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An Interview With Artist And Dancer Oliver-Paul Adams



Oliver-Paul Adams is a professional dancer and an aspiring artist; here is a link to his website:


Q: How did you originally get into ballet?


A:  I was three years old and my older sister was taking weekly ballet classes. I would stand outside the full length windows with my nose pressed up against them peering into the studio. It made more sense for me to be in the studio than outside of the studio making the windows dirty! So before I knew it I was in the studio with a tiny pair of black leather ballet shoes on every Saturday morning practicing my good toes, naughty toes exercises…. little did I know that ballet would define me!


Q: Where you a featured dancer or were you in the core group of dancers?


A:  When I was at my vocational ballet school in England I would work with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in all the company’s large scale productions including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. Whilst still training with my school my teacher and former ballet icon Irek Mukhamedov would tell the guys in my class that you don’t join a ballet company to be a Corps De Ballet (group ensemble), so I took that advice on board and took my first contract at 18 as a Demi-Soloist dancer in the Slovakian National Ballet. After dancing there I did some traveling through my dancing and settled in California where I danced many Soloist and Principal roles.


Q: How many hours a day did you exercise when you were a dancer?


A: The last ballet company that I danced with was 9.30am to 6.30pm five or six days a week. As a student it was very similar so you never realize how much work you are doing until you take a moment to step back and understand how grueling your job is! Ballet dancers are some of the fittest and hardest working human beings that walk this earth, and the fact that they are doing it to create this beautifully amazing art is something that I will always respect.


Q: What is the main reason aspiring dancers fail?






A: Although there can be many reasons why aspiring ballet dancers may fail I do believe that if the dancer works hard and dedicates every drop of sweat to this art then they can make it to become a professional dancer.


Q: .When did you start painting?


A: I would enjoy sketching when I was a child, every school book would have my sketches on pages meant for math or science. I would get home from school to my grandmas house and spend hours drawing cartoons until my mum would pick me up. My dancing then took over and became the passion that I dedicated my time to. A few years ago I was injured and took time off of ballet, during this time I need to find my creativity so I headed to the art store and picked up the paints! That was enough to relight the fire!


Q: Who are some of your artistic influences?


A: Most of my artistic influences were my art teachers at school! They were always the teachers that I felt understood me and wanted to explore my creativity. I always looked forward to art classes and saw them as a sanctuary, somewhere where I could be expressive and creative. I remember thinking how cool it was being able to listen to a radio during class, the art teachers were the coolest!


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your art?



A:  I dance, I teach dance and I paint. I would consider all of them my day job. The best thing is that none of them feel like a day job because its not a chore. I’m blessed being able to do the things that I love for a living. Most of the time when I am dancing I am dancing other peoples choreography, I am the paint! When I’m painting I am the choreographer, I choreograph the paint! This gives me the full freedom of expression!


Q: You paint a lot of celebrities, what interests you about them?


A:  I’ve always been attracted to icons, I would say I paint icons as oppose to celebrities. It’s interesting to me why these people became massive icons. They are people that changed industries, if not the world.


Q: What is the biggest misconception we Americans have about Europeans?


A: Europeans not sure, British, we drink all our beer warm.



Q: What famous painter would you most like to teach to dance?


A: Good question. I would say a Post Impressionist painter like Van Gogh. His brush strokes were highly expressive, bold and dramatic. As a dancer its important to show the technique but to also interpret the steps in your own way. He dedicated his life to his art and although dying young he left a huge footprint of more than 2100 artworks. Dedication and hard work makes the dancer and the artist.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Author Kamlesh Thakur



Kamlesh Thakur is the author of A Middle Class Dream; here is a link to his website:






Q: What is A Middle Class Dream about?


A: AMCD (A Middle Class Dream) is a story of little boy who was born in India, discovering and nurturing his uniqueness, finding his purpose in life who challenges and breaks through numerous rhymes, reasons and sometimes superstitious beliefs of a highly discriminatory society filled with inequality in every walk of life.


