"Be liberel with your praise"
I've decided to introduce a weekly guest author who will answer questions I have put to them. Today's guest is a good mate from the USA - Jasha Levi. Jasha has had a remarkable life and is still maintaining his rage in his 90's. Go Jasha! He has written several books and is a great activist for self-published authors. Gotta give him some brownie points for that.
About Jasha Levi:
From Sarajevo in 1921 to New York in 1956 and beyond, this is a memoir of my journey—before, during, and after the Holocaust—over continents, through wars and peace, hatreds and brotherhoods, successes and hardships, uprootings and setting up roots again.
It was a particularly winding and arduous road, from the 1940 student revolt that toppled the pro-Nazi government in pre-war Belgrade to the 1941 escape from native Quislings in Sarajevo; from a three-year confinement as an enemy civilian during WWII in Asolo, Italy, to the chasing out—in 1941–45—of the Yaeger Division in the last year of war in Dalmatia; from battling Soviet attempts to dominate Yugoslavia in 1948, to becoming a journalist with the world as my beat.
While reporting from the UN on the Soviet invasion of Hungary, I sought asylum in New York in despair over my homeland ever becoming a democratic nation. At 35 I started a new life in America, as a laborer, draftsman, sales clerk, and eventually executive of two national non-profits.
'The Last Exile' is about a youth with literary ambitions in a sleepy town in the Balkans who survives on the periphery of the Holocaust and finally makes it as a man in the center of the world.
My new book, 'Requiem for a Country', takes another look at the same life and times, but it expands into a political memoir and history lesson. Its text reads like an adventure novel, yet it can serve as a geopolitical primer, with footnotes and annotated, tackling the controversies of our times.
Anyway, here are some links to the great man:
http://www.jashalevi.com/ - Jasha's website
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I wrote love poems and newspaper articles before I wrote a few books on foreign affairs, but I was 89 before I published my non-fiction report on my life.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
When I discovered the love of words from listening to people talk and reading book from all over the world.
3. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Being able to express my feelings, thoughts and concerns.
4. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Becoming one and then staying true to the calling.
5. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Just a different kind of scribe.
6. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Breaking the “personal barrier” – becoming able to speak about my life from a perspective of time.
7. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I just finished 'Blood Without Honey', a three part eBook on the Bosnian genocides. One part is my translation of the report written by my niece who survived the three year siege of Sarajevo.
8. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Classic literary works I wish I had written.
9. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Non-fiction for public consumption, funny pieces for friends, great literature in imagination
only. Can't tell a story I haven't lived or fictionalise the one I experienced
10. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
If it is in you, let it out. But don't forget to learn to write the best way you can. Read
everybody else, but first master the classics both for their excellence as writers but also for their mastery of language.
11. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
In my experience, deadlines have always cured me of it.
12. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I used to get up early, when no one was around talking, and write in peace. Then I learned to simply ignore the din around me. Now my best times are somewhere between two
and seven in the morning, when my ever more fleeting thoughts are undisturbed by extraneous din.
13. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Used to be anyplace with a pad and pencil. Now, it is at my computer. No more pretense of
waiting for the muse to show up. They never do anymore.
14. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The final edit.
15. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
The list is as long as literature itself. I've loved Greeks and the Russians, the French,
Checks, Austrians, one Rumanian (Panaiot Istrati, a youthful fancy), great
American depression writers, Yugoslav classics unfortunately not well known
abroad, and one world famous Southerner at whose door I learned all I wanted to
master in English: William Faulkner.
16. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED
FROM A READER?
I cherish but discount the comments by those who know me, because I think they factor in the friendship. The best is when I am told that someone enjoyed hearing me talk
about my experiences.
17. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I don't quote the dead. Seriously, nobody was rude enough to tell me.
18. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT
HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
19. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Theatre, classical music and classical jazz, folk music, visual arts.
20. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY
EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Very much so. Wouldn't go out into the world unwashed.
21. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
When all goes well. After all, I took me 90 years to deserve that.
22. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Less than a year ago, I started The indiePENdents.org to fight for the place in the sun which is still denied independent writers. Its progress gives me great joy. I continue writing on a regular basis. Always have projects I start that need to be finished. Anything to postpone the inevitable. I've been in a hurry all my life; now I have all the time I want and I use it
to the best of my abilities, which – I am glad to say – are still concentrated
in my brain while somewhat AWOL from my legs.
Thanks, Jasha. Love ya work!
Don't be shy ... email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for listening.
I'm Clancy Tucker