Monday, May 23, 2011

Virtual Tour: Nikki Leigh Interviews Me About My Writing

In my latest stop on the virtual tour I'm now on to promote my memoir, Nikki Leigh interviews me on her blog, Your One Stop for Free Information. Here's the interview:

I would like to introduce you to Susan Avitzour, she is the author of And Twice the Marrow. It is a memoir where she shares the very personal story about her daughter and her family after her daughter’s cancer diagnosis. It is a daughter’s struggle and a mother’s struggle as she works to help her daughter navigate a journey no mother and child want to face. Through the pages of this book she shares their personal story and shows others how they can face illness, disappointment, loss and find resilience in their lives despite trials and hardships.

Your Name: Susan Petersen Avitzour -

Nikki Leigh - Where you are from and where are you now?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I’m originally from Coney Island. I’ve lived in various places including Connecticut, Berkeley California, and Paris, but for the past thirty-plus years I’ve lived in Israel – Jerusalem, to be exact.

Nikki Leigh - How did you get started writing?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I’ve been writing since I was a child. I wrote my first story in second grade, and have been doing creative writing – both fiction and nonfiction – on and off ever since then.

Nikki Leigh - What do you do when you are not writing?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I’m a clinical social worker, and work as a psychotherapist both in a public hospital clinic and in private practice. Besides that I love to read, sing, dance, hike, and (most important) spend quality time with family and friends.

Nikki Leigh - What would readers like to know about you?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I raised seven children – six girls and a boy. I’m now on my fourth career, having been a lawyer, a mediator, and a translator/commercial writer before going back to school to get my MSW.

Nikki Leigh - What inspired your first book?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - My fourth daughter, Timora, died of leukemia in 2001. I knew early on that I wanted very much to capture my experience both as the mother of a child with cancer, and as a mother who lost her child to cancer, in a way that may help and possibly even inspire others who have or are experiencing hardship – or are interested in how others overcome life’s challenges.

Nikki Leigh - What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones – Memoir

Nikki Leigh - Why are you specially qualified to write about this topic?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I happen to be a person who has always both felt my experiences keenly and reflected on their meaning for me; this is exactly what I do in my book.

Nikki Leigh - How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track when you’re writing a book?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - Because of its special nature, the book I wrote was on my mind all the time anyway. But even when I’m writing stories that have nothing to do with the loss of my daughter, once I’ve started them they kind of take me over, so that I don’t really have any trouble staying focused.

Nikki Leigh - Do you write to make money, for the love of writing or both?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - For the moment, for the love of writing, but also in order to reach out to my readers – kind of start a conversation with them. I wouldn’t object to making money, though I intend to donate any profits from my memoir to charity.

Nikki Leigh - Where can people order your books?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - On Amazon –

Nikki Leigh - What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - Print, though I do intend to publish to Kindle as well.

Nikki Leigh - What do you have in the works now?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - A collection of mixed-genre stories that I’ve tentatively entitled Scenes from My Life and Other Stories.

Nikki Leigh - What does the future hold for you and your books?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - If only I knew! I hope very much that my memoir will reach as many people as possible who may benefit from it.

Nikki Leigh - What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I spoke about the book in several public forums.

Nikki Leigh - What makes this book special to you?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - The book is a memorial to my wonderful daughter; and the culmination of an intensely creative and therapeutic process in which I revisited and explored my own tragedy and its personal and philosophical implications in a way that can help other people deal with their own difficulties – all rolled into one.

Nikki Leigh - What sort of comments have you gotten about the content of the book?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - All the comments I’ve gotten have been very positive, and very intense. A great many people have told me they couldn’t put it down – and many of those stayed up all night reading it. Some have told me they found it uplifting or inspiring; others have thanked me for writing it and told me that it’s helped them deal with difficulties they are facing in their own lives, even if these difficulties are very different from those I describe in the memoir. No one has said anything noncommittal or polite, such as “it was interesting.” Everyone has used expressions such as “beautifully written,” “powerful,” and “extremely moving.”

Nikki Leigh - What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - Life is trauma. All of us, at one time or another, must confront the loss of someone who is precious to us, or some aspect of our lives with which we find it difficult to part. Many of us must also deal with the disruption of normal life that serious illness or disability brings with it. My book both shows others that they are not alone in the emotional, physical, and family stress that inevitably accompanies these tragedies, and depicts how I personally have dealt with it.

Many people also struggle with their faith in a loving God under these circumstances. My book deals with this question head-on. Although the memoir deals specifically with my relationship with Judaism, and how it affected and was affected by the loss of my daughter, my reflections are relevant to people of all faiths.

Nikki Leigh - What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - People need to be interested in entering into the book’s intense emotional world, as I pull no punches and describe my experiences and thoughts directly and honestly.

Nikki Leigh - What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Susan Petersen Avitzour - I wish I knew! I mostly find that sitting down and actually starting to write is the best spark to creativity, but (of course) it’s no guarantee.

Nikki Leigh - If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn’t interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I’m thinking something better than “Its the greatest book ever.” Give me something more specific :)

Susan Petersen Avitzour - If you or someone you care for has ever faced extreme difficulty or loss, or if how others confront such difficulty or loss interests you, this book will speak to you. It also both tells my story in an emotionally evocative narrative, and reflects on it in a personal and philosophical journal, so that if you like either genre it has something for you.

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