From April 14 to August 28, 2022, the mahJ will present a new exhibition titled: Marcel Proust. On his Mother’s Side. Marking the centenary of Proust’s death, the exhibition explores the personality and work of Marcel Proust (1871-1922) who, after her death in 1905, had a desire to “do something that would have pleased mother.” Featuring 230 paintings, drawings, prints and documents, the exhibition includes major works by Monet (one of his favorite painters), Rodin, Bonnard and Vuillard, as well as a proof of Swann’s Way. The exhibition is the first in France to focus on Proust through the lens of his relationship with Judaism. The exhibition illustrates the author’s social life and opinions, while also exploring the similarities between the structure of Proustian manuscripts and that of the Talmud, as well as focusing on the Jewish characters in In Search of Lost Time.
From June 2 to December 31, 2022, visitors will be able to view works by photographer Jacques Perez in the exhibition Pilgrimage to Djerba. Photographs by Jacques Perez, 1980. The island of Djerba in southern Tunisia is home to one of the oldest and most famous synagogues in the world, the Ghriba. The community around this synagogue, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was documented by Jacques Perez in 1979-1980 in a series of colorful photographs that illustrate their ancestral traditions. Perez, now 90 years old, was born in Tunis in 1932, the son of a Tunisian Jewish father and a German mother; throughout his storied career in photography, he focused exclusively on Tunisia and its inhabitants.
The mahJ also continues to host tours of the Marais neighborhood to help visitors discover the Jewish history, food and culture that surrounds the museum. The experience starts with a tour of the permanent collection followed by a walk around the neighborhood, led by an English-speaking guide. Upcoming tours will be held on June 19, August 7 and August 22, 2022.
About The Museum of Art and History of Judaism
The Museum of Art and History of Judaism is one of the leading history and art museums in Paris. Since its opening in 1998, the “mahJ” has been devoted to showcasing major artworks from influential Jewish artists and sharing the history of Judaism in France, as well as throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. The mahJ collection comprises more than 12,000 works from antiquity to the present day and a wealth of archival materials. The museum also provides a number of educational programs to younger generations on Jewish art and culture and hosts a variety of events and activities for all ages throughout the year.
My interest in Hemingway was piqued when I was 19. On a whim, I picked up Aaron Hochner’s book Papa Hemingway and never looked back. The anecdotes, the gusto for life that Hemingway showed, the jokes, and the intensity of the man captured me completely. After that, I read every biography published starting with Princeton scholar Carlos Baker’s seminal work, and then went on to the original sources: the short stories, the novels and the letters.
People invariably express surprise when they find that I, a woman, am deep into Hemingway lore and literature. The most common reaction is, “Oh God, he hated women, didn’t he? And he loved bull fighting and hunting. How can you stand him?” After 35 years of reading Hemingway, here’s what I’ve concluded about why I am such a fan and why I find him so relatable.
1. Hemingway was complex. There is the surface and there is more. Just as his simple short sentences belie deeper messages, Hemingway’s persona of a bellicose he-man obscures the multi-faceted shy man beneath the facade. He was a macho icon and yet was far ahead of his time in writing about gender fluidity, women’s rights, and women as leaders. His character Pilar, a mountain woman, is a strong secondary heroine in For Whom the Bell Tolls. The 1927 short story, Hills Like White Elephants, deals with the issue of abortion with compassion and directness all without once mentioning the word and with Hemingway’s sympathies clearly resting with the woman. And in his exploratory The Garden of Eden, Hemingway wrote of gender identity and role changing, all unmentionable in his era. He was a brilliant, insecure, depressed alcoholic with mother issues, all of which made for a rich if not easy emotional stew. The man was full of contradictions and nuance—like all of us.
