Friday, January 9, 2015

The Ambivalent Memoirist by Sandra Hurtes Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Ambivalent Memoirist
by Sandra Hurtes



". . .[an] honest memoir full of compassion and wit that infuses ordinary events with intimacy and intensity. . .Teaching college English courses and preparing her first essay collection, she must address her own pain. . .as well as her parents' experiences during the Holocaust. . . Writing as art and psychological salvation is at the heart of this book, taking "readers deep below the surface" of words toward personal vindication.”

~~Publishers Weekly


Excerpt One:

Brooklyn soil. Rife with thick, gnarly accents and high-pitched emotions that peaked into the air then fell heavy upon the earth. Those sounds and feelings had reverberated within me from the moment I was born in 1950, three years after my brother, Lenny. The woman who shared my mother’s room at Brooklyn Women’s Hospital and gave birth on the same day was an Auschwitz survivor, like my mother. Their delirium over their second babies fell upon my tender ears, slid into my pores. Brooklyn was an emotional patchwork, and I was sewn into its seams.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sandra Hurtes is the author of The Ambivalent Memoirist and the essay collection On My Way to Someplace Else. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and this legacy is examined in her work. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the English Department at John Jay College and teaches creative nonfiction in private workshops.


Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I live in Manhattan now, but still think of myself as a Brooklyn girl. That’s not because of the borough’s present glory as the hottest place to live. It’s more of childhood nostalgia. The candy store on the corner that sold penny bubble gum. My pack of friends who I sat on the stoop with. The old Fox Theater that housed Murray the K’s Rock n’ Roll shows (early 1960s).

Brooklyn—my Brooklyn—is very cool but not at all hip.

Tell us your latest news?

My book The Ambivalent Memoirist is getting good reviews and that is very gratifying. This week I’m prepping for a talk on staying committed, that I’ll give at an MFA residency. I’m very pumped about it. I’m back in touch with what makes me tick as a writer.

Publishing and reaching people are great. But in my soul, I’m more of a process writer. I have many unpublished works that are complete. They either never found a home or I didn’t look for one. That doesn’t bother me. Writing is about so many things. One of them is to clean my internal house. I’ve done a lot of that.  

When and why did you begin writing?

The New York Times’ “Hers” column, from 1977 through 1986 had a huge impact on me. Women writers wrote a four-week column on every aspect of their lives. Faye Moskowitz wrote about growing up in a European-American household. That spoke to me; it the fissure inside myself.  The old-world of my parents, who were Holocaust survivors, the American world of opportunity. How did I venture into it? Writing was my way. Inspired by the “Hers” column, I began to write essays. .

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my early forties, I became driven to publish my work. That meant working much harder than I had when I toyed with writing. I loved every second, every task, even going to the post office to buy stamps for manuscripts I mailed. A voice inside kept saying, I love this! That’s when I knew.

What inspired you to write your first book?

On My Way to Someplace Else is a compilation of all my published essays. I wanted to send a body of work to Holocaust museums and college libraries. My book was very well reviewed. I had exceeded my goal.”

What would you like my readers to know?

I love engaging with readers. I hope they will ask me about writing or my work or their own. I’m happy to offer any advice I can.

Buy Link:

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