Thursday, 30 January 2014

Meet the author: Luba Brezhnev

Luba Brezhnev, the author of New York Best Seller, "The World I left Behind" is well known for her book and its contents. Her family ties with the political leaders of Soviet Union made her known among the readers. This also gave the world a different insight to the highest levels of power.

Her love for children encouraged her to write for them. Since the last two years she has been writing books for children. Her e-books can be found at Smashwords. Or the narration of children's stories can be viewed on YouTube

The following is one of the Children's Bed Time stories.

I had the privilege of interviewing the well known personality.

Debby: Welcome to 4m my Eyes!

Debby: Please tell us a little about yourself and California

Luba Brezhnev: I began writing books for children two years ago. So far I have 
completed thirty books. Some of them have been published, and others are waiting their turn. Writing a book is only the beginning of a complicated process. Then
there is work with the illustrator, the translator, a reader, and so on. I have been very lucky. I have a fine team.

Debby: Love for children is shown in your stories. Who or what apart from the love for children is your inspiration?

Luba Brezhnev: Maybe nostalgia for my sons, who grew up so fast. Also, a desire to make my grandchildren happy.

Debby: Where do you get the motivation for the themes of the children's stories?

Luba Brezhnev: Everything I write is taken from life. Our children live in a harsh world, where it is easy to compromise with one’s conscience, easy to retreat from one’s moral principles.

My books are oriented toward family values, which our society is abandoning more and more. Small children are people with all the human shortcomings. My books will help parents to explain to their children, in a vivid manner, what is right and what is wrong.

Modern-day children are too attached to technology: computers, I-pods, cell phones. One of my sons went to first grade without having first gone to kindergarten. This was in the late 1970s. He was completely unprepared for social life. A few days after school began, his teacher called me and asked me to come by. I came to the school at recess time. There was great noise and commotion in the hallways – children running around, screaming, pushing each other, fighting, laughing, chewing on this or that... Then I saw my son. He was clinging to the wall with his eyes wide open from fear, watching the nightmarish scene. After that, I sent him to karate school.

Not long ago I visited a school. It was recess time, but it was deadly quiet in the hallways. No one was running, no one was laughing, no one was fighting or conversing. Each and every schoolchild was buried in an I-pod or typing text messages. The teacher said that because the children were completely hooked up to computers and cell phones, they had completely lost the habit of speaking in a normal way. They send messages full of mistakes, disregarding punctuation marks. They are incapable of answering a simple question without the Internet. It has reached the point where they are asking their teachers to send them text messages. Soon children will not be able to put together three sentences, and a result, will not be able to think.

That is why I talk so much about the benefits of reading together with a child. Reading to the child should be something parents hold in high regard, like daily prayers. They should not only read to children, but also ask them to repeat what they have heard in their own words, describe the personality of each character, etc.

Our consumer society forces upon children its form of education and its rules. So the parents are our only source of hope.

My children still remember those evening reading sessions. That is how we taught them to love and value books. And what can be lovelier than feeling the warmth of your child, clinging to you while you are reading to him or her? There is so much trust and gratitude there! A child goes on to forget many things, but such memories remain forever.

Debby: Which is your favorite story among the ones you have written and why?

Luba Brezhnev: Ask any mother which one of her children she loves most, and she will say she loves them equally. Maybe one child is spiritually closer to us, another requires more attention, because he has problems. But we love them all the same. That is the way it is with my books. They are all my children, although I do like some of them more than others. For example, “The White Mustang” is so touching and treats such a painful topic, that I myself cannot read it without tears in my eyes.

Debby: Who are your favourite writers and what have you learnt from them?

Luba Brezhnev: I don’t keep up with contemporary literature, though I have no doubt that there are worthy writers today. I simply don’t have enough time. Besides, I was raised on the classics. My parents and my schools instilled in me a love of the classics. I always loved Chekhov and Bunin. Chekhov was a master of the word. Take any one of his stories – there is nothing superfluous in them. And no one wrote about love like Bunin and Bulgakov.

Debby: People know so much about you with your first book. Please tell us how did you feel after writing your first book, "The World I Left Behind". How was the response from the readers?

Luba Brezhnev: The New York Times named it a bestseller, and the McLaughlin Group included it in their list of the twelve best books of the year. There were many responses from readers. People were curious about what actually happened at the highest levels of power. They got a picture of my uncle, Leonid Brezhnev, as a living person with all his weaknesses and problems.

Debby: I have tried my hand in writing children' stories and it was very difficult for me. Would you like to give a few tips to the young writers?

Luba Brezhnev: Unfortunately, I can’t give any advice to everyone who would like to write for children. I think that besides the desire to write, certain abilities are needed, as well as a special way of thinking and feeling.

Debby: Apart from what you do, what is the favorite thing you do? Any pass-time or hobbies?

Luba Brezhnev: I am a very busy person. Besides writing books, I head up a company that requires a great deal of attention. I consider reading my favorite hobby. I read in three languages, mainly memoirs (my weakness), biographies (another weakness), and philosophy. I stopped reading fiction a long time ago. I try to stay informed about what is happening in the world. My husband and I love to travel. We often go to the Napa Valley for a few days. We try to ride on a motorcycle a few times each week. We sometimes meet with friends. I like documentary movies.

Debby: Will we see any non- fiction, documentaries in future or will we see series of children stories?

Luba Brezhnev: I write both kinds of books. Besides children’s books, I am preparing a book for adults, to be published in Russian. One of my dreams is to write about America. But I will be mainly focused on children’s books in the future. There are so many topics and ideas. I hope that my books will continue making small children happy in the future.

Debby: What would you like to tell your fans?

Luba Brezhnev: Thank you very, very much! It would be hard for me to continue my work without your support. Your attention and approval are a priceless moral support.

Debby: Thank you for your valuable time and giving us an opportunity to know you more.

*Interviewer's (Debby) take on the whole conversation:

The interview is copy and pasted as is. The interview was done on January 16th, 2014. I have used my virtual name in this blog. However, the interview was done by my real name, Debdatta Bhadury.

I was on a social networking site called the Empire Avenue, a platform where people join hands to appreciate each other's work. It was there that I saw Luba Brezhnev had put a mission to earn eaves (virtual currency) to buy virtual shares. I had bought a few and was looking through her profile and read one of her stories. I wanted to know more about her books and set an interview.

Luba Brezhnev's reply to my mail came instantly. Even though she has a busy schedule, she took out time to send me her answers. Even though our conversations were on the formal grounds, she has a natural talent of making the other person comfortable.

I am extremely obliged for the honor. I, on behalf of my readers and her fans, would like to wish her success and happiness in life. We all would be looking forward for many more inspiring stories to come.

To know more about her visit the following sites

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