2. Hemingway’s subject matter moves me. I hate bullfighting, war, hunting, boxing—staples of Hemingway plots—but those are not what I see when I read his works. A Farewell to Arms is about war, but it also is about friendship, love, sacrifice, and coping with grief when all is hopeless. And while For Whom the Bell Tolls is about the Spanish Civil War, it also is about two young lovers who for one snapshot in time have it all. For one moment, they have a beauty that can never be taken from them. Hemingway created images in crafted strokes and phrases, many of which have become clichés to the point of parody because they were that good at defining a feeling and were completely fresh when penned. “Did thee feel the earth move?” “The world breaks everyone and afterward, some are stronger in the broken places.” “Never mistake motion for action.” “Grace under pressure.” At bottom, Hemingway wrote about healing, devotion to a person or cause no matter the cost, loss, and love. The ending of For Whom the Bell Tolls slays me every time.
3. Reading Hemingway reminds me that everything is about context. I mentioned bullfighting and hunting big game. Most of us hate both and view them as barbaric. However, as my history professor always said, you have to see behaviors in the context of their time. Those activities were not anathema in 1930. Eighty years from now, the consensus may be that killing animals for food is brutal, and that not having subsidized medical care for all is byzantine, and to not permit assisted suicide is cruel. Different sensibilities frame what we find unacceptable. Context is key, and Hemingway both shaped and was a product of his time like all of us.
4. And finally, all of our heroes have failings and Hemingway had his share of bad behavior—perhaps more than his share. He was jealous of his rivals due to his own insecurities. He could be a boring part-time bully, particularly when drinking. He was an inconstant husband and a mercurial father. He discarded people who helped him on the way up. And yet–-he was generous to selected friends and writers. He was kind to his animals whom he treated like family members. He was gentle and supportive personally and financially to employees of his Cuban household. He was a mimic and story-teller who presented life in technicolor to his sons. He was truly brave in both wars. He was committed to his craft and even when suffering health ravages including the after effects of two plane crashes, seven or eight serious concussions, and alcoholism, he sat down to work almost every day to write something of value, something new that had never been attempted. There is a nobility in that. Like all heroes from John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King to Mahatma Gandhi to Winston Churchill, the warts are there along-side the accomplishments. The international braggart jostles for position next to the mid-western artist, alone and unassuming in his writing studio. The serious thinker morphs into a silly prankster in his letters to family and friends. The mean-spirited diva twists into a gracious and humble supporter of others to his own detriment in a sudden pivot. As Hemingway wrote in For Whom the Bell Tolls, “I know now there is no one thing that is true. It is all true.” It is the combination of the dark and the light of the same man that molded the whole. Hemingway was a shapeshifter, like we all are to some degree.
Archibald MacLeish once said that he only knew two men in his life who could empty the air from a room simply by entering it—Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway. He added, “Hemingway simply could not stop people from talking about him.” That continues to be true today and is part of why I love Hemingway. The well of getting to know him never runs dry.
“Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence” by Giles Chapman
“Jaguar Century” is a lavishly illustrated large-format retrospective examining 100 years of Jaguar, one of the most acclaimed marques in automotive history. Established in 1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley, the Swallow Sidecar Company transformed into one of the auto industry’s most revered car brands, synonymous with performance and luxury. “Jaguar Century” chronicles this company and its remarkable vehicles, from the 1935 Jaguar SS sporting saloon to today’s F-Type sports cars, F-PACE SUV, and X-Type sedans—filled with images, history, and in-depth analyses of the incredible cars Jaguar has created year after year.
Automotive historian Giles Chapman showcases how company visionaries developed the brand in the trying economic times leading up to World War II before resetting Jaguar during England’s bleak postwar years. “Jaguar Century” will make a great addition to any holiday gift list, just in time for the marque’s 100 anniversary next year.
Publishing September 28, 2021 by Motorbooks ∙ Hardcover, 224 pages ∙ $75.00 US, $99.00 CAN ISBN: 9780760368664
“DAMANHUR Social Alchemy, Magical Temples and the Superindividual” by Jeff Merrifield
What is Damanhur? It is an alternative way of life. A societal model for the betterment of humanity, an experiment in human consciousness. A collective of people devoted to the sustainability of communal living; an ecovillage and spiritual community based in Northern Italy. Founded by Falco Tarassaco in the mid-70s, Damanhur has grown from humble beginnings to become a prime mover in spiritual-artistic standing and research and the ecological protection of the planet.