It provides a comprehensive perspective of the many highly diverse cultures that coexist in the world’s largest democracy. It highlights the struggles this kid had to go through, the obstacles he had to overcome before becoming successful. It highlights the feeling of satisfaction in sharing the tools of success discovered, the skills and values learned so others may benefit and apply it in their own ways to replicate this process of success.


The message of AMCD is “no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’ve been – as long as you have a vision of your life, a purpose to strive for, you will achieve anything you desire and some more





Q: What caste does Krish belong to and where is that caste raked in the social structure?


A: Krish is a blue blooded “Rajput” – the warrior caste (also known as the Kshatriyas). Ancestors of this caste were royalty (kings & queens) that have fought numerous historic wars. The Hindu scriptures have all documented Lord Rama as a Kshatriya.


After the British (East India Company) rule for decades many palaces, their history and heritage were forfeited under the doctrine of lapse policy. Since independence the popularity and prominence of this caste diminished and is today one of the many hundreds of caste’s.



Q: What is the overall theme of the book?


A: Victory in any endeavor of life belongs to those that believe in it the most, that believe in it the longest. We have to be the change we want to see, and we already have everything we need. So, we need to do what we can, wherever we are with whatever we have, because what we have is indeed plenty. And oh, be content, but never be satisfied.



Q: What makes Krish worth reading about?


A: If you want to experience extreme cultural diversity (cultural, educational, customs etc.) as if you were there in flesh – you would find this to be a worthy read.


Q: What do you think motivates the Sweetie character?


A: This is one character that is not motivated by anything of her own. If anything came close, it was the need to conform to societies whims and fancies, dictates. This included parents, siblings and oh, how can I forget – the dreaded CASTE barrier. Outer suggestions ruled and shaped her life, her destiny was written by others – as is for many million women (and men).


Changes are taking place, but at a snail’s pace, and for a country with 1.4 billion people, how quick will the changes take place is anybody’s guess.


Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing (again you do not have to name your employer, just the industry)?


A: I am a Software Program Manager, and have worked for some of the biggest technology brand names in the business. I enjoy what I do in my day job as well. In the first 10 years of my job career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience numerous places, cultures and cuisine. I love interacting with people from all over the world. Through my interactions I found that though we’re different in how we look, our basic human needs, wants, desires are more of less the same.


Our perspectives are different, and that partially became the reason for me to look inside of me, to discover what I had learned, and how I could share that with the world.



Q: What is the biggest misconception Americans have about India?


A: This is an interesting question. There are a few that I’m aware of. First, it’s not all snake charmers and elephants (though that’s a small part of life in certain pockets of the country)


Everyone is Poor: This is one of the biggest & common myth. Just look at the amount of money spent at any Indian wedding and it’ll change this perspective. It’s one of the richest countries on earth (still is). The issue there is “in-equal distribution of wealth”. For this reason, you’ll find some of the world’s richest and the poorest of poor live next to each other in the same city (Mumbai is a classic example of it).


Very recently, a temple vault was opened which revealed tons of solid / pure gold. Its worth was estimated to be in billions of dollars. That was just 1, there are many more vaults in just 1 city. It was estimated (per local news) that two other vaults if opened will make at least $ 1 Trillion available in gold.


There are dozens more spread throughout the country – kept secret. You do the math (it’s in trillions of dollars – that’s certain). Check this link out.




Indians don’t speak “Indian” – There are about 2500 or more languages (not dialects, but languages), none of them are called “Indian”. That said, Hindi, English are the most commonly spoken throughout the country.

Everyone is Hindu – Though the vast majority of the population is Hindu, minorities, such as Christians, Jain, Buddhist, Muslims, Sikh, Zoroastrianism make up for more than 20% of the country’s population.

Everyone is Vegetarian – Untrue, though roughly 50% of the people are vegetarians, the rest are not.



Q: Who are some of your writing influences?


A: Brendon Burchard is one of my favorite writers. I also like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Wallace Wattles


Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?


A: Ballroom Dancing of Course. When I feel like I’m experiencing a block, I temporarily off the brain, and dance Tango / Waltz or Roomba routine. The music and dance rhythm opens up my neuro-pathways almost immediately or within the next day or so, that most definitely helps me get past the writers’ block.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: During my spare / free time, I am working on a project for empowering women (it’s called the V2 project).

