Do you recall how your interest in writing began?
I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I donâ€™t remember when I first heard my mother talk about having to hide in the circus from the Nazis, but I knew I wanted to write my motherâ€™s story even when I was very small.
Tell us a little bit about your life in the circus.
My father owned a circus, but lost it after the war
Most of the animals had died of hunger, or were eaten in the last stages of the war. The galloping inflation that ran amok in Germany after the war took the rest. The new government issued new money, and Father had just enough to buy an old merry-go-round and the materials for a shooting hall.
The shooting hall was a booth, like they have in the carnivals here in the U.S. Every week in a new town, my father could put up both the shooting hall and the carousel in less than an afternoon.
I was raised in a caravan trailer, which was a bit like todayâ€™s motor home, but with much less comfort. The caravan home had solid rubber tires, and three compartments—the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom. We had no bathroom, just a curtained off section of the kitchen, where we relieved ourselves in the offal bucket.
What are your current projects?
Iâ€™m working on the revision of my memoir about growing up on the carnival circuit. Iâ€™m also looking for representation for my biographical novel, the story of my motherâ€™s youth, Tightrope!
My mother originally worked as an in-store model and a fashion expert in Berlin, Germany, but had to leave because she was half-Jewish. About that time, she also broke up with her fiancĂ©, who started stalking her. Luckily, she was accepted as a ticket taker in a circus, and left Berlin, the Nazis, and her ex-boyfriend behind. She stayed in the circus until the end of the war, and this is where she met my father. Father owned a Polish circus, but the Nazis took it from his family, and they had to work as common artists until the end of the war. The German owners later returned the circus to them.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Iâ€™ve always had trouble letting my emotions flow. So it comes as no surprise that I have to work on displaying the emotions of my characters.
Has writing been therapeutic for you?
Being able to put myself into my motherâ€™s shoes has helped me to see why she was the kind of mother she was. Also, writing my childhood memoir was very healing. My family members are glad someone is writing about our unusual past. Iâ€™ve gotten nothing but support from them.