Jeanette Friedman and David Gold – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Why Should I Care?: Lessons From the Holocaust was written for today’s students so that they would understand that they need to be responsible and accountable for their own actions and attitudes toward other people. They need to understand thinking critically, not taking things at face value, because Genocide begins with lies and bullying and when neighbors turn on their neighbors.

Tell us something about yourself.

I have been writing for close to 40 years. David has been a college teacher and business man. We are both originally from Brooklyn and were student activists on the Brooklyn College campus in the late 60s and early 70s. He was president of the student body in the night school, the School of General Studies, and I was the editor of the college newspaper, ken.

What inspired you to write this book?

We are both children of Holocaust/Auschwitz survivors who wanted to do something worthy to honor our parents. We realized that there were so many genocides since the Holocaust, that the way it was being taught and exploited hadn’t really made a difference. We wanted to reach into the hearts and minds of students to show them that genocide could be prevented if people spoke out and took part in the political process.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

A mainstream publisher told us it would take them three years to get the book to market. Jeanette has her own publishing company that produces books for Holocaust survivors and others. In order to get the book to market in a timely way, and to control the website we built with it, we decided to do it on our own, and also posted the book to Kindle.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Jeanette was always a writer, and was even an editor of her elementary school yearbook. David was a crackerjack researcher, determined to get the facts and make the book work. Together we made it happen.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Especially when you are writing a book for students, you have to be careful to balance what you want to accomplish without moving too far to the left or right, without getting too religious, without overstepping boundaries. David is on the right side of the spectrum, politically and religiously, Jeanette is on the left. The hardest part was keeping the book straight down the middle.

How do you do research for your books?

We used google and other search engines, as well as Jeanette’s extensive library of books about the Holocaust and politics.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

Yes, we learned that people judge a book by its cover, and we are changing the cover for the next edition to better reflect the contents of the book, which is not ABOUT the Holocaust, but is based on its lessons.

What are you reading now?

David just finished reading, Germany 1945: From War to Peace by Richard Bessel

Jeanette just finished a book called Germania, a fictional accounting of the last days of the war and the transition of Germany from a totalitarian state to a democracy.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

David doesn’t have a favorite author and likes to read history.

Jeanette likes to read policiers and science fiction. Her favorite author is Orson Scott Card.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

We are working on the second edition of Why Should I Care? to improve what we have done and to make deletions and additions that will bring the message home in a clearer, more effective way.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

If you believe in what you are doing, just do it. Sit down in front of your computer and start writing. David likes to quote Herzl who says, “If you will it, it is not a dream.” But don’t rely on mainstream publishers, or you will die of old age waiting for them to make a decision. Do it yourself, or find a small publishing house that is willing to work with you. The mainstream publishers have you pay for everything, and then charge you for books that you need. Others will charge you for publishing and editing, but the books and copyright will still belong to you, if you make the right kind of a deal.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

We do eblasts to teachers, schools, organizations and students. We look for speaking engagements and look for promotional opportunities wherever we find them. During Days of Remembrance, Jeanette has been scheduled to speak in five different places in as many days.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?