I also speak to groups (women’s empowerment groups in Asia) for a good cause, groups & institutions related to Leptospirosis (I’ve had that dang thing twice as a teenager). I do this outside of my day job, during holidays / vacations and sometimes weekends.



Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Actor Dhruv Bali



Dhruv Bali is an actor who appeared in the one man show, Pain is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever; here is a link to his website:

Q: What made you decide to pursue acting?

A: While working on my Major in economics at The University Of San Francisco, I started taking theater classes. Since I loved doing Drama/acting in school I instantaneously fell in love with acting all over again, something that has been always close to my heart. After graduation I knew that I wanted to pursue it as a career since I have always believed that if one chooses what they love doing or are passionate about success is bound to come and you are happy doing it.

Q: What is “Pain is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever” about?

A: Pain Is temporary is a play/Solo performance which I wrote, directed and acted in. It is about the idea of ‘never giving up” as often times we give right before we are about to chieve our goal. There will be hardships along the way, life is tough and often when we are trying to achieve something we will be faced with obstacles but those are ust temporary if you have the tenacity to keep going and working hard towards what you want.

The play itself is about the hardships I had to face in my life in my prime years 19-22. I had gotten sick and had to take a break from college, spent a whole year going in and out of hospitals, suffered complete muscle atrophy to the point where I could not een climb stairs on my own. For a 20 year old who should be in college growing up I was suddenly scooped out of that life.
But I did not give up I kept fighting, got better and stronger came back to college, got my degree with a 3.97 GPA and was offered to be the valedictorian. I also achieved a physique for which people commend me to this day and aspire to look like.

We often times doubt ourselves and our potential, Pain is temporary is about the ideology that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and not give up until you achieve it.
The play was a very cathartic experience as I played 7 different characters in it all people who were somehow involved in my life during my tough time
Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I have always been passionate about motivational speaking and the affect it had on people. I knew my story in itself was very inspirational and would help a lot of people who are going through tough times and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. So when the opportunity came create a production of my own and open it to the audience at The University of San Francisco I knew this was the time.

Q: How did you go about getting it produced?

A: The head of the department at my college at USF were very supportive since they saw me get to where I was physically and mentally since I started at USF. They knew that it would be a very inspirational story for the students at the college as well since often times college is a place where people wanna quit or face a lot of obstacles.

Q: What do you hope to express as an artist?

A: I hope to tell true stories, inspirational stories and stories which inspire people to bring about a change. We often get so caught up with the fame and media attention that we forget that the real stories aren’t being told. The inequality between the rich and poor, environmental degradation, the affect of media and brainwashing our minds are all topic that surround but not everybody wants to talk about it.

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your acting?

A: Since my time at Penn State where I was a finance major I have been very passionate about economics and stock market trading, so I decided to do two things I love doing : Acting and finance. I call them both gambling since both my proffesion do not have certainity but a certain adrenaline rush which only the ones involved in understand. It has actually helped my acting since I can make my own hours now.

Q: What is your oddest Hollywood story?
A: Shortly after moving to Hollywood, I was walking to a CVS after midnight which was very close to my apartment. On my way, two gangs very having a fight. I continued walking by them when all of a sudden two of the gamg members came up to me started trash talking and hitting me out of no where. Since I am an actor all I was thing was please “don’t hit my face “. I ran to a a bar nearby and the bouncer came out and stopped them. He later told me that they were even carrying guns so I should be happy that I am alive. That was the oddest Hollywood experience I have ever had.

Q: What famous character from literature were you born to play?

A: A couple of characters come to mind. My top picks would be, Romeo, Robin Hood, Alexander the great, Tarzan and Don Juan. I will pick Robin hood though since he was the poor mans prince as I have always been very passionate about helping people, paying it forward.
Also Alexander the Great was such a great warrior and conqueror and his stories are just awe inspiring, he embodies my ideology of never giving up and believing in yourself and not stopping till you achieve your goal.

Q: What is the most useful advice you have ever received about show business?

A: Well one of the most useful advice has to be that its not about what you can do or how talented you are but who you know in the indusstr. Its all about networking, who you know and what they can do for you if you wanna get ahead in showbiz.

Q: What makes you fameworthy?

A: Like the famous line from Spiderman “With great Power comes great responibilty” same goes with fame I feel.
I feel with fame comes a certain responsibility, the power to affect people and bring about change. Too many people are famous for the wrong reason. I do not question someone elses hustle but I feel I will do things different if I am famous.

Personaly I know I am talented, hardworking , driven and very passionate about telling stories. I grew up in India so I have feel I understand the eastern mindset as well as the western philosophy. It has made me the person I am. I have a personable personality whit the charisma and charm that is needed to be a star. I feel those two are a lethal combination in todays world of social media as people want to know more about you. I feel I have what it takes to connect with my audience and tell true meaningful stories.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Billie Tekel Elias

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Billie Tekel Elias is the author of “Pearl’s Party…and you’re invited,” here is a link to her website:



Q: What is Pearl‘s Party about?
A: The book chronicles eight decades of my late mother’s escapades.  She was a voluptuous young divorcee in 1959 but she didn’t let the fact that she had a five year old deter her from living life to the max. She acquired many friends, including a loyal coterie of gay men, and could party with the best of them. It’s also about the “stuff” that she left behind. Since I thought I knew her well, I was surprised that I was able to learn even more after she was gone.

Q:  What makes your mother book-worthy?
A: She was larger than life, an indomitable force who wasn’t afraid to take risks. She’s a role model and inspiration to young women, mothers, friends, entrepreneurs, dog-lovers and anyone seeking the key to making life a party.

Q:  What was unique about her parenting style?
A: As a single mom, she balanced her own happiness with making my life special, too. Kind of like an oxygen mask on an airplane, you put your own on before you attempt to help your child. She exposed me to some pretty unconventional things like running a small business and seeing dogs being mated when I was fairly young. She was my earliest playmate and best friend for the rest of her life.

Q: What famous person would you compare her to?
A: She was like Auntie Mame, the madcap character based on Marion Tanner. Mother wasn’t as
eccentric or as bohemian as Mame Dennis — whose famous motto is “Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death” —  but some of Pearl’s quotes have an equally forked tongue. Like Mame, whose  life was interrupted when the young son of her late brother arrives to live with her, Pearl had to make the adjustment in her own life to being young and single with a child in tow. “Don’t call me Mommy, call me Aunt Pearl,” she once famously said to me.

Q:  Why is music so important to the story?
A: From as far back as she could remember Pearl had a beautiful singing voice. Her parents had her cut a few personal records which got her a spot singing on the radio as a child. Throughout her life, music was woven into her fiber. Sunday mornings while I was growing up, Sid Mark’s Sinatra show played on our hi-fi. Other times recordings of Bobby Darin, Mel Torme or Billie Holiday serenaded us. If a comment or situation reminded her of a lyric, she would burst into song.  During one hospitalization her nurse was named Laura. “Laura is the face in the misty light, footsteps that you hear down the hall…..”

Q: What kind of a day jobs have you had how does it influence your writing?

A: My first career after grad school was as an Industrial Engineer. I sometimes had to write memos and reports that were methodical and involved technical material, but my management summaries had to be quickly and easily understood in plain English.  Today, I try to write in the clear voice that I hear playing in my head as I’m thinking. I enjoy researching, and so you’ll often find footnotes that build out my story by adding facts or historical information.

Q: You say you went to charm school. What do they teach you at charm school?

A: I have an entire passage in the book that delineates what they taught.  I was a little girl in training to be a young lady. Manners, sitting properly with hands in my lap, walking with good posture and pivoting, were a few of the things we were taught. The next step was to pursue a career in modeling, but I begged Pearl to let me stop because the windy road that led us there made me car sick.

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and why?