In Jeff Merrifield’s book, he writes with reverence about this community that has fascinated him for over two decades. His book is an introduction to the intricacies, philosophies and structures of the seemingly closed-off Damanhur, the guide to the lessons of this community.
DAMANHUR Social Alchemy, Magical Temples and the Superindividual by JEFF MERRIFIELD (10th August; Watkins/Penguin Random House; £18.99/$29.95; 9781786783707
“Move Like Water × Be Fluid” is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.
This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward.
Move Like Water x Be Fluid is available in PDF format on Blurb.
Signed copies of Vaughn’s memoir, Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available in ourshop.
“Bodega Cat” by Louie Chin
Already a recipient of starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Louie Chin’s “Bodega Cat” has been selected by the Junior Library Guild as a Spring 2020 Gold Standard in the City Elementary category. Referred to as “the subscription box for the modern librarian,” the Junior Library Guild plays a pivotal role in stocking library inventories nationwide with the highest caliber of books for children. Of the thousands of applicants, only 3% receive this annual distinction and over 95% of JLG Gold Standard books go on to win other book awards. Congratulations to Louie Chin, and to editor Jordan Nielsen!
Born and raised in New York, Louie Chin is an illustrator who creates commercial and editorial content. He has always been an animal-lover, and there is one family pet in particular from which he drew inspiration for “Bodega Cat”: a spirited and feisty orange tabby cat named Simba. His favorite bodega order is coffee and an egg and sausage sandwich on a toasted roll. “Bodega Cat” is the first book that he both wrote and illustrated. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Animals & Cats / City & Town Life / People & Places, Hispanic & Latino Hardcover, 10.5 x 10.5 Inches, 32 Pages ISBN: 978-1-57687-932-0, $17.99 US/$23.99 CAN
“The Fragile Skin of the World” by Jean-Luc Nancy
The world is everything that passes between us – ourselves and everything that happens to us, everything that becomes of our contacts, our gazes, our movements; and through referrals from skin to skin, from the fleeting to the immemorial, you reach without even knowing it the entire actuality of the world: the act of its existence. This act is made up of works and disasters, splendors, horrors, and catastrophes. As long as it is ours, it is the act of an infinite emergence that is all the sense there is: a sense that incessantly goes from skin to skin and is itself never enveloped by anything.
The texts in this volume are all oriented by the concern for what is currently happening to us – we, late humanoids – when we arrive at an extremity of our history, whether this extremity should turn out to be a stage, a rupture, or quite simply a last breath.
Jean-Luc Nancy is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg and teaches Political Philosophy and Media Aesthetics at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.“The Fragile Skin of the World” will be published in November 2021.
“Passion for Practice with Musings From Music Masters” by Becky Chaffee
Becky’s new book for anyone playing an instrument, Passion For Practice With Musings From Music Masters, is an imaginative visual presentation expressing music practice concepts. Whether you take private lessons or you learned an instrument in grade school and need to take some lessons to get started again, this book will encourage you. The better you are, the more fun you’ll have. Regular practicing can be rough, but Ms. Chaffee’s book helps you to practice smarter, making it more of a fun challenge than rote practice.
Both an art book and a practice reference book, Passion For Practice With Musings From Music Masters contains personal practicing stories and suggestions from musicians around the world, including famous musicians, Grammy award-winning musicians, and principals of sections in major orchestras on all instruments. You might also enjoy her first book, Have Fun With Your Music to inspire young musicians to make practicing their own. Buy this book to inspire music practice or as a gift for a music teacher’s studio.
Becky Chaffee grew up in a musical household and raised two musical children. She has degrees in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and Cornell University. She enjoys playing flute for her music club. Through her music gifts company, Becky raises funds for music education and has distributed $1,000s to youth. Much of the artwork in her books is presented on note cards, prints and Tee shirts that sell in music stores and symphony gift shops such as the Brevard Music Center, Nashville and San Francisco Symphony Gift Shops, SW Strings, and so on.
