Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Spotlight, Author Interview, and Giveaway: A Life of the Twentieth Century by Irene Even

Book Synopsis:
A Life of the Twentieth Century is the story of Aya, who lived through the loss of her parents before the age of 3. At the age of twelve she was sent to a boarding school in Budapest, that closed after one year, because the Nazi army marched into the city.

Aya was left totally alone to face the Nazi occupation, and to experience all the horrors of the war. She faced many life threatening situations, such as prison, bombardment or even the possibility of being executed on the spot, without really comprehending the gravity of it all.

The end of the war was supposed to mean liberation, the return of hope and freedom for most people, however it didn't happen for Aya, who was part of a youth group on her way to Palestine. The destination of this youth group was to reach Italy and the Jewish Brigade. They crossed the Alps on foot from Austria to reach Italy.

As they reached their destination Aya met a soldier from the Jewish Brigade, who was supposed to be her Hero, her Saviour, but turned out to be the devil incarnate. From day one, this soldier of the Jewish brigade took control of Aya's life when she was only 15 years old.

After divorce, destitute and once again alone, she had no direction and almost no hope, when from deep inside her a small voice said; go back to school. It took all her courage to apply to university, where she was accepted and after 5 year was granted a B.A. and a Diploma of Teaching. She spent the rest of her life teaching, and as she contemplated her life she said to herself that if she had had all the choices in the world, she would have chosen teaching.
Interview with Irene Even
1) Your book is labelled fictionalized biography because you wrote it in third persona and changed your name. Are any of the places you mention also fictionalized?
No, my book is set in many parts of the world, as a matter of fact in three continents. I have been in all those places and lived through all the events that are mentioned in my book.

2) Do you have another profession besides writing?
I am now retired, but I have had the most amazing profession as a teacher. I always felt privileged to have been able to make a living by pursuing a profession that I adored, where I touched the lives of so many young people who came back to me saying: Thank you for all you did for me.

3) Do you ever get writer's block? What helps you overcome it?
I had a writer's block before I sat down to my computer, but once I was in front of my computer, the story just poured out of me, and didn't stop until I got up for a break.

4) You were born in Hungary. Have you been there to the place of your childhood?
I have only gone back via my nightmares that I have had for some years after the was had ended.

5) You have lived through two major wars and many calamities in history. If you could give one piece of advice to a young person today, what would it be?
I take this question very seriously because I have been a teacher for many years, and the welfare of young people was always a priority in my mind. Consequently, I would say to every young person to get a good education, because it is the only thing that nobody can take away from you.

6. What was the hardest experience in your career as a teacher?
I would say that the hardest experience was the beginning of my career, when I had no idea that I would master not only teaching but keeping discipline in class.

7) What was the most satisfying experience in your career as a teacher?
My whole teaching career was an amazing experience, because I was able to help many of my underprivileged students to attain their goals in life.

Author's Bio:
Irene Even was born in Hungary. As a child she lived through the Second World War, using false papers to survive. After the war, she immigrated to Palestine, lived in a Kibbutz, then later married and immigrated to Canada with her family. She returned to Israel to teach English and remained there for twenty-two years. Having written her memoir, A Life of the Twentieth Century, she now lives in retirement in Montreal.

Where to buy the book:
​Prize: ​One of 10 ebook copies of A Life of the Twentieth Century or a $10 Amazon gift card / Open internationally. Ends March 21.
a Rafflecopter giveaway