After an intense week of work on the copyedits for FAITHFUL, I'm thrilled to be back posting a new author interview, and especially delighted to feature author Anna Levine. Her most recent two books, FREEFALL and JODIE'S HANUKKAH DIG, both published in 2008, are receiving much acclaim.
Congratulations on the publication of your award-winning books FREEFALL and JODIE'S HANUKKAH DIG! Can you tell us a bit about each of these books?
All my books are set in Israel. I like writing stories with strong female characters. JODIE'S HANUKKAH DIG (Karben Publishers) is about a young girl who dreams of being an archaeologist. Everyone tells her she’s too little—of course she proves them wrong. Being the smallest person on the dig, she is put into a bucket and lowered into a cave where she discovers an ancient treasure.
FREEFALL (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) is about an eighteen-year-old girl before her draft into the Israeli army. It’s a novel about being eighteen and living in Israel with everything that entails from conflicts with family, changing friendships, the challenges of the military and falling in love for the very first time.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or are these your first effort?
I started writing about twelve years ago. My first book, RUNNING ON EGGS (Front Street/Cricket Books) is about the friendship that develops between two girls on a track team. One of the girls is Israeli, the other Palestinian. I’ve written a number of award winning short stories and poems for Cicada, Cricket, Spider and Highlights magazines. Many of my poems and short stories are available on my website.
Can you describe your path to publication?
SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) was very helpful in getting my writing career started. My path began with a lot of rejections. I think most writers experience this. But I can be very determined, and like Jodie and Aggie (from FREEFALL) when I’m told I can’t do something—I’ll prove them wrong. I work and rework my manuscripts until I get them right.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Persistence! And determination. I think for a lot of us writers who have family responsibilities and/or day jobs it’s also a matter of giving ourselves the time it takes to dream, think and create.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I live in Israel. My books are set here because I find this country, the mix of cultures and the people fascinating. I am always learning something new. I’m working on a new Jodie book that explores an ancient water tunnel underneath the City of David in Jerusalem. Just a few weeks ago, I slogged through the tunnel with the water up to my knees. It was dark, wet, terrifying and so much fun!
I’m also working on another young adult novel set in Jerusalem. This novel, CURTAIN CALL, is about a religious girl and the conflicts she faces as she steps out of her religious home and community to mix with secular society.
What are your other writing inspirations?
I guess for me writing is a reflection of my personal life. I have two boys in the army. My husband is a professor at the Hebrew University. My experiences, my life and my family all find their way into my books.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about your work? I know you have a book trailer, too - please share!
My website about my other works www.annalevine.org
The website for FREEFALL www.freefallthenovel.com
My book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGTjlFWKRmc&fmt=18