TheFair Trade Handbook, Edited by Gavin Fridell, Zack Gross and Sean McHugh
Framed within the common goal of advancing trade justice and South-North solidarity, The Fair Trade Handbook presents a broad interpretation of fair trade and a wide-ranging dialogue between different viewpoints. Canadian researchers in particular have advanced a transformative vision of fair trade, rooted in the cooperative movement and arguing for a more central role for Southern farmers and workers. Contributors to this book look at the issues within global trade, and assess fair trade and how to make it more effective against the broader structures of the capitalist, colonialist, racist and patriarchal global economy. The debates and discussions are set within a critical development studies and critical political economy framework. However, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, as it translates the key issues for a popular audience.
Dodge Viper by David Zatz
The story of Chrysler Corporation’s 1990s image-building V10-engined sportscar – now in eBook format! The Viper stunned Americans by showing that Dodge, known for tame cars and minivans, could make a brutal monster of a sports car. At Le Mans, Team Viper showed they could handle turns, too, winning its class at a fraction of the usual cost. This book covers the Viper from concept to rough rocket to world-class supercar.
This is not just a gushing tribute to the Dodge Viper, the author provides an objective view of the full story, using business, historical, and enthusiast perspectives. The book looks at the business case for each generation, the development stories and their outcomes, and describes some of the issues owners may have to watch out for, particularly in the early models.
True Teryn: The Last Lumenian Book 2 by S.G. Blaise
Princess Lilla finds herself tasked with recruiting the biggest and most dangerous army in the Seven Galaxies. However, the Teryn Emperor will not cooperate unless Lilla earns the blessing of the Guardian Goddess Laoise – no simple task! Is she willing to pay the price to bring her people a second chance at a new beginning?
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo and Emily Skrutskie, this compelling and adventurous tale is set in a rich sci-fi fantasy world. The True Teryn is a captivating coming-of-age story with a diverse cast of characters, a powerful female lead, and a beautiful overarching message: you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero.
“At the heart of The Last Lumenian series, is the story of how young women struggle with today’s critical challenges, including: mental health, personal freedom, self-esteem and managing relationships amidst overwhelming expectations,” says Blaise. “I love hearing from my readers, how inspired they are by Princess Lilla, taking brave action in their own lives.”
True Teryn, (The Last Lumenian, #2) will be available on Amazon and at other booksellers on Dec. 7, 2021.
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
The 1619 Project comprises 18 essays, and 36 poems and works of fiction, all revolving around slavery in America, and how it continues to play a role in our society. By exploring America’s long past with slavery, the root of modern racism can be revealed. It’s both a deeply provocative and highly upsetting work. It doesn’t work to display a bright future for America, but instead provides a revealing, if depressing, narrative on the American experience.
This work acts as an expansion of the highly praised New York Times Magazine project, which was highly controversial at the time due to its conceit: that America wasn’t founded in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the US and exploited.
A children’s book, presenting aspects of the novel’s contents in a way accessible for children, was also released. Titled, 1619 Project: Born on the Water, the book was written with help from Peabody award-winning author Renee Watson.
Author Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, who’s won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor distinguished journalism award from Columbia University.
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones is available via Amazon.
“Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes” by Joi Mahon
Joi Mahon, esteemed designer and fashion entrepreneur, teaches readers about necessary sewing skills in his new book, Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes.
Joi simplifies and explains techniques used in sewing such as stich types, fabric qualities and just how to obtain perfect fit of a garment. He speaks on the book, stating, “I created the book to be a complete reference guide and it includes all my tips from over twenty-five years of professional sewing. I believe it will make an excellent addition to any sewer’s library with it’s modern and up to date illustrations and photography that is visually appealing.”
YONDER by Jabari Asim
YONDER is a new novel by Jabari Asim, one of the best writers we out there. And according to Evangeline Lawson’s brilliantly written review in The Washington Post, it is a must-read book for Black History Month, for Americans of all backgrounds, a necessary and different kind of addition to literature.
