Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ronald H. Balson Author Interview


Photo Credit: Monica J. Balson

RONALD H. BALSON is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues including Poland, which served as the inspiration for his first best selling novel, Once We Were Brothers. A love of history, the Middle East, and traveling inspired his second novel, Saving Sophie. Drawing on the true life story of a Holocaust survivor, Ron wrote Karolina’s Twins, another international bestseller. His fourth book, The Trust, is a dark mystery set in the historical setting of Northern Ireland. He returns to World War II for his upcoming novel,The Girl From Berlin, due out October 9, 2018. Ron was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction in 2014 and a finalist for the Premio Bancarella Italian Literature Award. He was an honoree at the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Carl Sandburg Literary Award dinner and is a frequent personality of radio and public television.

      
  


What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
My wife and I have raised eight children.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve had a creative urge tugging at me for many years, but work and family responsibilities took priority. I’ve been a writer for all of the forty-six years I’ve been practicing law, except my writing has been technical/legal. Finally, when a commercial law suit took me to Poland, and I was profoundly moved by what I saw, I decided to commit to writing a novel, which became Once We Were Brothers.

If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
Okay, these are hard questions. I suppose Superman doesn’t count. I guess I would be like Liam Taggart, my Irish detective in all five of my novels. He’s a decent man, strong moral fiber, but he has his flaws.

Did you learn anything from writing THE GIRL FROM BERLIN and what was it?
I learned quite a bit. THE GIRL was a heavily researched project. The history of professional artists, and in particular Jewish artists, in Italy before the war, during the war and then during the brutal Nazi occupation were subjects that were new to me. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Liam, how would you introduce him?
He was born and raised in Northern Ireland. He is a no-nonsense guy with street smarts, but very sensitive and compassionate. If he undertakes a project, he will see it through.

What part of Catherine did you enjoy writing the most?
Her strength of character. She left a very prestigious law firm, and went out on her own, (flying without s parachute, she said) rather than to withdraw from representing a client who had placed his faith in her.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Ada?
Ada is a gifted violinist. She wants nothing more than to follow her career and play next to her father in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The fact that surprised me was that there wasn’t a single woman member of the BPO, or any major orchestra in the world, during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Indeed, may orchestras did not allow women until many years later.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Be tolerant.

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why?
I suppose I couldn’t do any better than Abraham Lincoln, but I’d take a pass on Ford’s Theater.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving, without a doubt. It is a pure family holiday. Everyone gets together to eat, drink and watch football. I mean, what could be better than that?

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
There is a caveat here. The questions assumes that I could successfully make the change. If so, I’d kill Hitler.

What did you do for your last birthday?
It was unexciting, but pleasant. I went out to dinner with family. That’s my idea of a perfect birthday.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I suppose it would have to be having children. It changes you as a man. From then on, you are a father.

Where can readers find you?
I have an extensive book tour throughout the fall and spring. All the dates and locations are posted on my website http://ronaldbalson.com. I love to meet my readers.

TEN REASONS TO READ THE GIRL FROM BERLIN
  • 1. To learn about life in Berlin, and the transition from the culture-rich Weimar Republic and to the emergence of Nazification in the 1930’s, and how it affected daily life.
  • 2. To learn about the beauty of Bologna, Italy and what it has to offer, then and now.
  • 3. To live in Tuscany (vicariously) for a few months.
  • 4. To imagine what it must have been like for a young Jewish girl to fall in love with a German soldier.
  • 5. To learn something about symphony orchestras and opera companies, and especially their struggle during the war years.
  • 6. To learn about the war in Italy, and those brave Italian women who fought as partisans.
  • 7. To learn about the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany, and the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, and how they were conducted by Hitler and the Nazi hierarchy.
  • 8. To identify with the fear and determination of those families who had to face the Nazi persecution
  • 9. To learn about the courageous and marvelous Theresienstadt prisoners who along with their conductor Rafael Schachter, put on the impossibly difficult Verdi Requiem by rote memory in their concentration camp for the International Red Cross in 1944.
  • 10. To improve your knowledge of Europe during World War II

In the newest novel from internationally-bestselling author, Liam and Catherine come to the aid of an old friend and are drawn into a property dispute in Tuscany that unearths long-buried secrets

An old friend calls Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart to his famous Italian restaurant to enlist their help. His aunt is being evicted from her home in the Tuscan hills by a powerful corporation claiming they own the deeds, even though she can produce her own set of deeds to her land. Catherine and Liam’s only clue is a bound handwritten manuscript, entirely in German, and hidden in its pages is a story long-forgotten…

Ada Baumgarten was born in Berlin in 1918, at the end of the war. The daughter of an accomplished first-chair violinist in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic, and herself a violin prodigy, Ada’s life was full of the rich culture of Berlin’s interwar society. She formed a deep attachment to her childhood friend Kurt, but they were torn apart by the growing unrest as her Jewish family came under suspicion. As the tides of history turned, it was her extraordinary talent that would carry her through an unraveling society turned to war, and make her a target even as it saved her, allowing her to move to Bologna―though Italy was not the haven her family had hoped, and further heartache awaited.

What became of Ada? How is she connected to the conflicting land deeds of a small Italian villa? As they dig through the layers of lies, corruption, and human evil, Catherine and Liam uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope―the ending of which is yet to be written.

Praise for THE GIRL FROM BERLIN

“Ron Balson never disappoints with his rich, historical thrillers. Woven with research and detail, The Girl from Berlin is not to be missed.” ―Alyson Richman, international bestselling author of The Lost Wife

“Ron Balson’s masterful historical novel The Girl from Berlin illustrates how crimes buried in the past can reverberate across future generations. In this story, the powerhouse duo of attorney Catherine Lockhart and investigator Liam Taggart must travel to Italy to solve a mystery that somehow ties an elderly women in Tuscany who is about to lose her beloved vineyard, with a Jewish violin prodigy in 1930’s Berlin during Hitler’s rise. This is a fascinating, fast-paced dual-narrative that I could not put down. It is a heart-wrenching story of survival, hope and, ultimately, redemption that is sure to thrill current fans of Balson’s novels and create many new ones!” ―Jane Healey, author of The Saturday Evening Girls Club

“Balson’s many fans will thoroughly enjoy this new addition to the series, which continues the earlier novels’ dynamics plotting, compelling characters, and back-and-forth between-eras action. Newcomers will find the portrayals of the plight of the Jews in Central Europe leading up to and during World War II an unvarnished testament to the ugly truth.” ―Library Journal

"Murder, deception, and greed are involved, but this compelling story also offers the beauty of music and love, and the possibility of redemption." Jewish Book Council

You can purchase The Girl from Berlin at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you RONALD H. BALSON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson. 
jbnpastinterviews

3 comments:

  1. For my last birthday, I did nothing in particular. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  2. "What did you do for your last birthday?" My goodness, someone said "nothing in particular," and I was going to say "not much" or "nothing particular" or "nothing special" or "not much in particular"! It's like the nation has been taken over by nothing-special birthdays! It's a scandal!

    ReplyDelete
  3. For my last birthday, I exercised and ate sushi (not simultaneously).

    ReplyDelete