Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My interview at Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club


Thank you again for donating a book for the "Literary Stuffings" giveaway. Can you tell us more about the book you donated?

It is really my pleasure to be part of this giveaway. To come from the former Yugoslavia, a country that used to have the fourth largest military in the Europe and where thousands of people were killed in the civil war, helped me to realized that some of the most valued things in life are freedom we have and peace we share. Above everything else, these two things helped me to create “Born in Sarajevo” and to share it with the world.

This time of year is usually a warm and happy time with friends and family, how do you usually spend Thanksgiving every year?

The other day one of my friends asked me if we have Thanksgiving in my country. At first I found this funny but then something else came to me. I realized that Thanksgiving was originally created by a blended delight of European and Native traditions. I also realized that after four years of civil war, which historians refer to as the most devastating war in the history of mankind, in my country we should have Thanksgiving. In my opinion, first and foremost we should be thankful for life. Second, we should be thankful for peace. Finally, we should be thankful that a neighbor, who lives now on the territory which was two decades ago divided from ours, is still our neighbor rather than the soldier who wears some different uniform, has some different belief, and carry a loaded gun.
Interestingly, but on holidays I am most inspired to write. Even so, I try to balance my time between what I love to do and who I love to be surrounded with.

Can you remember one of your most happiest Thanksgivings?

For me these two words Thanks and Giving are very powerful and no matter how I feel they can bring a smile to my face. A long time ago I read somewhere that hardest things for people to say are: thank you, I am sorry, and help me. I think that is what Thanksgiving is mostly about. To appreciate one another, to say sorry for any mistake, and of course to help ourselves with that tasty food on the table.

What's your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

A few years ago on Thanksgiving day I was stuck in a traffic for a couple of hours. While sitting in my car I didn’t know what else to do than to watch people around me. Many of them seemed to be frustrated. But children acted differently. They had a keen anxiety to leave everything behind and play. That’s is what I like about Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays, to leave all those busy roads, red lights, and demanding bosses behind and to enjoy in playing, cooking, singing, talking, and whatever inspires a person to share the joy with other people and to be happy.

Some families have traditions they do every year, does your family have a tradition that goes along with Thanksgiving?

My family and I are very adoptable to any tradition as long there is nice word to share and of course good food to eat. In fact, my family tradition is to learn many different traditions and to find the value in each of them. What I especially like about Thanksgiving and other holidays is seeing those people who stand beside the roads and hold signs in their hands, collecting more money and smiles from those who are passing by. I think it is very important not to forget that even on holidays there are those who are hungry, cold, and alone. We just need to show them that somebody cares.

Food is always one of the biggest things about this time of year, do you have a favorite desert or even a recipe you'd like to share with us?

Since I am much better eater than cook, every year one of my friends is preparing for me some of their specialties. This year my friend Richard volunteered to do this, so I still don’t know what will be on the “menu.” As for deserts, I personally love any kind of chocolate and vanilla mix. If some fruit is added, that works even better for me. But since I don’t know how to prepare them, I can’t be so picky.

There are so many ways to cook a turkey, does your family have a special way of getting the big bird ready, perhaps a special ingredient or stuffing?

The big bird was many times “assassinated” in my kitchen so now I let other people to apply their cooking skills to it. In her book “The Bad Cook’s Guide” author Madeleine Bingham said: too many cooks may spoil the broth, but it only takes one to burn it. For sure, this speaks of my way of cooking a turkey.

After eating all that food and settling in for the evening what do you do with the time that's left before bed?

Luckily on holidays this fast paced life a little bit slows down so people are more relaxed and willing to talk and share more smiles with each other. It seems to me that even laughter spreads more quickly during this time of the year. Actually, this is the main reason why those evenings mean much more to me than all those gifts and all that tasty food on the table.

Is there any other information you'd care to share with us about your books that are out now or any upcoming novels?

Being in the criminal justice field and being one of those people who truly believe that world should and could be a better place, I am working on my next two books with this purpose on mind. The first book is called “If” and the second one is called “Just Point at Him.” Both of them are non-fiction, true-crime stories. “If” is a story about the survivor of domestic violence. On the other hand, “Just Point at Him” is a story about a man called “Greg” who was acquitted by the Innocence Project of Texas after spending 11 years behind the bars. He is very good example of what can happen when at the wrong place, at the wrong time scenario takes place. Even though these stories differ in many ways, they share one important message: if something happens unexpectedly, there is always something else, something more to hope for.

I think about this often. Especially when is time to put the big bird in the oven. Happy Thanksgiving!

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