Today we welcome Roberta Kagan.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Roberta Kagan: First off, thank you so much for featuring me on your site. I am honored. I don’t usually like to talk about myself. So, this is a little difficult for me. But I am going to give it a go. My life outside of writing? Well, I love all animals. However, I think I would qualify as a crazy cat lady. I adore kitties. I was recently rescued by two six toed felines that keep me incredibly busy. Other interests? I practice EFT and meditate for at least an hour every day. And of course, I love, love, love, to read. I have lost and found myself in books for as long as I can remember. That is why I love writing. I want to give my readers the same pleasure and escape into worlds unknown that other authors have given me.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Roberta Kagan: I have written several novels, a few short stories, and two series. My books are fiction and most of them are set during the Holocaust. My mother was Jewish and, my father was Romany. I grew up constantly haunted by the dark and terrible memory of what had happened to their families in the Holocaust. In many ways, my writing is therapeutic for me. But more importantly, I have two messages that I would like my readers to take away from my work. The first is that we must never forget what happened, we must learn from it, and honor those who suffered. And the second message, is a message of hope (which you will find in each of my works) it is as follows: “Even In The Darkest Hour There Is Always A Flicker Of Light.”
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Roberta Kagan: I am presently working on a new series. The first book in the series will be released before the end of December. I am very excited about it. This series is the story of a little girl who was smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. It follows her and her descendants all the way through to modern day. The first book is called And…who is the real mother?
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Roberta Kagan: My books, because of the historic period in which they are set, are all very difficult to write. Many times, I have had to leave the computer because I was crying when I was writing. But I think if I had when a handful of starved and broken Jews held off the Nazi’s with only a few weapons. to choose one scene that was the most difficult, it would be the Warsaw Ghetto uprising when a handful of starved and broken Jews held off the Nazi’s with a very limited amount of weapons. It is in my novel All My Love, Detrick. I find that event to be so heartbreaking and courageous.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Robera Kagan: Research! I am constantly doing research and I hire historical fact checkers to go over my work in order to assure accuracy. Know any good fact checkers? I’m always looking for more!
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
Roberta Kagan: I’m very versatile as far as what I read. I love historical fiction, but try not to read books in my genre. I do that so that I never feel like I have someone else’s idea’s embedded in my mind when I am writing. I want all of my work to be fresh and uniquely my own.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Roberta Kagan: I don’t know that there was a person who encouraged me to write. I have an unusual story about how I began writing but I think I will save that for another time.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Book ‘Em: My strengths as an author? That’s a difficult question. The only thing I can say is that my work means a great deal to me. The subject matter is close to my heart. If that is a strength, then that is my strongest asset.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Roberta Kagan: For me, writing must be inspired. I never force it. If I don’t feel it today, I don’t write today. I have no routine. I guess I just follow my heart. Some days I might write 8,000 words. Other days I cannot write at all.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Roberta Kagan: I have no idea where I will be five years from now. I will go wherever God sends me. I know this sounds a bit lofty, but I believe that my writing is my life’s purpose, my reason for being on earth. And so, every night before I go to sleep, I ask God to use me wherever I am needed. So, I entrust my journey to God.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Roberta Kagan: Follow your heart. Do what feels right to you. Don’t worry about being rich or being a best seller. If you love what you do, and your heart is pure all the rest will follow.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Roberta Kagan: Oh my goodness, I love my readers. God bless ever one of them! They say the most beautiful things to me. I cannot even tell you what the greatest compliment has been or would be. I am just so humbled by their kind words.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
Roberta Kagan: Here is an excerpt from my new novel And… Who Is The Real Mother?
Right now, seconds counted. He’d found the building. Get rid of the child as quickly as possible.
The doorbell read “Nikodem and Helen Dobinski.”
Karl rang the bell.
Three flights up. Karl took the stairs two at a time.
Helen opened the door quickly and pulled him inside. The apartment was sparsely furnished. There was a slight odour of cooked cabbage.
“You must be Karl Abendstern?” Helen said.
“This is Eidel.” Karl handed the baby to Helen. He’d done his job. He turned to go, but Helen stopped him by grabbing his sleeve.
“How is her mother? How is Zofia?” she asked.
“As good as can be expected. She is depending on you to take care of her baby.”
“Please tell her that Eidel will be safe here and that she will be waiting for her when she returns. Tell her not to worry…please…”
Karl nodded. Too much time spent already on this project. He had to meet with his contacts then get back to the ghetto with supplies before sunrise.
“I have to go…” he said.
Helen nodded and opened the door. She was holding the baby in her arms.
Karl peeked out the door of Helen’s apartment. No one in the hallway. Without a goodbye, he climbed down the stairs and out of the apartment building. Helen closed the door behind him. Karl began to race quickly towards his meeting with the underground. But then something told him to stop for just a moment. Karl felt a shiver run up his spine, it was as if he’d been touched by the hand of God. He looked up at the stars and said a prayer in Hebrew, asking God to watch over the helpless little girl he’d just left in a stranger’s arms.
- Then Karl Abdenstern faded into the darkness