leads to the CIA’s secret program of mind control experiments on unsuspecting citizens. These experiments took place during the Cold War. I have dedicated the book to the many individuals and families who suffered because of the experiments and to the researchers and journalists who worked so hard to get to the truth. My first book was historical fiction and the latest book is more contemporary fiction and political intrigue. I enjoy doing the background research for the books and was quite shocked at what I learned about the MKUltra Program.

I hope people will find the book a good read. In addition, I hope it will lead to greater understanding and discussion about the dangers of research on people without their consent and full understanding of the risks. Ultimately I hope this understanding will help reduce the likelihood of such programs in the future.”

  • While you were writing, did you ever feel connected to one of the characters?

“Yes, because Rachel was inspired by some of my own experiences. However, the story was not a memoir so I was free to take her on a different journey than I went on personally. That is the joy of writing fiction.”

  • Do you see writing as a career?

“Writing is my second career. I began writing after early retirement from a career in public service. I’m glad I’ve been lucky enough to have a successful career as a director of research and planning, and can now devote myself to writing without expecting to make a living from it. I admire and respect writers who devote themselves to writing at an earlier stage in their lives. From what I have learned, it is very difficult for writing to bring financial success.”

  • What inspired you to write your first book?

“For my first book, The Unveiling, I got my inspiration from my mother and grandmother and the stories they told me as I was growing up. These were stories about their struggles to survive in Eastern Europe and their harrowing escape to the United States. There they faced new struggles as immigrants trying to fit into a new society. The focus of the book is on the burden of family secrets and how the truth can be liberating. I always knew I would write this story and did extensive interviews with family members before writing the book.”


  • What are your favorite books to give and get as gifts?

“I love to give my own books as gifts to people who I think will enjoy them. I also like to give books about subjects I know are important to the recipients. For instance, for people who love theater, I try to find new books about the theater and the people who have made contributions to it. If someone is a sports fan, I enjoy finding a book about sports for that person.

Books I enjoy receiving as gifts are usually books about real people who accomplished something significant or who have overcome challenges. These might be historical fiction, memoirs or biographies. I also enjoy receiving books about the theater.”

  • A message to your readers?

“Yes, I hope you enjoy Shred of Evidence. If you do, please tell your friends about it or even post a review on amazon. I’d love to have your feedback, so drop me a line via email. And if you enjoy this book, you might want to read my first novel, The Unveiling.”



“My first job was as a sixth grade teacher in an inner city school in Pittsburgh, PA. During my first week, a parent came to the door and when I went to speak with him, he asked me if I would please find the teacher for him to talk with. I stayed in that setting for two years and found it the most difficult and also most rewarding job I ever had, even though my career later involved research and planning in the criminal justice system. I taught for another 2 years in the suburbs of Washington, D.C . and experienced a different set of challenges.”


“Moving to Toronto, Ontario was an exciting experience and I have enjoyed making Toronto my home. I enjoy the diversity of the city and the lively cultural scene. For years my family had a cottage on a lake north of Toronto where it was fun to swim, boat, and hike. The drives back and forth became stressful, but I loved being near the water. I now live in a condo on Toronto’s waterfront and enjoy the peacefulness of my view onto Lake Ontario.”


“My daughter decided on a career in the theater and won a Tony award for the best original score for a Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, that she co-wrote with a writing partner. Sitting beside her in the Radio City Musical Hall the night she won the award was thrilling for both of us. Both she and my son have always been fun to be around.”


“I love the theater. Trips to New York are great, particularly when I can see the original cast in a new show. I love to attend plays in Toronto and also in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. Now that I spend my winter s in Florida, I try to attend as many shows as possible in various local venues.”


“I do not like winter weather or snow although once I moved to Toronto, I tried to enjoy it. I even took up cross-country skiing and found it exhilarating. But now that I am able to spend winters in Florida, I am happy to be away from the snow and enjoy the sunshine and beach. Although I am not a great swimmer, I love being near the water. I also enjoy getting to the cottage country of Ontario in summers and to walk through the wooded areas.”


“Since I was quite young I have been a baseball fan. My first team was the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Toronto got its team, I also became a great fan of the Blue Jays.”


“I’ve been dividing my time between Toronto and Marco Island, Florida, and my next venture will use that experience for background.”


Shred of Evidence

Shred of Evidence reveals the shocking details of the CIA’s MKUltra program of mind control experiments that endangered and destroyed the lives of unsuspecting citizens. Although a book of fiction, this novel was inspired by real stories, painstaking research, and victims’ testimony. Nobody could understand why Ben Gordon jumped to his death in 1964. He was a healthy young man with a loving family and successful career. He appeared to love his life and was looking forward to the birth of his second child. Ben’s bereaved wife Rachel made a vow to learn what drove him to such a desperate act. Her quest for answers ultimately led to the truth about MKUltra that had its origins at the end of World War II and expanded as the Cold War took hold. Many Individuals who survived the experiments suffered permanent injuries. Because of national security concerns, they were sworn to secrecy and unable to prove wrongdoing by officials running the program. Although the CIA tried to destroy evidence of such a program, details of MKUltra became public. This novel reveals the hard work of reporters and researchers, whose tireless efforts helped to expose those details and the cover-ups. Congressional Committees conducted intensive investigations during the 1970s, and in 1976 an executive order prohibited experimentation on human subjects without their informed consent. Unfortunately, evidence exists that other research and experimental programs continue to cause harm to people who receive inadequate information about the dangers of participation. The author has dedicated this book to the individuals and families who have suffered from such programs, as well as to those who work so hard to uncover the truth.





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