Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started to write when I was nine or ten. From an early child until high school, being a writer had been my desire. However, once I entered high school and later college, analytical/ non fiction writing took most of my time and my writing for pleasure was placed on the back burner.
What makes writing your passion?
I was an outsider in high school college--writing was my outlet. It was one of the few things I was good at, where I was accepted.
How long have you been writing?
As a professional writer, I began to write in 2017 when I felt compelled to write. Nevertheless, I have multiple advanced degrees--including a degree in history and social work, so I wrote many academic papers including two thesis degrees over the past 20 years.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
A feeling of accomplishment like I had never felt before. I have 4 college degrees, and nothing--not my wedding, not my graduating from colleges, or anything gave me the sense of accomplishment of having a book published gave me.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I write non fiction, so my characters and my portrayl of them is measured by how they portray themselves in real/every day life public life.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The marketing component to getting a book published. I am a writer, a poitical activist, a social worker, but I am NOT a sales or marketing person. It was extremely difficult for me to market /sell the book.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I engage in other activities--learn a new language, go on vacation, read other books
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Stand firm in your conviction. Unfortunately the publishing field is very competitive and you are going to get a lot of rejection and a lot of the rejection is flat out rude and unneccessary. It can be discouraging, but if you believe in what you are doing then don't let the rejection and negativity get to you.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Not to be so serious and to have more fun.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Some--I read the professional reviews, and I skim the peer ones. Writing is like art, and it is subjective and some people are going to like your work and others will not. Honest and constructive "bad" reviews I learn from and do not get offended by-I learn from them. Admittedly I do get a bit upset when I revieve a bad review because it is clear someone has not read the book or they don't like the topic. Those reviews bother me, and I do try to let them just roll off my shoulders.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
A sense of pride and accomplishment--that someone fully understands and relates to the importance of the story and the amount of work that I put into it.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Again, I write non fiction and my book was about Barack Obama and Angela Merkel, so not relevant for me.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I don't think the cover is AS important as the story, but I do think whether we like it or not people do judge a book by its cover, so it is important to have a cover that portrays the level of professionalism that is captured in the book itself.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I chat and encourage my readers to contact me all the time. I have numerous conversations on social media (usually Instagram) After I wrote the book and began having speaking engagments to promote the book, I learned that I like talking about the book with others as much as I did writing the book. Hence, I welcome the opportunity to engage with my readers at any time--whether on social media or in a book discussion.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Honor and pride
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Kati Marton because as a journalist first, she writes well researched and comprehensive books, but they are easy to read and understandable. She illustrates that one can write well written books without sacrificing on quality or readability.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
SIince I wrote my book on the relationship between Obama and Merkel, my dream would be to meet them in person(ideally at the same time) and talk to them about the book and get their insights.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I was an unknown when I wrote my book, writing about two of the most powerful people in the world. My research was limited to newspapers, books, and televsion press conferences. Any one who had direct access to either Obama and Merkel did not take me seriously. I would like to obtain enough credibility from this book that I can write a second edition and I can go back and get first hand accounts of some of the things I described in the book from either Obama or Merkel or people who were close to them--to give the book a better sense of accuracy.