A: Edmund de Waal and Lucette Lagnado because they both wrote about people in their own family and the objects that were significant to them. In both their writing you almost feel as if you know the people depicted. They both made me feel that the objects we surround ourselves with and choose to keep for a lifetime inform who we are.

Q:  What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your book?

A: Face to face enthusiasm has worked best. When I run into Pearl’s friends (and my own) or our relatives, I share some tidbits from the book with them and encourage them to buy a copy on the spot. I always have copies on hand so they get instant gratification.

Q: If your mom were in her 20’s today, who would be some of her favorite singers?

A: Michael Buble, Adele or Lady Gaga.   Pearl’s ear was finely tuned and she didn’t like people with thin voices who screeched or didn’t use their vocal chords and breathing to produce a good quality sound.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects

An Interview With Singer and Model Tonary Modal


Tonary Modal is a dancer, singer and model; here is a link to her Instagram page:




Q: What made you interested in music?


A: I love dancing and love songs so I make a creative blend of music with dance , pop , with an r&b twist.


Q: Your bio says you have opened for Bruno Mars at the V20 night Club, how did you get the gig?


A: Correction: I opened for B.O.B, He was a rapper who collaborated with Bruno Mars in a song that became a hit during the time called , ‘Nothing On You.’ B.O.B. performed at this huge nightclub and I knew a club promoter who hooked me up to perform there because I told him I was interested in performing there one day. And he said , “Hey do you want to open for B.O.B ? It’s a good opportunity for you.” And I accepted the gig.


Q:  What inspired the song, Check Me Out?


A: I had a goal in my modeling and entertainment career for people to check me out, check my works out, So I thought of an idea what better way than to make a catchy attention grabbing song called Check Me Out.


Q:  What kind of musical training have you had?


A: I started playing the flute and sung at the age of 9 at soprano level . I had very little training. I learned how to create my own music by listening to beats of the music and blindly write as I hear the tunes of the instruments.


Q:  What kind of day job or income source do you have and how does it affect your ability to pursue modeling and music?


A: I work in accounting and auditing  . I have a regular day and night job. Most of my modeling and music gig isn’t last minute or an on-call basis so that’s a good thing , it is pre-arranged ahead of time .Nobody will give the time to anyone who don’t have the time for them or make you drop your job unless they have a good offer in exchange. But when my big break opportunity comes I will definitely drop everything for modeling and entertainment career.


Q:  What is your strangest show biz story?


A: That’s a good question , now this is just the start of my show biz I haven’t been in one strange one yet & would hope it to be as good as it gets lol.


Q:  What are some things you have done to promote yourself?


A: I network a lot , go to events, you will see me on Instagram@TONARYOFFICIALPAGE for more details.


Q;  What do you like about Los Angeles?


A: I love shopping , plenty of work , plenty of cultures, plenty of places to go out . Bars, dining, clubs, red carpet events, the glamorous life.


Q:   What would you change about it?


A: Nothing in mind at the moment 🙂


Q:  What is the secret to an attention getting Instagram photo?


A: A classy, unique, bright close up selfie summarize it all .

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Historical Romance Author Faye Hall


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Faye Hall is an Australian historical romance author; here is a link to her website:




Q: What motivated you to start writing?


A: I’ve always loved telling stories even as a child.  One day my mum suggested I write them down and so it began.


Q:  Why historical erotica?


A: I love history, but more so I love the passion of our ancestors that struggled through to make life what it is today.  Also we have this misconception that those in the past were very ‘hush hush’ about sex and I’d like to show a different side.


Q:  What was the Bountiful Burdekin?


A: It’s where I grew up.  It’s called the Bountiful Burdekin because there are quite a few townships all situated around the Burdekin river, one of the largest water systems in the world.  When the towns were first settled they were the hub of the north and many founding family still live here.  I wanted to show that history but in a more passionate way.


Q:  What made you chose it as a setting?


A:  As I said before I grew up there and I love the history of the town.  I also think it’s something away from the mainstream settings for most romances.


Q:  What is Shrouded Passions about?


