Interview

All posts in the Interview category

25 September 2020

Published September 23, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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As fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remain in our midst, it seems easier to forget. It’s not taught in schools and increasing numbers of misinformed believe the Holocaust never happened. 

INTERVIEW WITH PRISONER A5714

Remember Robert Clary as LeBeau of Stalag 13? Hogan’s shortest hero? The connoisseur of French cuisine.  

               He reminisces about the rabbi who helped him study for his Bar Mitzvah. “He smelled of schmaltz, herring, onion and garlic.”

             “Ah food.”

             He shrugs. “In Buchenwald we had little to eat. I sang for the prisoners and sometimes the chef in the kitchen gave me an extra piece of bread.”

             “What’s your greatest achievement? Performing?”

              “No.  I’m most proud to have spent twenty years keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Warning against man’s inhumanity. While I am living, I have to tell.”   

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 September 2020

Published September 16, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

BIG RASCALS

“I was a baby when Mr. Roach hired me,” says George McFarland. “They still call me Spanky.”

Ernie grins. “I was one of the first back in the days before talkies. Sunshine Sammy, that was me.”

“I was Butch. The bully in the gang.” Tommy Bond adds with a twinkle in his eye, “Guess I had the scowl for it.”

Matthew Beard strokes his bald head, looking very much like little Stymie. “We was just kids. We went to school and played together. Black or white didn’t matter. Hal Roach loved kids.”

“Great times,” says Ernie. “I’d do it again.”

***

*Some may remember the “Our Gang Comedy”  or, as it later became known in syndication “The Little Rascals.” Some may not. For a bit of a lengthy history CLICK HERE

24 July 2020

Published July 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

INHERITANCE

“Your mother committed suicide, and her sister before her.” Grandfather sneered. “Now your grandmother. You’re all cursed.”

            The night before, he’d forced Charlotte to share his bed “to ease his sorrow.”

             She whipped and poured eggs into a skillet. “Influenza killed Mama.”

            “Your papa lied.  Mark my words, you’re next.”

            She plopped an omelet onto his plate. “Bon apetit.”

            “Aren’t you going to eat.”

            “I’m not hungry.” She propped her drawing board on her lap.

            “What are you drawing now?”

            “You, Grandfather. I want to remember this moment.”

            “What did you put in this?”

            “Not much. Salt, pepper and Veronal.”

 

*Did she murder her grandfather? Historians are divided.  

Charlotte Salomon with her grandparents

Half-Year Rehash

Published June 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

I’m certainly not the first to say it’s been quite a year thus far. Can you say understatement?

My adventure truly began in October of 2019…pardon the rerun…when my award-winning author friend, Kathleen M. Rodgers introduced me to her agent Diane Nine, president of Nine Speakers Entertainment Agency  

No matter what your political leanings, it’s a compelling book about a longstanding relationship between two women. I loved it from cover to cover.

I must read this book soon!

Kathleen M. Rodgers, one of the most generous people I know.

With fear and trembling I sent my manuscript of my latest novel with working title WHAT THE HEART WANTS and a book proposal to her. When we spoke November 4, Diane opened the conversation with what every author dreams of hearing from a potential agent, “I loved your manuscript or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”  

So far the book has been turned down a few times but, knowing Diane loves it, assures me she’ll find the right home for Bear Starfire and Asher Gorovich. 

Here is short summary. (Yes, I’ve posted this before and might post it again. 😉 )

In 1879, Eastern Europe is a hotbed of Antisemitism. In the midst of a pogrom, a government sanctioned massacre against the Jews, sixteen-year old Asher Gorovich witnesses the slaughter of his father, the blacksmith in his Polish village. Life doesn’t improve for him as he endures more persecution and loss of other loved ones.

Meanwhile, in America, eleven-year-old Bear Starfire is torn from her family and forced to attend St. Salvinus Indian boarding school. There she is stripped of her culture and endures both emotional and physical cruelty at the hands of staff members.

When these two wounded hearts meet will they find more conflict or the answer to their prayers?

Bear Starfire on the Wings of the Wind

Enter the Quarantine. Yeah, as much as I’ve avoided writing about it, it is the proverbial elephant in the room (and all over the media). For those of you who remember elephant jokes, you can tell he’s there by the peanuts on his breath. 

As per Diane’s strong suggestion, I’ve worked on my Twitter presence. You can follow me @RochelleFields 😉 At any rate, that’s how I met Jimmy Leonard, a young man with a podcast entitled “World on Fire”. In April he emailed saying I fit the profile of someone with a passion and asked if I’d be willing to do an interview on Zoom. Although we did the interview on April 22, it didn’t go “live” until mid June. 

