Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi Fiona! Thank you so much for having me. I am honored to be featured on your blog. My name is Roberta Kagan. I am 62 years young!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Chicago.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Gosh, it’s hard to talk about myself. I guess you could say I am a simple person, I am very grateful for all that I have. I love animals and have recently been adopted by two kittens who I adore. My daughter is my assistant in all things, and my best friend. My husband is my most avid critic and fan. And, I love to learn. I am always researching! Sometimes the research is for a new book, other times just out of curiosity. But, there is always something new to discover in this wonderful exciting universe!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am working on a new series! I received several emails from readers who had read my novel “You Are My Sunshine” They wanted to know what happened to Zofia’s daughter Eidel.
I will give you a little background…
Zofia was a Jewish woman of Polish decent. She and her daughter Eidel were imprisoned by the Nazi’s in the Warsaw Ghetto. The conditions in the ghetto were horrific and if a young child such as Eidel was to survive she must somehow leave the ghetto. So, Zofia found a way to have Eidel smuggled out. My new series is Eidel’s story.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I didn’t begin writing until very late in life. I had done a great deal of research on the Holocaust because of my family background. My father was Romany, my mother was Jewish. However I never felt compelled to write until I was 57. Then one night, at four in the morning, I woke up and started writing. That was when I began my first novel. It felt as if the story was flowing through me. At the time, I had a job. I couldn’t work. I had to write. So, I took off of work for two weeks. I couldn’t stop writing. By the end of two weeks, I had written the outline. You ask why I write? Well, most of my books are set during the Holocaust. I write stories from the Holocaust for two reasons. One, is to honor those who suffered. And the other, is so that the memories and the lessons are not forgotten by future generations.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess when I realized that someone who wasn’t related to me was actually reading my work!!! What an honor that is. I cannot tell you how much it touches me even now to know that people take the time out of their busy lives to read my books. It truly humbles me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As I said, I just woke out of a dead sleep and started writing. I can’t explain it. But that was my novel “All my Love Detrick”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well…There is a letter that Detrick gives to the woman he loves at the end of the book. He signs the letter “All My Love, Detrick.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
. I guess you could say my style is uncomplicated. When I first started writing someone said something to me that always stuck with me. She said “Tell the story, Roberta, don’t let the words get in the way. Keep the writing simple so the reader can get wrapped up in the lives of your characters.” And, that’s what I have always done.
My genre is a difficult one. It is painful to research sometimes. But, I believe it is important that the stories of those who cannot speak for themselves be told.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of the events in my books are based in Historical fact. I have spoken with hundreds of survivors. I’ve spoken with children and grandchildren of SS Officers too. However, my books are not one actual persons story. They tell the stories of many who suffered.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do travel to craft my work, and I meet with lots of people.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My covers have been designed by several different artists.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh yes. I have several messages that I want the reader to grasp. As I said earlier, I want to honor those who suffered. And I also want the world to know that not all German’s were Nazi’s. But the most important theme that runs through all of my work is the message of hope. If I can reach out to my readers and convey the following message, then I will have done my job… “Even in the darkest hour, there is always a flicker of light.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have so many favorites, I couldn’t tell you just one!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I see it as a very important responsibly and a full time career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My most recent book is the final book in my “Michal’s Destiny” series. It takes place after the war. I learned a lot about the terrifying conditions in Berlin after Hitler committed suicide leaving the woman in Berlin to face the Russian army.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Which book? If my novel “All My Love, Detrick” were to be made into a film Leo D’Caprio would be my number one choice for Detrick.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write from your heart.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I would like my readers to know that I truly appreciate their support of my work. They are the reason I stay up until all hours of the night researching and writing. The readers are what makes it all worthwhile. And if I had the chance I would like to thank every one of them from the bottom of my heart.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading several research books for my new series about the conditions in Poland during the war.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Little Women. I am sure there were books before that. But, that one was the first to have a huge impact on me.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kittens make me laugh. Seeing anyone or anything suffer makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I had always wanted to meet Oprah Winfrey. I finally met her last year. She is as wonderful as I had always known she would be.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I practice EFT. I study LOA.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much TV. I love to go to the theater. If I could, I would live in New York and go to the theater and the library every day.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love musical theater! Pizza! Colors…bright, vivid, beautiful!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would practice random acts of kindness. There is nothing that is as much fun!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
It’s funny you ask this question. A dear friend of mine who is also a writer once asked me “Roberta, what would you like to be remembered for?”
“If I could be remembered for anything, I would like to be remembered for kindness and generosity!”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
http://www.robertakagan.com/home.html Or please feel free to find me on Facebook or join my book club which is also on Face book it is called the Roberta Kagan Book Club. It’s a lot of fun. Lots of writers post about their books and I am always doing random giveaways just because I enjoy doing them!
Thank you for having me, Fiona. It has been a pleasure!