Blog 77 09/03/2019 A LITERARY WORLD: An Interview with Uvi Poznansky
A LITERARY WORLD
An Interview with Uvi Poznansky
I am always in awe of multi-talented people who have several careers and are successful in all of them. “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” springs to mind here. My guest today on A Literary World is one such person. Uvi Poznansky has a B.A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and after moving to Troy, N.Y. she earned her M.A. in Architecture. This was followed by a M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Michigan. In addition to her academic career, she is an accomplished artist having exhibited in California and Israel. On top of this eye-watering list of achievements, she is a highly successful author.
Welcome to A Literary World, Uvi. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where do you live and when did you start writing?
I was born in Israel, and both my parents are holocaust survivors. While my mother never talked about her experiences, my father, who was a poet and an artist, left the account of his survival stories on paper. When I was a child–before I learned to hold a pen in my hand–he would ask me to help him rhyme his poems, which was his way of opening the door for me to a world of wonder: writing.
I live in sunny Southern California and create art in several mediums, doing my utmost best to stretch the envelope. By the same token, I write in several genres, represented in my three series, each entirely different than the others: Still Life with Memories (the story of a family told in the 1980s and in WWII US, France, and London); The David Chronicles (about the youth, prime of life, and old age of one of the most fascinating characters in the history of ancient Israel); and Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance.
Probably the most common question I get is “Where Do You Get Your Ideas?” Well, ideas are all around us: in the news, in stories that friends tell us, and in our past experiences. The difficulty is choosing which idea to pursue. I’ve learned to heed that little voice in my mind that tells me, “This is a great one.” That voice hasn’t failed me yet.
Which was your first book to make the USA Today Best Seller list and what did that mean to you?
The accolade of USA Today Bestselling Author has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it feels wonderful to get itfor the limited edition boxed set Love Under Fire, which featured (among other books) my romantic suspense, Virtually Lace.
Did I mention I write in several genres? As a techno-thriller, this book harkens back to my career in Computer Science. And the first book in the same series, a medical thriller titled Coma Confidential, takes this direction a step farther, because during that career I developed software for medical instrument companies.
You have an art background. Would you like to tell us more about this?
I have two master degrees, one in Computer Science (from UFM), the other in Architecture (from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.) My education and work in Architecture are my way of marrying the artistic drive, which accompanies me since childhood, and the wish to formulate it in precise computational terms.
So, what kind of art am I creating? It changes from one phase of my life to another. I create clay and bronze sculptures (and write stories in the voice of these sculptures, one of which you can read in my free book, Twisted.) I paint in watercolor, ink, and oils (which you can view on my art site.) I create paper sculptures, some of them kinetic (which you can see HERE and THERE on my blog.)
I love your mantra, “I paint with my pen and write with my paintbrush.” Do you believe that your art background has helped your writing?
This mantra is something I expressed spontaneously during my very first radio interview, and so many listeners reacted to it, to the point I realized how true it is of my body of work. A lot of times, a piece of art starts having a voice in my head, forcing me to write it down in a poem or a novel. A good example is my poem, Dust, which expresses the relationship between two of my figures in several sculptures. Other times I describe a landscape in my story and it becomes so vivid to me that I have to paint it.
Who are your favourite authors?
Surprisingly, I find poetry to be the greatest influence on my writing: I appreciate the nuances, the overloading of words, and the musical rhythms used in the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets by Shakespeare, and the lyrical descriptions of Virginia Wolfe, to name but a few.
I love American authors as well as authors from around the world, for example The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, for their expressive use of ‘stream of consciousness’.
Playwrights have a great impact on my writing, for example The Price by Arthur Miller, because they teach me to listen to dialog, and identify emotions and motives through the speech patterns of the characters.
Today we are featuring your boxed set of WWII novels, Apart from War. Can you tell us about these?
For a long time I had this idea of creating a series around the events in the life of a unique family. The characters had to have not only a compelling voice, but they had to see things in an entirely different light, which would create contrasts and conflicts, as each one of them comes from a different background and has different passions, needs, and aspirations. All three novels in Apart from War are set in WWII, leading up to D-Day and after it.
The Music of Us: In 1970, Lenny can no longer deny that his wife is undergoing a profound change. Despite her relatively young age, her mind succumbs to forgetfulness. Now, he goes as far back as the moment he met Natasha, when he was a soldier and she—a star, brilliant yet illusive. Natasha was a riddle to him then, and to this day, with all the changes she has gone through, she still is.
Dancing with Air: Fooling Nazi espionage may cost Lenny the trust of the girl who captured his heart. Will Natasha discover his secret D-Day reports, disguised as love letters to another woman?
Marriage before Death: After D-Day, her photograph appears on the most-wanted Nazi propaganda posters. Who is the girl with the red beret? She reminds him of Natasha, but no, that cannot be. Why does Rochelle step into his life when he is lead by SS soldiers to the gallows? At the risk of being found out as a French Resistance fighter, what makes her propose marriage to a condemned man?
Please share an excerpt from Apart from War with us.
Sure 🙂 to listen to the beautiful narration of this excerpt, click HERE.
Sometimes I wonder: after such a long time together, how little do we know each other?
Who is this woman, with whom I have built a family? Behind this frightened gaze, is this really Natasha, my love, my inspiration? Can I stop her from becoming even more damaged? Can I save her? Is she still present?
And if this is no longer Natasha as I know her, Perhaps this is Rochelle? Perhaps she is just fooling me—and not only me but everyone else too, including the doctors—because… Because to win a victory against a dangerous foe, sometimes you must work your way through deception, through secrets and lies.
Is she just pretending—for reasons known only to her—to be a new person, different from the one I thought she was?
Oh, how I would like to believe that!
I lean over to comb that unruly strand of hair away from her eye.
At first, Natasha seems startled. Then she lets me tuck it, ever so gently, around her ear.
I say, “There’s so much I want to ask you, sweetheart.”
“Really?” she asks, with a reluctant tone. She stares blankly at the corner of the kitchen floor, evading my eyes as if in anticipation of some trick question. “Like what?”
“Remember that night, in Vernon?”
She replies, “Yes,” but does so with a shaky tone, which means no, I don’t really remember but I’ll give you the answer you want. Just let me be.
I wipe a bit of syrup from her chin. She must have licked it when I wasn’t looking. “You told me,” I say, “that come what may, you would never forget that night.”
“That night?” she says. “Which one?”
“In Vernon, when we woke up in each other’s embrace, to the sound of shots.”
I pause for a second, so she may reply. And as I wait for her, the memory comes back to me. It seems so fresh, so vivid, as if it happened just yesterday…
Following the failed attempt to blow the bridge, fights erupted between French Resistance fighters and German soldiers. Rochelle and I ran frantically through the narrow streets to join Monsieur Antoine and about forty other fighters.
Upon arriving at city hall, he handed us some home-made explosives, which we started hurling, along with the other fighters, at German tanks and trucks. I remember the shine in her eyes. “This,” she cried out to me, “is a life worth living!”
Just then, one of the tanks caught fire. The blast pushed her back, accidentally, into my arms. Oh, what a fiery woman she used to be!
And still, there is fire in her.
I dread the day when she will stop playing altogether. As long as her music—such as it is—is full of rage, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps there is still hope.
Thank you for being with us today, Uvi, and for giving us a glimpse into your creative world. It’s been a great pleasure and we wish you continued success.