Zalman Ber: The True Story of the Man the Nazis Could Not Kill
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The story has always been inside of me. I was born one month after my parents arrived in Elis Island. I grew up with the stories. Rabbi Aaron had asked me for a long time to do a body of work in paintings of what my parents went through. For many years I said no, I didn't feel I could relive their experiences. But one day in 2013, it came to me that I needed to tell their story. I said okay and this began my process. The first book consisted of my art and some excerpts of my parents' experiences. Prose was written by Rabbi Aaron. The art show and book were a great success and people wanted to hear more about what my parents went through. The time was right and I knew I had to get their story out.
2. What is it about whom do you believe is your targeted reader.
From high school age to adult, Jews and non-Jews, Muslims, Christians and any denomination. It is a book that is relevant now.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Ending the many atrocities mankind inflicts on each other and the indomitable spirit of man to start again. I would hope readers would look at our political structure now and how we would not want to repeat history. Such as how Churchill wanted to let Jews in his country but his advisers were afraid they would be Nazi spies. Franklin Roosevelt was afraid to let Jews into this country and sent them back, this strikes of all too much familiarity. Compare this to the refugee situation and think about what we are doing and creating.
4. What advise or words of wisdom do have for fellow writers.
Be passionate about whatever idea you have and I believe that will carry you through all the frustration and rejections you get. Surround yourself with supportive people and don't forget to workout and to meditate to get rid of your frustrations.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
First let me clarify I don't have that much experience since this is only my second book and my first book was self-published. I see more self- publishing made easy and not costly for the writer. I feel more and more self -publishing will be popular especially e-books. E-books are easier for the public to read and less use of paper so more green.
6. What great challenge did you have in writing your book?
My greatest challenge was keeping my book in my father's voice.
The way he spoke was lazy English, since it was not his first language (it had become his sixth). I tried to use proper grammar without changing the integrity of what he said. The next challenge was that I couldn't verify experiences and deaths as the main characters had all been killed. As my parents had already passed away, I had to do research and rely on my father's journal and the oral stories heard while growing up. Of course, the awful realization that this really happened to my parents had great impact. They had gone through and had to endure awful indignities. I lost my older brother who was an infant at the time and many Aunts and Uncles.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
They should buy this book because it has great historical impact and is also an amazing love story. Also we don't want history to repeat itself. The book is an easy and fascinating read and a real page turner.
Lisa Kotz Mishler, the daughter of Holocaust survivors and heroes Sol and Luba Kotz, grew up hearing stories of her parents' life in Poland during WW II. As a professional painter working primarily in oils, acrylics and watercolor, those stories influenced her work. Her first book, L'Chayim-To Life, is a collection of paintings, and narration inspired by her parents harrowing and miraculous journey in Poland before emigrating to the United States. For more info, please see: www.lisamishler.com