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"To me, a successful writer is the person who is able to enrich his/her reader in some area of their life, whether emotional, mental, spiritual or practical."

Interview: Sophia Bar-Lev, Author of ‘The Silver Locket’

Author PhotoSophia Bar-Lev learned the love of books from her mother and grandmother who were avid readers. By third grade she was writing stories and poems and the love of writing has continued throughout her life. After a successful career in elementary education, she was able to devote full time to what she loves most, writing.  She has published three novels and is presently working on the next one. Ms. Bar-Lev is married and has four children and seven grandchildren.

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Silver Locket. When did you start writing and what got you into contemporary fiction?

I started writing as a child and never stopped, though most of my early writing never saw the light of day.  I have also been an avid reader since childhood and had a particular affinity for novels that inspired and motivated the reader in addition to entertaining him/her.  In more recent years I zeroed in on novels that highlight the wisdom and strength gained through the life experience of so-called ‘boomer’ women. 

What is your book about?

 This novel celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over tragedy and heartache.  It chronicles the lives of two women whose lives are linked by a child that belongs to both of them but in different ways.  Their common devotion to motherhood and family ultimately leads to a powerful and fulfilling reunion. The power of a sensitive and difficult decision years earlier is realized as two families join their hearts and lives because of one special daughter they share.

What was your inspiration for it? 

Book Cover - The SIlver LocketThis novel is loosely based on the true life story of a friend of mine who longed to have her story told but did not have the time or inclination to write it herself.  With her permission and approval, I took on the project because I believed it was a story worth telling.  It taps into the deepest feelings of motherhood in a respectful and thoughtful way without glossing over the very real emotional issues of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.

Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined? 

Yes, I write for 4-6 hours per day, four days a week.  I find that I am most productive when I stick to this schedule.  Unplanned or unexpected interruptions are a part of life and, of course, they happen at times but in general this is my regular committed schedule.  My best writing time is in the morning as I’m an early riser and always have been. 

How do you celebrate the completion of a book? 

This is always fun.  My favorite way to celebrate is a dinner out with my family and/or with friends at a nice restaurant.  Delicious food accompanied by a choice wine and lively conversation seasoned with plenty of laughter is the celebration I enjoy the most. 

How do you define success? 

To me, a successful writer is the person who is able to enrich his/her reader in some area of their life, whether emotional, mental, spiritual or practical.  Books are a treasure trove of education and potential which each reader can apply as suits him/her best. 

Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work? 

Yes, I invite you to visit http://www.sophiabarlev.com and enjoy some of the unpublished writing posted there in addition to learning more about me and my published works.  I do blog within the context of my website and offer a free email subscription to those who would like notification of new postings. 

What is your advice for aspiring authors? 

First of all, ask yourself why you want to write because it’s the ‘why’ that will keep you going on tough days.  Once you’ve established your personal philosophy about writing, then decide which genre will best enable you to communicate your message.  Above all, don’t write for the money; write because you love it and you have a desire to make this world a better place.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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