Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Reva Leah Stern

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Ten Questions with Reva Leah Stern

Reva Leah Stern is the author of The Water Buffalo Shed Her Girdle (BookLand Press, 2008). She has been writing and editing professionally for the past decade. Her manuscript, The Prescott Journals, was optioned for the screen prior to publication, and is slated to become her second published novel. Reva Leah Stern will be at will be at Chapters Bayview Village in Toronto for a book signing on September 6. See our events page for details.

OB:

Tell us about your book, The Water Buffalo That Shed Her Girdle.

RLS:

Rachel Morganstein finds herself at home alone on her son’s wedding day contemplating the perfect suicide. She attempts to weave through her domestic history to try and unravel the memory quilt that she thought covered and protected her life.

It is the story of how a wife and mother who is living the simple “Canadian Dream” can wake to discover that divorce is the portal to a complex nightmare. She must find the seed of discontent and eradicate it… or find the humour in the drama in order to live with it. The author chooses humour.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

RLS:

I began to write a short cautionary tale for a magazine about the dangers of divorce but the characters insisted on being heard and it soon demanded to become a novel.

OB:

How did you research your book?

RLS:

As a once married and once divorced female, I learned that…

“Marriage fuels your aspirations, children vitalize your inspiration, and divorce fosters execration.”

The research for this book was made so much easier since 51% of the nation is divorced and over 90% of the people in North America will be personally affected by the uncontrollable outbreak of divorce at some point in their lives.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

RLS:

My present cramped little office in my condo is “ideal”… if it were part of a 2500 sq. ft. cabin in Haliburton with a working fire-place, fully-stocked pantry, floor to ceiling windows that look out on a forest rich with wildlife, sound-proof walls, and no phone or internet. But as I said, my office works for me.

OB:

What was your first publication?

RLS:

I wrote for my high school newspaper The Tattler when I was 13.

OB:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

RLS:

Books are like my children, I could never choose 3 (I have 4). I would instead give the “newcomers” a gift certificate to “The World’s Biggest Book Store” or some other convenient book venue and go along with them to choose.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

RLS:

Water for Elephants, by Sarah Gruen.

OB:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

RLS:

If this is in reference to my current book, it would have to be from the woman who stopped me in Loblaws to tell me she had read my book and couldn’t believe that such a horrific story could be so incredibly funny. She told me that her daughter was going through some marital difficulties so she loaned the book to her with the proviso that she and her husband both read it.

Read it they did and they laughed and pondered all the way through it. They realized that they too could suffer the plight of Rachel Morgenstein if they didn’t get some help. And off they went to a marriage therapist. And it’s working!

That was a benefit I never would have predicted when I wrote this novel.

OB:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

RLS:

It came from my brother, Sandor, who is a screenwriter in Hollywood. He told me to use my director’s eye when writing description and my writer’s ear when writing dialogue. Then, on the rewrite, let ‘them’ both speak candidly together. And don’t be afraid to cut and dump anything you write no matter how attached you may be because if it doesn’t feel right it isn’t.

OB:

What is your next project?

RLS:

It is a mystery novel which I hope to complete by next spring. The working title is The Prescott Papers.

A Brief Synopsis

The Prescott Papers
When Leah Berman, a middle-aged, low-level journalist returns to her hometown after 35 years, to cover an unsavoury child prostitution trial, she unearths dark secrets of child sexual abuse, rape and anti-Semitism that were long since buried in the back alleys of that “innocent little town” and her memory!

In spite of Leah’s life-long apathy toward her hometown, she realizes that this is a golden opportunity to bring back an exclusive story that might garner her some much craved status with her editor.

Once in Prescott, she begins to uncover a disquieting history.

The Brutal Heart Read more about The Water Buffalo That Shed Her Girdle by Reva Leah Stern at the BookLand Press website. The author's website is www.revaleahstern.com.

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