An Interview with Author Sharon Hart-Green

Sharon Hart-Green’s debut novel, Come Back for Me, was released in 2017. She is also the author of Not a Simple Story and Bridging the Divide.

Q: Can you sum up Come Back For Me in 20 words or less?

A gripping story of trauma, loss, and the redemptive power of love set in the aftermath of WWII.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

It seems that I have always been drawn to stories about human resilience in the face of loss. Having grown up among Holocaust survivors in my neighbourhood (including the parents of my closest childhood friend), I wanted to find a way to understand their capacity for survival after such devastating loss. I was perplexed by the fact that while some survivors were able to go on and live relatively happy lives, others were completely shattered by their experience.  What makes for human resilience? This question is at the core of my novel.

Q: What research did you do when writing this story?

Since I have a doctorate in Judaic Studies (and have taught it for over 20 years), I have been immersed in the study of Jewish history and literature for most of my adult life. That probably explains why I did not need to do a great deal of research to write this novel. Of course, I was vigilant about getting small details right, which required some fact checking, but on the whole, I wrote the book from the heart.

Q: What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

The biggest challenge was crafting two interconnected stories set in two different time periods and then weaving them together in a way that appears seamless. Artur Mandelkorn’s story begins in the mid-1940s, representing the experience of a first-generation survivor of the war, tormented by loss yet striving to find the strength to begin life again.  Suzy Kohn is a young woman in the late 1960s whose relatively serene life is ruptured by a different sort of loss, characteristic of the second generation of survivors who have their own burdens to bear. Their two stories are connected in ways that are slowly revealed to the reader as their tales unfold.

Q: Who was your favorite character to develop?

I most enjoyed developing the story of Artur Mandelkorn, whose narrative begins when he is only 14 years of age. Arthur’s tale is very much a coming of age story forged in fire.  It spans 25 years of his life—from surviving the war and embarking on a search for his missing sister, all the while dealing with his own feelings of guilt and abandonment. Despite his personal suffering, he also finds a way to love again and takes his first steps toward discovering how to rebuild his life without forgetting all those who perished.

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers?

Most readers tell me that they find the book extremely hopeful, despite the fact that it centers on one of the darkest times in human history. This may be because the novel is not focused on the Holocaust itself, but on the period following the war. It is about the lingering effects of the war on two generations of survivors and their eventual path toward healing.

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Q: What inspires you to write?

 Writing for me is generally not about waiting for inspirational moments. If I can discipline myself to sit down and write each day and allow the words to flow, then the inspiration will sometimes emerge (often when I am least expecting it). It will show up in a word, a phrase, or an idea that seem to come out of nowhere. Those moments may be rare, but when they happen, they feel magical!

Q: What message do you want readers to take away from Come Back to Me?

 I would like readers to view this as a human story about “coming back”. It is about starting again after devastating loss, about life regenerating after all hope seems lost.

Q: What is on your current reading list?

 I am currently reading the novel Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott and a biography of Leonard Cohen called I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons.

Q: What is your next writing project?

 I am presently working on a new novel about a young man with mystical inclinations in search of love.

Q: Can you provide your web address for the audience?

Q: Any closing remarks?

I love to receive feedback from readers. I encourage readers to contact me through my social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

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2 Comments on “An Interview with Author Sharon Hart-Green”

  1. I am enjoying these interviews. They are well-done and get me interested in the books being discussed.. I am a Jewish author who has published my first novel, ESCAPING THE WHALE, 3 months ago. It focuses on a daughter of Holocaust survivors in 1980 New :York who struggles with her legacy of inherited trauma while trying to lead a normal life. Dealing with the Iranian hostage crisis at the time reinforces her terrors and makes it increasingly difficult for her to act normal and well-adjusted. Ultimately, the novel promotes the message that you can run but you can’t hide. The protagonist must learn to face her problems in order to heal her damaged psyche. I would be honored to be interviewed by you. Are you interested?
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