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Friday, August 19, 2016

Let's meet author Patricia Furstenberg!

Welcome! Thanks for joining me here.  
Hello, David and thank you. Happy to be interviewed by you.

What should my followers know about you?

I come from the country that bestowed the world with Eugene Ionesco and Emil Cioran, Mircea Eliade and Mircea Cartarescu. I grew up in Eastern-European Romania during the communist ruling, a time when there was severe censorship on the written word. But it was a good era too, a time when men would open the door for a woman and they would kiss her hand in greeting, taking off their hats. At least my father used to. I grew-up considering writers to be really heroic people. Back then writers could easily place themselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time with their work. *smile* But as a job, writing would have hardly put food on the table. That’s why I studied Medicine; I have a degree in Dentistry. A few years after graduating I met my future husband and decided to move to sunny South Africa, for love. Family life soon proved beneficial because, in order to nurture my children, I had to find a way of nurturing myself, in my own way. And this is why I began writing again.

I’ve always been a bookworm and writing has become second nature to me. Whenever I look back I remember having this feeling of well-being whenever I would put pen on paper.

Reading Agatha Christie’s “An Autobiography” is what kindled my desire to take up writing seriously and later on winning two chapters of the “Write Your Own Christie” Competition in 2014.

What inspired you to begin writing? 

There have always been dogs in my life and then Pete came along, yes, that’s how it all started; with Pete the elephant. He would sit on the shelf and watch me with that twinkle in his eye. I could almost hear him saying: “I could tell you all of my happy adventures and you could write them down! Why don’t you?” I mean, all writers hear voices, don’t they? So one hot day, with almost no clouds at all over the tall, bright blue South African sky, I began writing about ice-cream flavoured clouds, lizard shaped clouds and about snow. Of which we see hardly any where we live. Oh, yes, lots of snow! I asked myself what would happen if you were a small dog with a tiny little burrow all to yourself in the middle of a snow covered forest?  Amazing things would come your way! The first edition was titled “Little Friends, Big Adventures” but after I had illustrated it I renamed it. That’s how “Happy Friends” was born.

Why did you focus on this genre?

Probably the 10 years of reading and exploring children’s books with my two amazing kids paved the way.  My stories nurture positivity, imagination, empathy, friendship, generosity, adventure and of course they have happy-endings. Children need to have friends, it is as necessary to them as the air they breathe. Living in post-apartheid South Africa, the “Rainbow Nation”, I’ve noticed how spontaneously children make new friends. To them history has no timeline and life has no racial limitations. A hand is a hand and a smile is just that, an invitation to smile back. My stories portray friendships between diverse animals, a toy, a lizard and the wind; a dog, a dragonfly and a bee. And they all have a happy-ending. Children need happy-endings.

Are you working on any other books?
Yes. I’ve been asked to write “The Book of Life”. This is the only book that Little Tail the dog owns in “Happy Friends” and he looks to it for advice whenever he needs guidance. Top of my Christmas Wish List is to finish my historical thriller. When I was in junior college I almost made it to the History Olympiad, then I came down with chickenpox. History is like a book of knowledge; you can find so many answers to modern questions in there, with medieval history being so fierce. Nothing was taken for granted then and life, probably, was the scarcest item on the market; perhaps because there was no compassion. But there were great friendships and there was love. Was love accessible to everybody? What did one do if one was a Prince, sworn to protect his country and his people? And his name was Vlad the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia? And no, he was not Dracula. * - sigh*
Okay, here's a challenge. Sum up your current book in TWO sentences.
What do a toy elephant, a dog, a lizard, the wind, a dragonfly, a squirrel and a bee have in common? They take part in adventures and discover how easily friendships can be built and that there is always sunshine at the end of the rainbow… shaped out of clouds.
Where can people buy your book?
Right now book lovers can buy “Happy Friends” in kindle format from Amazon!
From September 2016 it should be available to purchase from other popular eBook retailers such as Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, IBookstore, BN.com etc.
What are the 3 words that best describe you?
Friendly, persevering, courageous.
Tell us about your work, away from writing?
I care for my family, do extensive research for my historical novel and have recently begun to write a series of articles for mypuppyclub.net Oops, there’s writing again! *laughs*
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I cycle, enjoy cooking and drawing and I love music, especially classical music. Oh, yes, occasionally I dabble in haikus. Oh, writing again! *grin*
What would people be most surprised to see on your Kindle or bookshelf?
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo… The works of Emil Cioran? A copy of Agatha Christie – signed by her nephew, Mathew Prichard? Some books on architecture? We have many bookshelves overflowing with a wide variety of books, from children’s books, novels, literature greats to non-fiction etc. Every member of our family loves to read. Reading a wide variety of genres opens the mind and leads you to new places.
What are you currently reading?
I’m up to the 7th book in the “Outlander” series, “An Echo in the Bone”. I’ve only discovered Diana Gabaldon this year. Her writing is alluring and her attention to historical detail gripping.
Tell me your 3 favourite authors?
Agatha Christie, Camil Petrescu, Dan Brown.
I love music, and always interested in the musical tastes of other people. Tell me your 3 favourite songs, if you can?
With pleasure. Music has always been a big part of my life. I could listen endlessly (ask my children *laughs*) to Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto No.5, especially the 2nd Movement. I love, love, love Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and, of course, bringing back so many happy memories from home, George Enescu: “The Romanian Rhapsody”. There’s something magical about listening to composers from your own home land. Their notes seem to be playing in your own heart’s language!
What song best describes your life?
I don’t know any songs about coffee, I’m sure there are some. So it will have to be Cindy Lauper’s “True Colours”. It is a song about not being afraid to show your true self to the world. And this is what a writer does, isn’t it?
In the story of your life, who would you like to play you?
Meryl Streep, please? She’s such a warm, yet witty actress! She could make anyone look grand on screen!
Who is the person, living or dead, you would most like to spend a day with?
Agatha Christie, without any hesitation. There is so much already said about Agatha Christie the writer, but the woman? Besides, our birthdays are only two days apart!
Finally, what’s next for you? 
I would love to see “Happy Friends” in print and I must finish the first draft of my historical novel. 
Thank you, David, this interview felt like an hour at the spa!

 Click HAPPY FRIENDS from Amazon! 








4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! So pleased you enjoyed it!
    Appreciate the sharing.
    Kind regards, Pat Furstenberg

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to thank both David and Patricia for this interesting interview, keep them coming

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for reading, Maxine! Appreciate your time :)
    Kind Regards,
    Patricia Furstenberg

    ReplyDelete