We spoke for at least 45 minutes. Please excuse my cluttered background. That’s my environment. Unfortunately, the above portion about meeting Diane and WHAT THE HEART WANTS didn’t make the final edit.

Disclaimer: I had no idea what his intro would be. Although, I think Mr. Leonard makes some good points and it is his podcast.

Keep in mind, we spoke in April. Our topics were my artwork, Friday Fictioneers and the novel I’m currently working on and am three-fourths of the way through. My interview begins about 11:36 into it. 

***

CLICK HERE

or

HERE

to learn more about ordering art or books.

Re his “off the wall” question, “If you could paint a portrait of any person, living or dead, who would it be?” This took me by surprise, because I’ve done quite a few portraits. For whatever reason, the first person who popped into my overloaded mind was Maya Angelou, a woman I greatly admire. What’s not to admire?

Nu? I had to put my paintbrush where my mouth was, right? Of course right! 

Meet the Creator of Friday Fictioneers

Published May 29, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Once upon a time, eight years ago to be exact, I was a fledgling author with a newly published short story anthology. I’d recently started a blog and occasionally received more than two comments on my posts! Sigh. 

One April Wednesday morning in 2012 as I scrolled through my Facebook feed I saw a notice on the Ozarks Writers League, OWL, page from someone named Madison Woods. It was a reminder that it was time for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly blog challenge that would change the course of my life. 

I was hooked from the first prompt. 

(I had a lot to learn about commenting and reciprocation 😉 )

Who knew that six months later I’d be adopting Madison’s baby? Enough of that! The purpose of this post is to introduce you to the lady, author and artist who birthed the idea of Friday Fictioneers. 

© Madison Woods, Friday Fictioneers’ Birth Mother

Original Artwork © Madison Woods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO READ A RECENT INTERVIEW WITH MADISON.

15 May 2020

Published May 13, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100

TROPICAL VACATION

As a journalist, I’ve looked forward to my assignment in the island paradise of Tonga—interview deportees.

Uhila sets aside his machete. Sun through the palm trees beats down on his bare back littered with tattoos. “My dad was God. I couldn’t fight God, so I fought everyone else.”

Taking notes, I ache for the hurting child inside the man until he says, “I shot a guy for looking at me wrong—four times in the stomach. Now I’m the trash California State threw away.” He mops his brow with his forearm. “Here I don’t know shit about nothing.”

Weekend Writing Prompt – War Wound

Published May 9, 2020 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in Sammi’s Comment Section.

WAR WOUND

In research for a character in my novel-in-progress, I’ve watched some You Tube interviews with Vietnam veterans. Recently, one in particular captured my attention. The gentleman, who’s had a successful career as an actor since his discharge, spoke candidly of his deployment and subsequent wounding.

“Thirty years later, after bouts of alcoholism and depression I sought help for PTSD and found healing.”

He shrugged. “Thanks for your service? What does that mean? I get it. You mean well.” His voice caught in his throat and my breath caught in mine when he said, “I like best what we vets say to each other since we didn’t hear it when we came back, ‘Welcome home.’”

Paradise Misplaced

Published May 2, 2020 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman ventures to the Dominican Republic. The island is rich in culture and heritage, chock full of wonderful possibilities for the alert storyteller. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to wander around until you find something that inspires you to write up to 150 words, then link your post using the blue frog below. Remember that reading and commenting on fellow contributors’ work is part of the experience.

Do your best, and have fun! Thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting.

Genre: Fiction (probably someone’s reality)

Word Count: 150

This story stands alone, but is also a sequel to my Friday Fictioneers offering this week. Couldn’t help following Mr. and Mrs.Hap 😉

PARADISE MISPLACED

Basking in the ocean breeze, Gretchen stood on the balcony of their hotel suite gazing at the clear blue Caribbean waters. Although her marriage to Jared had a rocky beginning with him blowing a rod on the way to their wedding, she had no doubt the honeymoon would be perfect.

“La Rupiblica Dominica. I can’t wait to swim. I’m glad I took español in school. Didja notice how the waiter smiled when I ordered our dinner in his language?”

Behind her, Jared playfully nibbled her neck “That chicken dish was scrumptious but not as tasty as my bride.”

Gretchen’s stomach gurgled. “Speaking of food.”

“You’re looking a little green, darlin. I’ll go buy some 7-Up to settle your tummy.”

