Book q&as with deborah kalb: q&a with dawn lerman

Book q&as with deborah kalb: q&a with dawn lerman

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Post a Comment. The book focuses on his grandmother, who was a violinist. Wolf, a flutist, is part of a musical family.

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His other books include Musical Gifts. Q: How much did you know growing up about the family history you describe in the book, and what kind of research did you need to do to write it? A: My family were storytellers and many of these stories I had heard growing up.

They were part of family lore, though in the process of writing the book, I learned that they were not always terribly reliable and sometimes the stories were adjusted to fit a particular desired family narrative.

This was one of the most interesting aspects of the research. On the other hand, few people attempting a family history could be more blessed with such rich documentation to work from. Members of my family were not shy about preparing personal memoirs and oral histories.

In addition, because several of them were well known in their day, a lot was written about them. There are hundreds of books and articles in which family members are mentioned, especially in Russia and the United States but also in France, Germany, England, and elsewhere.

Those who were professional musicians received much coverage. It is well to remember that reporting on classical music in Western Europe and the United States was considerably more robust during the period in which the main characters in this book were most active, making my search even more fruitful and exhausting.

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Any respectable newspaper in the United States had a reviewer dedicated to classical music, and concert coverage generally appeared the day after a program was presented often in the morning papers. Reviews and profiles of family members were commonplace not only from nationally important media markets such as Moscow, New York, Paris, Berlin, and London but also from relatively small communities where they performed.

Some of this material was already in family collections; other items were available on Internet archives and even more was available in physical archives.

book q&as with deborah kalb: q&a with dawn lerman

Q: Why did music become so important to your family? InCatherine the Great had declared that Russian Jews had to live within the borders of the Pale, trapping them in this vast, impoverished territory on the periphery of the empire. Most of the Pale was composed of half-starving rural settlements, or shtetels, and a handful of Polish, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian cities long past their prime.

Thus, it was important to learn whether any of the family had musical talent and to nurture it as quickly as possible. As it turned out, not only my grandmother but her sister and brother were all musically gifted and miraculously all three managed to get to Moscow based on their talent. Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book? A: Lea and her children and others in the family had experienced enough of poverty to believe that there was nothing noble about being poor.

On the other hand, Lea had seen possessions lost, taken, sold, and abandoned and in the long term it seemed to cause her few moments of deep regret. Mostly, things were not that important to her. Instead, she sought, fought for, and kept family and music uppermost in her life. And even when her own performance career ended, she inspired all of us to champion a fierce commitment to ensuring that people with talent and passion could continue to make music at the highest level.

This is the most important take-away from the book.Post a Comment. She lives in New York City. Q: Why did you decide to write a family memoir, and why did you choose to focus it around food? A: Originally I set out to write a cookbook. My daughter was in preschool; it was her first day.

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She had [always eaten] healthy food. She never had a tantrum [but after school that day] she was on the floor—she wanted ice cream. I asked what you had for lunch—[she had] white bread, American cheese, chocolate milk, Oreo cookies. All the kids were running to the [ice cream] truck. A snack is a mini-meal with protein…. I started teaching cooking classes at school, and gathering recipes. I started telling the story of each one—with my grandmother, my best friend.

A recipe is more than the ingredients. It was recipes with mini-vignettes. I wrote to The New York Times with the ideas. They were interested in the back story—a lb. I started writing that. People were writing to me from all over the world, telling me about their grandmother, their dad who was overweight…it just hit a chord….

Then I started writing the book. A: These were the ones that were so prominent in my life—the stories I always share. It was hard to narrow it down. I went to the ones with the strongest memories attached. A: I was sitting on the kitchen counter with my dad, and he was making a Weight Watchers cake. A world without calories! I was either wanting food or excited because I was getting food….Regarding Patti's fascination with cult leaders I would like to know more.

I was "under the influence" of David Brandt Berg as a young man She is based in Santa Monica, California. A: The title came long after the book was finished I thought of two elements of the book, the racial issues and the fact that the earth broke—there was an earthquake.

I thought of "Earth Breaks," and was Googling to see what titles were taken. This was a total mystery! I saw the first scene play out in my head.

