Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alexandra Everist

I am very pleased to have been able to interview Alexandra Everist, author of several books. Her latest is A Katrina Moment which deals with New Orleans in their catastrophe following Hurricane Katrina. I want to discuss this book first, Alexandra.

Mike> Did you live in New Orleans and hence the concept for the book?

AE> I am not from New Orleans, but have volunteered for various agencies in New Orleans, most recently with Hands On New Orleans in conjunction with Americorps. My novel is fictionalized account based on information I received from other volunteers and survivors.

Mike> Interesting. Can you tell us a bit about the story?

AE> "A Katrina Moment" is a tale of prejudice and how it destroys lives, both for the victim and the people who believe in it. The title is symbolic of a moment in time when people need each other and the evil of prejudiice disappears.

Mike> That was a time of both heros and villains, to be sure. How long did it take you to write Katrina?

AE> It took about a year and a half to write. In one way, it was easier to write (than first book) since I did not need to make sure events were 100% factual. In another, since there was no need to complete it in a specific timeframe, it was harder to keep on track. I made sure to allot at least some time each day to either research or writing.

Mike> Now tell us about your first book.

AE> "No Place to Call Home" tells the story of my father's experiences during WWII, from the time he was captured by the Soviets and placed in the Soviet gulag to the end of the war when his homeland was given away and he had no place to go home. It shows how people need to work together in order to survive.

Mike> That sounds like a big job. How long did that one take to write?

AE> "No Place to Call Home" took me six years to write. It was critical to make sure any information in the book was absolutely correct. So I had to do intensive research. I was determined to make sure it would be released in my father's lifetime. That determination kept me focussed upon its completion.

Mike> Did your Father collaborate with you in the research or writing?

AE> My father and I wrote the book together. Initially, it was a story told by him. But after numerous rejections, I realized it needed to be a story about him. I could say so much more when it was in my words. I ended up getting two offers from publishing companies after I revised it.

Mike> Excellent. When writing, do you begin with the premise or begin with a lesson or moral issue to write around?

AE> Since each of my books present a moral dilemna, I begin with a situation that exposes a problem. Then I look for the symbolic value of each event in the story to blend into the message I am attempting to convey.

Mike> Wonderful. Thank you for these two stories. I appeciate your taking the time for this interview, and good luck with your books. By the way, folks can visit Alexandra's own web page at www.alexandraeverist.com