A cramp seized her. The floor tilted as she made a mad dash to the commode.

In the other room, Jared slammed drawers and wailed. “Hells bells, someone’s nabbed my wallet!”  

***

*Note here’s a LINK to the story I wrote when Pegman visited the Dominican Republic two years ago. I almost reposted and then decided not to.

7 February 2020

Published February 5, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ulrika Undén

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Genre: Nothing but the Truth

Word Count: 100

THE LITTLE OLD LADY FROM PASADENA

            Growing up during the Great Depression, did Maurine Kornfeld figure she’d have already climbed the stairway to Heaven by the year 2020?

            Like many Americans she retired at age 65. Although she never cared for swimming as a youngster, she joined a Masters Swim group at the YMCA to stay fit. Setting her first record at age 90, she was recently inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame.

            When asked her secret, she replied, eyes twinkling. “If you can’t outswim them, outlive them.”

            “Mighty Mo” is my new hero. I want to be her when I grow up.

*

*

CLICK HERE to meet Mighty Mo

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RICHARD D. SMALL

Published January 14, 2019 by rochellewisoff
Two and a half years ago I received an email from a man in Israel named Rich Small who had submitted his manuscript to my agent entitled “Elisheva’s Diary.” He had found PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME on my agent’s website and ordered a copy. Over the course of a few emails we found much in common, including Eastern European Jewish backgrounds. Meanwhile, my agent rejected his manuscript, saying it needed too much work. So my newfound friend asked if I might take a look at it. 
As it turned out, I took many, many looks at it and had the privilege of watching the work grow and progress. Rich has been gracious about accepting my suggestions and putting up with my kvetching and nagging. 😉 Between emails, hangouts and Skype we’ve become friends. And the proverbial icing on the cake is that ELISHEVA’S DIARY has been published by Touch Point Press
Feeling a little like the book’s auntie, I interviewed Rich for my blog. I hope you will enjoy both our conversation and his book which is a unique little gem that blends past and present, as I did. 
Richard D. Small lives in Metula, the northernmost point of Israel, not far from Tel Dan and Tel Kedesh.  He received  PhD from Rutgers University in Aerospace Engineering. He taught at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology before joining a California Think Tank as Director for Thermal Sciences, founded Eastwind Research Corporation, and served in the Israeli Army.  Biographical sketches have included Who’s Who in America, and various scientific Who’s Who listings.  His work in science has been internationally recognized and featured on TV and radio including 60 Minutes, newscasts, and in magazines.  He is an avid student of history.  His passions include cooking, opera, reading, building cabinets, and gardening.  Elisheva’s Diary is his first novel.
***

 

  • Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.

Nature and its mysteries fascinated and motivated me to study science and pursue a career solving problems. I was fortunate to work on several problems of national interest.

I live in Metula overlooking the Hula or as it was known in biblical times the Merom Valley. From my living room, I see ancient locations that carry the long history of the Jewish people. In front of my house is a Tel, Evel Beit Maacah, that is now being excavated. Maacah was King David’s fourth wife and the mother of Tamar and Avshalom. Many of the great leaders of the ancient world passed through the valley.

The valley, aside from being spectacularly beautiful in all seasons, has several ancient sites: Tel Dan, Tel Anafa, Hazor, Banias, and Tel Kedesh. The streams flowing through the valley water a fertile soil that provides a rich bounty. It is a peaceful valley replete with protected wildlife and dotted with national parks celebrating and preserving the beauty of nature.

It is special to live in a place where recorded events date from the beginnings of western civilization. It is a land that beckons the history and civilization buried in us all.

 

  • After a career as a renowned scientist, why did you decide to write a novel? What inspired you?

I had always wanted to write a novel. From a very young age, I enjoyed reading and greatly admired authors that could transport you to another world and portray love, hate, tragedy, triumph, the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the human spirit.

 

  • What was the most difficult scene in Elisheva’s Diary? What made it difficult?

The death of Elisheva’s husband. For me, death is difficult to describe. It is definitive that leaves surviving family injured, saddened and takes a little of life from them.

 

  • What sort of research did you do for your work?

I read several books about the history of the Mediterranean focusing on the Galilee region of Israel. I picked the period about 50 BC for several reasons. Momentous events such as the clash of empires, the emergence of Rome as the predominant power, and a political atmosphere not unlike today were shaping the world at that time.

 

  • Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?