I kept following the trail. Once I got the initial elements, I knew I was writing a novel. A: No. I think that idea was tucked away…. As a white person, you bring a history. The two things can coincide. One character who embodies this is Kitrel. It was a surprise to me. He saw more about his father and what was handed down generationally than his father did. Q: The story is told from the perspectives of many different characters. Why did you tell it that way, and why is some of it in first-person?

I felt to go into their backstories and what was going on in their heads, it cried out for that. Corinne was the catalyst for that when I realized what I was going to do with her backstory.Post a Comment. He also has written the recent novel A Big Enough Lie.

A: Individualism of one sort or another has been a defining feature of the American experience since the beginning—Alexis de Tocqueville testified to its significance almost two centuries ago. But my research suggests that in the s, personal accounts of minor experiences gained a new political urgency, and that that urgency found expression in creative writing programs, which were just emerging.

At first, little voices—mostly white and male ones—did their duty contrasting the freedoms of the United States with the programmatic oppressiveness of the Soviet Union. At least that was the theory. Later, during the Vietnam era, little voices engaged more and more in national self-critique.

People silenced by racism and sexism finally started being heard.

At a glance, female writers and writers of color would seem to differ drastically from the G. Bill students, and in many ways of course they did.

But the spirit of countercultural enfranchisement was the same: good souls crushed by corrupt systems, and fighting back by telling their stories.

book q&as with deborah kalb: q&a with dawn lerman

What, if anything, this means for writers today is not a simple question—which, in my opinion, makes it all the more worth discussing and digging into. And symbolically and materially, Iowa has greatly influenced creative writing culture since the s. Engle taught many people who went on to staff and teach in new programs.

The same goes for Stegner and his influential writing seminars at Stanford. Beyond that, both men came out of the same conservative intellectual tradition, headed up by Irving Babbitt. This back story has been neglected in many accounts of Iowa, Stanford, Engle, and Stegner. A: By having his or her rebelliousness given subtle or not-so-subtle anti-Communist boundaries—as a trade-off for new, newly comfortable positions on campus.

The majority of writers in the s had leaned far left. With the conservative turn in the s, the establishment figures who waged the cultural Cold War were committed to de-radicalizing American literature, and they threw their weight behind places like Iowa and Stanford. These days, you can write individualistic fiction or poetry and call yourself a leftist. In the s, when the American left still had teeth, this would have been a strange proposition indeed.

How did you come up with the idea for A Big Enough Lieand what messages do you think the book has about truth and about war? A: George W. Bush headed up an administration that fabricated a case for war against a secular dictator who had only the most fleeting ties to the fundamentalist Islamic terrorists who had attacked the United States in Despite the fabrications, Bush was reelected president in I found this contrast between Bush and Frey—between two very different case studies in the public tolerance for fabrication—dramatically fascinating.

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I wanted to get that contrast into a story that moved. Although it includes a fake memoir about combat in Iraq, A Big Enough Lie mostly tackles as its main theme the writing life in the U. Q: What are you working on now? It entails shame, shamelessness, narcissism, and rip-roaring plots. No comments:. Newer Post Older Post Home.Post a Comment.

book q&as with deborah kalb: q&a with dawn lerman

Chris Kohler is the author of the new novel Cracked Island. He is a professor emeritus of zoology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and his academic work includes co-editing the first two editions of the college textbook Inland Fisheries Management in North America.

He lives in North Carolina. We were living in Puerto Rico at the time, where I had recently completed my master's degree in Marine Sciences. We were about to move to Virginia, where I would commence my Ph. My first assignment upon joining the faculty in at Southern Illinois University Carbondale was to establish an international dimension to the well-known fisheries program already in place there. Often accompanied by my wife, we visited Haiti numerous times over the s.

I even had a student conduct his master's thesis there. We saw so many sights that simply blew us away.

Why and how do some of these people wind up making a living in Haiti? The more I learned about the history of Haiti, how the slaves won their freedom from France in the early s, while Napoleon was otherwise occupied with his Waterloo, the more I wanted to know. Q: How did you come up with your main characters, and why did you decide to tell the story from multiple perspectives?

I wrote the book in multiple perspectives primarily so I could add a very human perspective to the Haitian people. I wanted to put faces men, women, children into my story so readers can grasp how all humans, despite our varied backgrounds, are very much the same.

Haitian parents want the best for their children just like everyone else does, for example. Q: Did you know how the book would end before you started writing, or did you make many changes as you went along? A: I had a general idea how the book would start and end, but had no idea how I was going to get there.

Each chapter was a journey for me all in itself. After writing each chapter, I would read it out loud to my wife before we went to sleep. We would look at each other and wonder--"Where in hell is this coming from, and what is going to happen next?

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I thought I had the entire story done when, on January 12,the massive earthquake struck Haiti. Clearly, the earthquake had to be incorporated into the story. All totally different, but some of each of their personalities are incorporated into my writing. A gold doubloon and a Rastafarian are intimately intertwined in the plot.

Like Cracked Islandthis story is a multi-cultural suspense. Vodou, Rastafarianism No comments:.

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Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom.Gina Fattore is the author of the new novel The Spinster Diaries. Her television writing credits include Dare Me and Better Thingsand her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Salon and Entertainment Weekly.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Spinster Diaries? In January ofI really did discover that I had a small brain tumor. But an essay requires a calm, sane, sensible, rational voice — and the only one I could muster was an unreliable, self-doubting comic one.

So I just went with that and kept writing. In other words, anxiety. What first intrigued you about her, and did you need to do any research to write the book?

In classes with her, I read Cecilia and Camilla —along with all of Jane Austen and the work of other female novelists active in the late 18th century like Charlotte Lennox, Ann Radcliffe, and Maria Edgeworth.

A: It chose me! Then I wound up spending the next 10 years of my life writing, rewriting, and trying to sell the book. Ultimately, inI found Gregory Messina, and he submitted the book to Prospect Park Books, an amazing indie publisher willing to take a chance on something different.

For everyone else, I hope reading The Spinster Diaries makes them question the stories we consume — especially the love stories — and also the stories we create for ourselves in order to give meaning and shape to our lives, both the positive ones and the negative ones.Newton's book is austere, yet rich.

It's an intensely personal story and the closest I've ever felt to being in someone else's head. It has me thinking about a lot I hope I will be able to practice better the art of empathy and listening.

I appreciate her raw honesty and heart. She lives in East Lansing, Michigan. Q: Why did you decide to write this memoir? A: After my initial cancer diagnosis, I took a semester away from a relatively new adjunct teaching gig so that I could adjust to the new targeted therapy pill I took each morning.

I also began writing in a journal each morning to make sense of things. At some point, I recalled this powerful image from an old Natalie Wood and Christopher Walken movie called Brainstorm. The scene depicts one of the scientific researchers who is developing a futuristic mind device, an older woman who is both a workaholic and a heavy smoker.

She experiences the first twinges of a heart attack while at work one day.

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

That image informed my journaling: If I was going to die, I needed to start recording it. These details were important, and they might be helpful to my family members or someone else. I think as time went on, I began to feel more strongly about the full range of complexities of the situation I was in.

And on most days, I was happy for myself as well. Yet the realities were tricky. Yet as I lived longer, my major conundrum had to do with how hard I should try to find another job, since I was still terminal and fatigued most of the time. If you have debt, which we did, from my underemployed years, you can be devastated by the costs of cancer. But if you are unemployed or underemployed, you wonder how to conduct yourself in the job market.

Do you try to hide your cancer? Making the insurance work. Figuring out the drug deliveries. Arguing with the drug companies about deliveries even if you have insurance. I was relatively aware of health insurance limitations when I began my cancer journey, but my education has been intense since then.

I wanted to capture some of that in a book. Q: In the book, you note the importance of your husband's health insurance plan, and you write, "How many cancer patients can ignore the economic realities of their treatment? A: Like many other issues facing Americans, I think health care policy has been politicized. I grew up in a working-class family, and since my father worked at General Motors, he belonged to a union. It was only as an adult that I understood why the medical expenses of my childhood were largely covered.