I’ve asked some of the authors of the books in the book list to tell us a little bit about themselves and how they wrote their books.
Introducing: Menucha Chana Levin, whose books The Youngest Bride and The Castle Builders appear in the Jewish history section.
I have connections to three continents – born in Africa (Cape Town), raised in North America (small towns in Canada) and now live in Asia (Jerusalem).
At school my favorite subjects were English (creative writing, not grammar)and history.
I still read everything. When I’m desperate I’ll read the backs of cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, even the sports page. Now living in Israel, though my Hebrew reading is far from great, I have taught
myself to read ads posted at bus stops and in magazines.
Although I started writing stories at age five, I only got published after making aliyah 23 years ago. As the old Yiddish saying goes, ‘When you change your spot, you change your luck.’ I began with short stories and articles, then graduated to a novel. I didn’t have a computer back then, so wrote it all by hand in several notebooks.
Although that story ‘Someone for Elisheva’ was not published as I first wrote it, several years later I transplanted some of the characters into my novel ‘A Family for Frayda.’
While recuperating from hepatitis, in six weeks I wrote my novel called ‘The Youngest Bride’. It was based on an old family story about my great-grandmother who was married as a child to save her young husband from being conscripted into the Russian army. For a short time they did not draft married men, no matter how young they were. The story always intrigued me. How did my little ancestor feel when she grew up and realized she was already married? Unfortunately that part of the story did not get handed down so I had to fictionalize it, plus add other family stories I’d heard from my mother.
A few years later, I wrote ‘The Castle Builders’ about four women friends, all Holocaust survivors, who find it too painful to discuss their horrific pasts.
‘The Castle Builders’ was written in tribute to those who managed to survive and rebuild their lives and in memory of my grandparents, among the six million kedoshim, who sadly did not. My own father zt’l escaped from Europe one month before World War Two. If he had not, I would not be here writing my novels.