Sophia Bar-Lev learned the love of books from her mother and grandmother who were avid readers. By third grade she was writing stories and poems and the love of writing has continued throughout her life. After a successful career in elementary education, she was able to devote full time to what she loves most, writing. She has published three novels and is presently working on a fourth while weekly adding ideas for future novels to a notebook in her desk drawer. Ms. Bar-Lev is married and has four children and seven grandchildren.
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about THE SILVER LOCKET, and what compelled you to write it.
Sophia Bar-Lev: This novel is celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over tragedy and heartache. It is based on a true story that began near the end of World War II and culminates in a dramatic reunion some twenty-five years later.
M.C.: What is your book about?
S.B.: THE SILVER LOCKET chronicles the lives of two women who are linked for life by a child that belongs to both of them but in different ways. Their common devotion to motherhood and family ultimately leads to a powerful and fulfilling reunion. The power of a sensitive and difficult decision years earlier is realized as two families join their hearts and lives because of one special daughter they share.
M.C.: What themes do you explore in THE SILVER LOCKET?
S.B.: Adoption, friendship, loyalty and family values are major themes of this novel.
M.C.: Why do you write?
S.B.: I believe that books can be a powerful means of enriching one’s life and inspiring individuals to greatness. This is the guiding motive for all my novels.
M.C.: When do you feel the most creative?
S.B.: I’ve been a morning person since childhood and find that my creativity flows best early in the morning until about noon or early afternoon.
M.C.: How picky are you with language?
S.B.: Oh, goodness. Very picky. I’ve been known to re-write a sentence or paragraph up some ten to twelve times until I feel that I have just the right words.
M.C.: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
S.B.: Yes, I often do. Once I get into a book, I often feel as though my characters are pulling me into directions I hadn’t anticipated and events I had not foreseen. I love it when that happens as it’s exciting. It makes writing an adventure.
M.C.: What is your worst time as a writer?
S.B.: When I am fatigued or emotionally spent, it is nigh to impossible for me to write. After the death of my husband of thirty years, it took several months for me to be able to write again.
M.C.: Your best?
S.B.: When I’m home alone or at least, isolated in my writing room with no distractions and no phone, I can write for hours, happily and peacefully. Those are my best times.
M.C.: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
S.B.: I’ve loved writing since I was a child and plan to continue for as many years as I have life. I cannot envision anything that would stop me, except for a physical disability or something of the sort which I pray never happens.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
S.B.: Not long ago, I had a SKYPE visit with a women’s book club in California who had completed reading and discussing one of my novels. The conversation was lively and enjoyable and being able to ‘visit’ long distance was such a pleasure. They were a lovely group of ladies and it was so heart-warming to hear their comments about the novel.
M.C.: Is writing an obsession to you?
S.B.: It’s certainly my passion and I think that’s pretty close to the definition of an obsession!
M.C.: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
S.B.: That varies depending on which novel I’m working on. Every author inserts something of him/her self into their writing but in THE SILVER LOCKET there is a definite connection as adoption is a topic that is dear to my heart.
M.C.: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?
S.B.: I must admit that there are times when writing is an escape from the continual barrage of shootings in theatres and atrocities in the Middle East that tend to dominate our news outlets. However, it’s important to balance reality with creativity in the drive to make a positive contribution to the world around us. For me, that contribution is primarily through writing.
M.C.: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
S.B.: Yes, I invite your readers to visit me at http://www.sophiabarlev.com Thank you very much for this opportunity!