SENTIENT: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Humans Senses
In SENTIENT: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses (Atria Books; Hardcover; On Sale: February 22, 2022; $28.00; ISBN 9781982156558), Jackie Higgins explores the breadth of our capabilities as sentient beings through the lens of the animal kingdom. This book looks to animals to better understand the ways we sense and make sense of the world. Scientific research shows that there is more to unite, than divide us and that all creatures are built on the same foundations—a message of particular importance right now. Through their eyes, ears, skin, tongues, noses and more, we can uncover what it means to be human and rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary waking moment.
UNSTOPPABLE: How I Found My Strength Through Love and Loss
Chiquis Rivera’s new memoir UNSTOPPABLE: How I Found My Strength Through Love and Loss (Atria Books; Hardcover; On Sale: February 8, 2022; $27.00; ISBN: 9781982180683) is an exploration of her recent triumphs and challenges. Rivera reveals the personal journey she went through after her mother passed, and how she was able to still follow her dreams and become a renowned singer and entrepreneur. Throughout UNSTOPPABLE, Rivera opens up to her audience revealing her life experiences that helped her obtain the strength she has today.
Word Up: The Life of Amanda Gorman
This biography captures the life of National Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. This is an inspirational read that showcases her journey from her beginnings growing up with a speech impediment and a single mother. Ultimately, she thrived and eventually, at the age of 23, spoke at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
“It’s a story with a happy ending,” says author Marc Shapiro. “Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better. This is real life and an object lesson to all the young women out there who are looking for a role model to inspire them to their full potential. Amanda Gorman is that role model.”
Author Marc Shapiro also wrote New York Times bestseller J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter and Justin Bieber: TheFever.
Enamel the Camel
Enamel wishes he were like all the other camels who live in Camel-lot, but his front teeth are bigger than anyone else’s. Enamel has an overbite, which he brushes to a bright, glowing shine. This makes Enamel different from his fellow camels and he’s the only camel who brushes his teeth. Because his teeth are so prominent, he gets teased at school. Despite kind words from Enamel’s friends, the bullying gets him down. After being teased one time too many during a student outing at the Big Palm Oasis, Enamel decides he’d rather be alone. But when an epic sandstorm blows in, Enamel saves the day. Using his teeth in a very “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” fashion, Enamel leads his scared classmates home to their worried parents. The town thanks him with an award for heroism, and everyone starts brushing their teeth and smiling.
Enamel the Camel is an upbeat humorous story for children about sticking out, stepping up, and the importance of good dental care written by Dr. Mike King, a pediatric dentist in New York City since 1986.
In his dental practice, Dr. Mike as he is called, uses jokes, magic tricks, and a calming nature to treat his young patients. Enamel the Camel is his latest book to help children understand and appreciate their teeth. He has pioneered the philosophy or “flossophy” as he likes to call it, that smiling and laughing should be part of a child’s dental experience.
Fierce Love by Susan Scott
Diving deep into the problems that often are imposed within relationships, Susan Scott investigates why relationships in the modern day and age have often been unsatisfactory. Reviewing the leading problems that typically affect the success of a romantic relationship, this book analyzes common mishaps and miscommunications that typically occur between partners. “Fierce Love” offers insight on communication tactics that are critical to a surviving, healthy relationship.
Scott refers to the current situation of relationships in America as a “communication crisis.” She continues by stating, “What gets talked about in a relationship, and how it gets talked about, determines whether a relationship will thrive, flat-line or fail. We often long for deep connection in our relationships, but we don’t know how to communicate well and sometimes withhold what we’re really thinking and feeling. This can lead to fighting, resentment or, worse, complacency where you are just going through the motions … more like roommates than two people in love. Enduring love happens one conversation at a time. Unfortunately, far too many are not innately equipped with the intuition, knowledge and skills to adeptly steer dialogues that way … and modern society reflects those shortcomings.”