A: It tells the story of two lovers torn apart when Lotte, the heroine, is shot and killed.  Devon, the hero, falls apart after her death and begs for just one more chance to be with her.  Lotte returns to him, having been saved from death by the tavern girls, but she is in disguise as she needs to stay hidden until she can prove who tried to kill her.


Q:  What makes the hero Devon Munroy a character worth reading about?


A:  I adore him as a character.  He’s so passionate and devoted to Lotte.  After her death he becomes the dark brooding hero that needs to punish himself for all the wrongs he’d done.


Q: What motivates the heroine, Lottie Higgins?


A: Lotte wants revenge.  She wants it to be known who shot her.  She also tired of hiding her identity and wants nothing more then to return to Devon and tell him she’s alive.


Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how do you draw from it in your writing?


A: Day job – I am a mother and a step mother.  We have a combined family of 9 children, 7 of which are currently still at home.  I do school runs.  I pack lunches.  I pay bills and run the household while my husband does shift work.  Not sure if I draw on my home life to help with my writing as such but I do find my writing an escape from the day to day chores.


Q:  What do you think is the most effective way to promote an Ebook?


A: I’m still to figure that out but I have enjoyed guest blogging and interviews.


Q:  What do you think Americans misunderstand about Australia?


A:  I always reckon Australian’s are seen a bit like ‘Crocodile Dundee’ with pet kangaroos and corked hats.  That’s also why I set my books in Australia, to show how rich and passionate our country’s history really is.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Howard Eisenberg






Howard Eisenberg is a writer who penned many articles with his wife Arlene Eisenberg, the co-author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. He is the author of the Guess Who series for children and he also wrote  the book and lyrics for the musical The Million Dollar Bet; here is a link to his website:


Q: When did your realize you were a writer?


A: World War II had just ended and I was an 18-year-old PFC in Company K of the 357th Infantry bivouacked in an SS barracks. “I see in your file,” Captain Ingraham said, “that you’ve had two years of college. The Krauts left a mimeograph machine here when they took off. Write us a newspaper.” A half-dozen interviews and days later, the first copies of “The Rifleman” came hot off the mimeograph and I thought, “I’m a writer. This is what I  want to do for the rest of my life.”


Q: What kind of day jobs did you have in your life and how did they inspire your writing?


A: Writing copy about D-con rat poison for a small ad agency ended suddenly when a rat of a vice-president absconded with the company’s bank account. (Not at all inspirational.) A job writing “The Tattler” at the legendary Grossinger’s in the Catskills led to meeting 50s super-star Eddie Fisher, singing with the band while waiting to turn 18 so he could perform legally at the also legendary Copacabana.  I became Eddie’s press agent, got him in “Time” magazine, later wrote for his TV and radio “Coke Time” shows, and ghosted dozens of fan magazine articles. When the show went Hollywood, I was able to write and sell free-lance pieces about, among others Steve McQueen, Shelley Winters, Deborah Kerr, Alan Ladd, and Rory Calhoun. That jump-started a free-lance writing career which, when Eddie joined the U.S. Army Band, led to collaborating with my magnificent late wife, Arlene, for the majors: Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Parade, Reader’s Digest, New York Times Magazine, and then for every free-lance writer’s dream: the Saturday Evening Post with a Halloween cover story: “Memoirs of a Monster,” as told to us by Boris Karloff.

Q: What inspired you to write, Adorable Scoundrels?


A: My muse, Arlene, who co-wrote the “What to Expect” series with our daughter, Heidi Murkoff.  Traveling with Arlene on her book tours, I met armies of moms and dads. And toddlers. Time spent at 30,000 feet is a great time to write, and I used it. So when Arlene toured for “What to Expect in the Toddler Years” she always sintroduced me five minutes into her lectures to read my fresh-off-the-747 toddler poems. Later, parents would come  up to me and ask, “Where can I get the book?”  I didn’t have one then. I do now.


Q: You have written for some major publications! What advice would you give to all of those aspiring bloggers out there who fantasize about being real journalist?


