Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pasta, Poppy Fields & Pearls: An Exclusive Interview with Carmela

Today we have a special guest stopping by the Changing Earth, Sophia Bar-lev. She is the author of PASTA, POPPY FIELDS & PEARLS. We will get to enjoy a character interview from her latest novel but before we do that I want to introduce the real Sophia. Sophia Bar-lev is actually a pen name for author Leah Houseman. I asked her one time why she chose a pen name and she told me " I chose a pen name for purposes of privacy initially and have always like the name, Sophia"  Personally, I have to agree that her pen name has a classy ring to it but I think Leah Houseman is a person to be celebrated! She is an incredible woman who faces the dangers of living in war torn Israel with an insatiable urge to be positive despite the negative. A lady who proudly stands behind her beliefs and dreams for a people just trying to protect their neighbors. As I have come to know her, my respect for her has grown insurmountably. I envy her ability to maintain a calm and normal existence, focusing on her book projects while chaos rains down around her. She is truly a master of her own mind rather than a product of her circumstances and that is highly commendable.

Okay now back to Sophia's latest novel, Past, Poppy Fields & Pearls. This book is a very enjoyable read. In the book four mature women from different parts of the world have chosen Tuscany as their retirement haven, expecting a quiet and tranquil existence. Little did they realize the adventures that awaited them. As their lively friendship develops, the best and the worst of each woman's past experiences and memories begin to emerge and just when you think you know what's next, a completely unexpected twist in the story will keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime.

Sophia has given us an exclusive interview with Carmela, the natural leader of the group of women. 

Reporter:  Thank you, Carmela, for agreeing to this interview.  Our magazine is very interested in the expat community here in Italy.  May I start by asking you a little about your background?  Will you tell us a little about your home town and your early life.

Carmela:  Certainly.  I was born in Mexico and am the eldest of 17 children. 

Reporter: (gasps) Seventeen?  Wow!

Carmela:  Yes, my mother was very busy. With that many children in the house, as the eldest it fell to me to be the second mother, so to speak.  It was a very busy house but a happy house.  I have good memories of my childhood and all that training from my mother certainly helped me when I became a mother myself.

Reporter:  And how many children do you have?

Carmela:  Six, three sons and three daughters, all grown now and ten grandchildren.

Reporter:  So you were pretty busy yourself.  Did you also work outside the home?

Carmela: In the early years, yes.  My husband was still in university and we struggled as many young couples do.  Later, I was fortunate to be a full time Mom.

Reporter:  How would you describe your idea of perfect happiness?

Carmela:  Ah, that’s an easy one.  My greatest happiness comes from the relationships I have with family and friends.  In think relationships are what life is really all about. One of the joys of living here in Tuscany is the circle of friends I have.  Tuscany is beautiful but my friends make it paradise.

Reporter:  Looking back over your life, when were you the happiest?

Carmela:  I can’t pick a specific time.  I learned from my mother that we make our happiness and I’ve been a happy person pretty much my whole life.  That’s not to say that I haven’t had sorrow and difficult times occasionally but even in those, somehow I found a certain joy in the fact that I was alive and my family was around me.  Today, I’m very happy here in Tuscany and I love my circle of friends.  They’re great women.

Reporter: What is the quality you most like in your friends?

Carmela:  Honesty.  I don’t like hypocrites or people that pretend to be something they’re not.  I like people that are just straight, you know.  What you see is what you get. 

Reporter:  What talent do you wish you had?

Carmela (laughing):  Some of your questions amuse me, like this one.  Maybe I’m just different from other people but I don’t spend much time at all thinking about what I don’t have.  I’m plenty busy with what I DO have!  But, I suppose, since you asked me, I would love to be able to sing.  I love music and have it playing at home all the time but I don’t sing if anyone else is around.  I sound too much like a croaking frog.

Reporter: One last question.  If you could choose between being a baseball or a bat, which would you want to be?

Carmela:  I’d want to be the bat so I could propel someone else into a home run.

About the Author

Sophia Bar-Lev, who also writes as LR Houseman, is the best-selling   She is a former teacher and spent many years traveling internationally as an inspirational speaker and Bible teacher at conferences and conventions.   Her popular mini-book, HOW TO STUDY TORAH WHEN YOU’RE NOT A TORAH SCHOLAR, has been used by many womens’ bible study groups to enliven their discussions and deepen their understanding of scripture.
author of PASTA, POPPY FIELDS AND PEARLS, and will soon publish its sequel, PIZZA AND PROMISES.

To receive your free gift, “Tips for Living Free of Negativity”,visit her website at

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit:
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


No comments:

Post a Comment