The Other Side of Yet
Michelle Hord was no stranger to tragedy, having started her professional career as a producer on America’s Most Wanted, where she came face to face with the unthinkable on a daily basis. But when it happened in her own family, Michelle’s entire life crashed down around her.
One moment, Michelle had a husband, a career that was taking off, and a beautiful baby girl. When her marriage started to deteriorate and she had to fight for a divorce, she found strength in her seven-year-old daughter, Gabrielle. Just as the divorce was nearly finalized, the most important thing in her life was taken away. Her soon to be ex-husband, the man she once loved, murdered their daughter.
InThe Other Side of Yet: Finding Light in the Midst of Darkness (Atria Books; On sale March 15, 2022; $28.00 Hardcover; ISBN: 9781982173524), Michelle Hord expresses how she survived a mother’s worst nightmare, a devastating loss that most cannot even imagine. In her darkest hours, she turned to the bible, with a particular verse she kept coming back to: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”(Job 13:15). In the space between before and after, between ruin and recovery, there is “yet.” Michelle found strength in her yet—it meant that there would be an after, that there was more to come.
Cocktail Chemistry is a distillation of Nick Fisher’s expertise, expansive knowledge, and passion for mixology. In the book, you’ll find the essential techniques, skills, and finesse needed to create exceptional cocktails at home. But what makes Nick’s book unique, and harkens to experts like Binging with Babish, is his use of cocktails from popular culture as his launching point. Take James Bond‘s classic martini, which then morphs into a lesson on the science of ice and alcohol, and how shaking or stirring your drink affects flavor and consistency, or Don Draper‘s Mad Men Old Fashioned is the entry point to bourbon cocktails and how to complement bourbon’s flavor profile.
Cannabis for Creatives: How 32 Artists Enhance and Sustain Inspiration
Cannabis has long been used and revered for its many benefits, from its widely acknowledged medical applications to its commonly accepted ability to help people relax. And now, with more and more states and countries legalizing marijuana usage for all purposes, we’re finally reaching a tipping point where cannabis is achieving a level of mainstream acceptance and usage, especially among artists. In Cannabis for Creatives: How 32 Artists Enhance and Sustain Inspiration, photographer and cannabis advocate Jordana Wright details what you need to know to take full advantage of cannabis’ potential in your creative work.
Beginning with the basics (how cannabis grows, how it’s ingested, and the nuances of variety), Cannabis for Creatives tells the history of its usage and all the pertinent details of the plant itself—lineage, strains, appearance, flavor, terpenes, and the types of high you can experience. Wright also discusses the neuroscience of cannabis use, including how it affects the brain and how science measures creativity.
A Gripping Military Horror with Shocking Supernatural Twists
Q&A WITH ERIC LELAND:
AUTHOR OF Inhuman MILITARY THRILLER DEBUT
Question: What inspired you to write Inhuman?
Eric Leland: During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.
Q: What sets Inhuman apart from other military and horror books?
EL: The bravado one comes to expect when reading military fiction is quickly ripped away to expose and pick at the delicate flesh of fear and self-doubt we are ashamed to admit exists.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
EL: It was never my intent for Inhuman to be didactic. Primarily I hope readers are entertained. I hope readers will remember the experience of Inhuman rather than any particular lesson.
Q: Inhuman features a diverse cast of characters. How did your military friendships, and experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” inform this inclusivity?
EL: A diverse cast adds verisimilitude to military fiction simply because any U.S. military unit features a diverse roster. In my first combat experience I found myself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Mexican Americans, an African American, and a gay woman. Unfortunately, DADT was still a thing for most of my military career and I would only find out after DADT was repealed that some of my greatest friends were gay. I think truth in fiction is important, and if I did not write a diverse cast I would by lying. Readers can spot a lie from a mile out.
Q: How did you develop your characters? And which of them do you have the strongest connection to?
EL: The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.
Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Inhuman is available on Amazon in both print and digital.
Audiobook forthcoming in Summer 2021.
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