Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Interview with author Anita Mishook


1.      What inspired you to write Helen?
Helen began as an exploration of my late mother-in-law’s history, first as a twelve-year-old orphaned immigrant to New York, and then, in her early twenties, as an immigrant to Los Angeles, California.  The saga of the double-immigrant, with the disruptions that entailed, fascinated me, in part because of my background as a psychologist.  As I explored the dire situation of 1936, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, the tug of isolationism, and the rise of the American Bund and Silver Shirts, both pro-Nazi, Helen’s story changed to historical fiction so that the two strands, that of immigration and that of the Nazi threat to the world, could be told.

2.      What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Helen, the eponymous main character, leaves New York in 1936 for Los Angeles, to help her sister and brother-in-law in the family liquor store.  In the land of sunshine and orange blossoms, she finds bookies, gangsters, the American Bund, and a plan to build headquarters for Hitler on the Pacific Coast. Reluctantly, Helen agrees to spy on the Bund for the Anti-Defamation League. My targeted reader is someone who enjoys historical fiction, which brings together an exciting plot and fact. 

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish Helen? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
1936 and 2017 have unnervingly similar issues.  The United States’ new administration is isolationist, anti-immigrant, and shows tendencies to bully the free press.  We are a split society in so many ways.  As George Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”

4.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Find an exciting story that is under-told.  And remember, as a writing professor once told me, “At heart, every well written book is a mystery.  Your reader should want to know what happens next.”

5.      What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
The world is full of readers.  How they are reached and engaged in today’s web-based, instant messaging society is the question.  Media and publicity play a greater role, but major reviewers want only books from top publishers and, then, take a paltry few to consider.  Writers must be their own best media consultants somehow.

6.      What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
With historical fiction, an author cannot write a single sentence without double-checking for historical correctness.  The tension between research and creativity is constant and often grueling.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Helen offers multiple layers, the psychological experience of the double-immigrant and orphan, the under-told issues of 1936 in Los Angeles, exciting characters, including Bugsy Siegel and the top film director, Irving Thalberg, and a reluctant heroine called upon to spy, all in a fast-paced, easy to read novel.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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