 A: There are a lot of bloggers out there doing darned good journalism without any help from me. Ordinarily I suggest things most already know — buying a good book or two on free-lance writing or taking a community college course. But I do have a timely late-breaking news suggestion.  I’ve been a part of the 1,200 member American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) for almost 60 years. Writers, both aspiring and already successful will be coming to its 45th Annual Writing Conference in NYC from all over the country May 20-21. It’s not too late to register at asja.com. It would take another 500 words to describe the 35 instructive sessions, the one-on-one meetings with editors, agents, and publishers, and individual mentoring sessions. Assignments sometimes happen on the spot, and it’s not too late to learn more and to register at asja.com. I’m still attending and learning.


Q: What is the overall theme of the, “Guess Who” series?


A: Kids read the giraffe’s, the bear’s, the alligator’s “autobiographies in rhyme,” with educational clues in every line and the last word (the animal’s name) left blank for them to guess.  Rhyming books are fun for kids and encourage them to read instead of burying their heads in digital dumpsters. And the fact that they are riddles as well as rhymes increases the fun. There are three book so far: Guess Who Zoo, Farm, and Neighborhood. GWZoo and GWFarm include “If Animals Could Talk” sections where the animals reveal other things that make them interesting — like the camel’s, “Most horses stand when they’re sleeping. I’m smarter. I lie down.”


Q:  What is the oddest thing you ever heard from an editor?


A: “I’m sorry, but we had to drop Arlene’s byline.” Those words came from an editor of “This Week” magazine, talking about the first piece Arlene and I ever collaborated on. She was 20 years old and a new mom who’d left college to marry lucky me. A mom was, at that point, all she wanted to be. (She’d practically memorized Dr. Spock to earn a Girl Scout merit badge).  This was my first Big Time assignment and I’d been essentially rewriting the lead for two weeks. The morning before a Mothers’  Day deadline with panic and writer’s block setting in, Arlene calmly suggested that I move over. Two hours later we had an excellent piece that needed only a light coat of polish. The next day my editor informed me that the layout had already been finished and Arlene’s first byline would have to wait. It did, but not for long. Over the next 35 years “By Arlene and Howard Eisenberg” appeared in more than 100 major magazines and on the cover of five books.
Q: If you and Arlene disagreed about what to put in an article how did you resolve it?

A: The same way we resolved any and all disagreements in our 48-year marriage. The “winner” should always be the one to whom the issue was most important. And if that didn’t work, never go to bed mad. So as I slipped under the sheets I always apologized —  even if I thought Arlene was wrong.
Q: What trends in children’s literature annoys you?


A: This may shock you. But to be honest (something I learned from my dad while I was in knickers), I don’t read a lot of children’s literature because I’d rather write it. I am happy that the days with sentences structured like, “Run, Jack, run,” are over. My six-year-old son struggled at reading until his teacher realized why: People don’t talk like that. She gave him a fourth grade book about submarines and he sailed through it. My books don’t shrink from using “hibernate” when writing about bears. Children can learn an unfamiliar word’s meaning by asking parents and teachers or, better yet, by figuring it out from the context.


Q: What is, The Million Dollar Bet about?


 A: “The Million Dollar Bet” (for which I wrote book and lyrics) is as much about love as it is about a bet. The show’s key song captures this inspirational theme so important as people live longer: “Life Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.” Leila, the leading lady expands on that when she cautions her husband, Jerry, “Never give up on your dreams. That’s how people get migraine headaches.” Jerry, an untutored closet baritone and occasional wedding singer, is the retired press agent who helped Eddie Hunter win fame and fortune. At Eddie’s fifth wedding, he is goaded into a a bet that Eddie is sure he can’t lose and Jerry is certain he can’t win: Eddie’s million against a year’s worth of Jerry and Leila’s social security pensions. Jerry has a year to become a singing star — with a booking in Vegas, a hit record, and a shot on the Tonight Show. Somehow (you knew this) in 100 minutes and 18 songs, that’s just what he does.


Q: When will we be able to see it?


 A: I wish I knew. We’ve had two successful readings so far and the show is in submission to regional theatres.  I believe in my show and I’m optimistic, but  realistic. I live on 80th St. It can take ten years to get  from there to Broadway.  But…l’m on the way.  ##

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.