I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I enjoy novels, history, cook books, science fiction occasionally, and books that make me think. At different periods, I have enjoyed John Steinbeck, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Bruce Catton, Barbara Tuchman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Francis Fukuyama, Mark Helprin, and a long list of others including RW-F. 😉

 

  • Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
  • I wanted to write, but found I had a lot to learn about writing and crafting a story. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields guided, taught, encouraged and without her, Elisheva’s Diary would never have been completed.
  • What would you say are your strengths as an author?

I cite two: empathy and a great appreciation for nature which I can translate to words.

 

  • Do you have another work in progress? If so, how often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?

I have started research for a new book. It will relate a story from the time of King Solomon. The research will take another half year or so before I start to write.

 

  • Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?

Hopefully having published a second novel.

 

  • If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

Don’t quit. Keep writing until your story is complete.

  • What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?

“I liked Elisheva.”

  • Would you provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with my readers?

Chapter Four

My City—April 3675 (85 BC)

I was born in paradise three thousand six hundred sixty-five years after the creation of the world. Dan was well known when Abraham and Sara arrived from Ur. In the beginning, the city was named Laish, and only hundreds of years later did the Israelite tribe of Dan cross the Jordan, after 40 years in the desert, to settle in the city. Legend says Dan first arose a thousand years after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. I am proud of my city; it has a grand history filled with triumphs as well as much sorrow and anguish.

I cannot imagine a more beautiful place on Earth than the Merom Valley. To the east, the Golan Heights rise to a high plateau. Across the valley, the hills, home to the tribe of Naphtali, frame the Merom Valley in the west. Every evening, I delight in the breathtaking harmony and beauty as the Golan glows a soft pink in the setting sun, while the hills of Naphtali darken to a deep purple. The valley floor accents the surrounding hills with a rainbow of colors from the orchards, fields, vineyards, and forests.

Twice a year, countless numbers of storks, cranes, egrets, pelicans, and herons fill the sky heralding a change of season. Vast flocks, tired from their journey, seek safety and respite in the fields around the small sea. In the morning, I watch amazed as they face the warm sun, capture its energy, and spiral upwards to continue their journey.

I have always taken the beauty of my city and its surroundings as normal. Aba often told me of his travels across Israel to the Great Salt Sea in the west, to magnificent cities along the coast, to inland valleys, and to the desert in the south. He said the desert holds a special beauty—siren colors at sunset and the tranquility of a seducing wind at night under a sky filled with countless stars. Often shooting stars, traversing the heavens in seconds, punctuate the night panorama. But surely, nothing compares with Dan.

From my home, I look east to Mount Hermon. Like a giant shielding us from a hostile world, it stands over Dan dominating the hills to the north and the plateau to the south. Clouds sometimes hide the peak’s majesty, and swirling storms mask it in a threatening atmosphere. On clear days, sunlight reflects from the forests and valleys on the lower elevations and projects magnificence, breathtaking to behold. During much of the year, a blanket of snow covers the upper reaches of the mountain. It is the source of the icy pure water flowing through Dan. In the winter, the blinding white peak often mirrors the sunset’s rainbow of pastel colors.

I am lucky to live in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful kingdom in the whole world.

I have listened to travelers talk about the Galilee. They describe marvelous towns and villages built in beautiful settings: sculpted valleys with plentiful water and rich soil. Their descriptions of Kedesh are so vivid I can almost feel the excitement of the big market. Farmers send produce from the fields around Dan, and our artisans send goods from our ceramic and metal workshops through Kedesh to the coastal cities of Lebanon in return for rare woods, glass, cloth, dyes, and manufactured goods that arrive in Tyre and Sidon from Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Kedesh itself is built on a large hilltop surrounded by a rich valley famous for well-kept vineyards and exquisite wines.

They speak of olive groves on the road leading to the Great Sea. The trees twisted and gnarled as generation after generation of growth is added to life drawn from the soil.

Travelers from distant lands tell me the Great Sea is a wonder. Salty to the taste, it contains strange fish and exotic creatures not found in the Merom or the Kinneret seas. They say, sometimes, like the tempests blanketing Mount Hermon, storms rage over the Great Sea, with relentless waters swirling in an angry rhythm and pounding the shore; sometimes the sea turns a deep blue hiding a mysterious depth, and sometimes it is tranquil.

They speak of a beautiful land beyond the Galilee: villages located across a varied geography, ranging from mountains rich in forests, tranquil deserts producing fine wines, a coastal plain with thick forests, abundant agriculture, and rich fishing: all with a well-developed ethical and cultural life.

And towering above everything, the crown jewel of Israel and the world, the magnificent city of David and Solomon, the location of our Temple, Jerusalem.

 

 

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