Friday, November 17, 2017

Interview with children's author Patricia Furstenberg


Today, I'd like to welcome Romania-born South African children's author Patricia Furstenberg, whose children's books I've enjoyed as an adult. Animals are a common element in Furstenberg's writings but there's more to that.

In this exclusive interview, Patricia Furstenberg answers lots of questions about her books, writing, family, and how all of this comes together in her books.

What's Patricia Furstenberg written?

Check out Nadaness In Motion's five-star book reviews for Joyful Trouble, a historical fiction, children's book about a dog named Joyful Trouble who becomes enlisted as ordinary seamen in the South African navy! And Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles, which tackles the first 12 months of a new born puppy's life.




But the truth is, she's written tons of children's books! She talks about several in the interview below. 

Nadaness In Motion: Are you a full time author? What do you do when you're not writing, marketing, or working on your books?

Pat Furstenberg: I see my life as fulfilled; writing my books helps me balance my family life. When I am not writing I am a mother and a wife. I don’t know if I could write full time as having a family keeps me grounded and fuels my desire to create, to plan my writing life and to succeed.


Nadaness In Motion: Have any of your books been translated? If you could pick only one book or one series to be translated, which would it be?
Pat Furstenberg: This is a wonderful path that I plan to follow in the near future. I would like to see my books translated in my native language, Romanian, as there is a market for them over there, especially for Happy Friends. If you grow up picking up acorns and building snowmen then you can definitely establish a connection with Little Tail the dog and his desire to meet Snow, or with the acorns spread all throughout my first children’s book, Happy Friends.


Nadaness In Motion: You've used South Africa as a setting in Joyful Trouble, how has your country and its history influenced your writing in general?

Pat Furstenberg: I have lived in South Africa for almost two decades now. Living in one place means so much more than being alive and going through your day by day life. You absorb the sense of that place, the rhythm of its lifestyle. Bits of the country’s history stick to you, speak to you - especially if you have an interest in history and research like I do.

Getting a sense of South Africa as a country is evident in Joyful Trouble as well as in my last three books, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Cheetah and the Dog, The Lion and the Dog.

South Africa is nicknamed “the rainbow nation” and with good reason. There is a fantastic mix of cultures, lifestyles and people; it is a place of utmost inspiration for a writer.


Nadaness In Motion: How old are your children? At what time during your book's publication do you let your children read your upcoming books?

When I began writing my books my children were the right age to enjoy them, which they did. Right now they are a little bit too old to read children’s stories. My daughter though, with her sharp teen observing eye and blunt point of view helps me proofread parts of my stories.


Nadaness In Motion: Do your children inspire your writing in anyway? Can you tell us how or give an example?


Pat Furstenberg: My children are my first source of inspiration. All throughout their lives we fashioned make-believe scenarios or imagined how different animals would talk and act, especially our dogs! What goes through their minds and what their mimic can mean… This was a great source of inspiration for me when I wrote Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles.

For example in A New Name for Puppy, I thought of the days when we got our dogs. What an exciting time it was for my children to think of an appropriate name. Then I asked myself, what were these puppies thinking of us? We adopted them from the local kennel where they shared a cage. And suddenly, they had a whole family and love, while still being together.

In Waiting for Snow, I thought of the times when my children experienced snow, in my native Romania. And you know what? No matter their age, they get excited when the first snow falls and are ready to go out and embrace it at any time in the day.


Nadaness In Motion: Have you considered writing books outside the children's genre? What do you have in store for readers?

Pat Furstenberg: I most definitely did. I have the plot ready for a historical novel and I am so looking forward to writing it. I have also been thinking to breech into the Young Adult genre as well; I have a few ides in mind, perhaps a series.


Nadaness In Motion: From your list of publications, I know you have a special spot for dogs and puppies, particularly since you've lived with many of them for most of your life. What other animals have you written about or are planning to write about?

Pat Furstenberg: You cannot live in South Africa and not write about lions and elephants! A cheetah also walked the pages of one of my books; a lizard and a squirrel too. Even a bee, but she was a friendly bee.




Nadaness In Motion: In your biography, you said you became a writer through reading. What book(s) inspired you to start writing?

Pat Furstenberg: It must have been An Autobiography by Agatha Christie. It was reading about the woman sitting at the writer’s desk. Although I was in my teens when I first discovered this book, an idea began to grow in a corner of my mind. Being a writer was not a myth anymore; writers were actually human beings, women too!


Nadaness In Motion: What advice can you give aspiring authors looking to write children's books?

Pat Furstenberg: Read a lot, then find the child in yourself. Sit on the floor and look at life from a child’s eye-level. Don’t lose hope and be persistent.

Nadaness In Motion: What countries are on your bucket list? Will you consider using any of them or their history as setting in your upcoming books?

Pat Furstenberg: I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in my youth. Romania is always on my bucket list, it is a magical place, both modern and drenched in history.

Italy would come next, I have never been there and I would like to write something set in Venice. I have an idea that’s been with me for many years, it is probably time I allow it to grow.

Turkey would be next; its history is so entwined with the past of my native country that I cannot write about one without mentioning the other. Besides, I am still waiting to taste the real Turkish coffee!


Venice. Image found online.

Nadaness In Motion: If you can tell your readers, old and new, one thing, what would it be?

Pat Furstenberg: Read, it’s magical!


A note from Patricia Furstenburg!

Thank you, Nada, I thoroughly enjoyed answering your interview questions. I hope we will collaborate again in the future; it is an honour being featured on your website, Nadaness In Motion.


More about Patricia Furstenberg and how to connect with her:

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing through reading. She is known to carry a book or pen and paper everywhere she goes.
Patricia enjoys writing for children because she can take abstract, grown-up concepts and package them in attractive, humorous, child-friendly words and pictures, while adding sensitivity and lots of love. What fuels her is a need to write and… coffee, “None. Plus? Five cups.”
After completing her Medical Degree in Romania, she moved to South Africa where she now lives with her husband, children, and their dogs.


Connect with author Patricia Furstenberg via her Author WebsiteAmazon UKAmazon USHuffington Post SAGoodreadsTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.


Check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews.