Yesterday at 8:28pm
It is the greatest honor to interview fellow New Yorker, Fran Lewis. She is the author of The Bertha Series: “Bertha Speaks Out,” “My Name is Bertha.” “Bertha Strikes Back” and “Memories Are Precious.”

QUESTION 1 – Please tell the readers where you grew up and what schools you attended?
ANSWER – I attended P.S. 67 on 180th and Mohegan Avenue in the South Bronx and JHS 44 on Prospect Avenue where I grew up on Southern Blvd/Tremont Avenue. I attended Columbus H.S. and graduated in 2 years to be followed by Hunter College where I graduated in 3 years. My lst two masters were from Lehman College in the Bronx. (Education and Reading & Learning Disabilities). My 3rd masters in Administration & Supervision was from Manhattan College in Riverdale. I also received a PD diploma along with my master’s degree.

QUESTION 2 – How did you get interested in writing books?
ANSWER – I became interested in writing books after I retired from teaching when my mom was diagnosed with dementia Alzheimers in 2003. I decided not to spend my time doing something constructive. I started out writing short stories about things that happened to me growing up. I guess that is when I realized I could take all of the short stories and turn them into children’s books. My Aunt Tova Ross made me promise before she passed away that I would write a book about my life growing up in the South Bronx and I kept my word. I wrote about things from my childhood that I wanted to share with children. I was always overweight as a child and I got picked on a lot by my friends and family. I decided to write these stories to help teach children how to deal with these issues and other real life issues they face today in an intelligent and humorous way.

QUESTION 3 – Tell us about The Bertha Series and who is Bertha?
ANSWER – Bertha is my paternal grandmother. My sister said that I looked like her growing up. She was not a happy person and at times when I would get angry, she would call me Bertha. I would call her Tillie after her sister Tillie who she reminded me of. I wrote three books in my Bertha Series and I am now working on the 4th. The lst is “My Name is Bertha” which includes short stories about my dancing, ice-skating and bowling lessons & more. “Bertha Speaks out” tells about how I dreaded long car rides and the funny things that happened along the way. It tells how I dealt with my mother who insisted that I get perfect scores on all of my tests or I had to write the test over. I learned to deal with difficult girls in school and it tells how we came together when a family member got dementia. “Bertha Fights Back” is my lst chapter book and it is dedicated to 9/11 and to one of my students who died in the lst tower. It deals with hate crimes, peer mediation and what happends when Bertha is accused of doing something and is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It teaches adults what happens when a good kid does the wrong thing and learns the hard way. It does not have a happy ending but teaches important lessons to kids about tolerance, understanding and more.

QUESTION 4 – Our readers would like to know about your wonderful association with Robin Falls Kids Story Time Radio/Blog Show & Red River Writers.”
ANSWER – I am proud to be part of Robin Falls Kids Radio Show & Red River Writers. Thanks to April Robbins and the authors on Robin Falls Kids, I have been given the opportunity to read from my books, meet great authors and learn more about the writing profession than I would have without their help and support. I love being on the radio, contributingt book reviews to April’s magazine and hope to always be a part of Red River Writers. I would also love to review some of the books of the writers on Red River Writers for the magazine, too. I would love to speak out about issues that authors felt are difficult in writing and also other issues that we might read about in the news.

QUESTION 5 – Would you encourage young students to take up writing?
ANSWER – I think that young students need to know that writing is a great way to get their voice and thoughts heard.

QUESTION 6 – If you were not a writer, what would be your back-up choice of career.
ANSWER – I think writing is great but I am finding it hard to get my books re-published by a traditional publisher. If I were not a writer, I would have become a journalist or professional book reviewer.

QUESTION 7 – Since this is New Years’ Day, what is your new years wish?
ANSWER – My wish is to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Alzheimer’s hopefully through the sales of my book” Memories are Precious.” The book is about my mom’s journey with the disease in her own words. There are memories and dedications from authors, family members and friends from around the world. It is also a resource for anyone who wants to understand the illness, the stages of the illness and how to get help for a friend or family member. It has caregiver tips and much more.

QUESTION 8 – If you could go back in time for just one hour, what change would you make in your life?
ANSWER – If I could go back in time for just one hour, I would have become a school administrator and not just a reading/writing specialist and Dean. I think that I felt teaching reading and writing was more important than running the school. I realize now that my school or any school would have done better with someone who cares about the students, teachers, parents, and respects them; and would look at her day and running a school as an educator and not just as an administrator.

QUESTION 9 – Please tell our readers the names of your books & what websites/webpages are your books available?
ANSWER – “My Name is Bertha,” “Bertha Speaks Out,” “Bertha Fights Back,” and “My Memories Are Precious” can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Shelfari, Goodreads, Booksamillion and other resellers and Xlibris.com My websites are:
http://www.gabina49.webs.com – http://www.xlibris,com
http://www.myspace.com/hotauntiebertha – http://www.gabina49.wordpress.com

ANSWER -I love reading books of all genres and reviewing them. I review books for Manic Readers, bookpleasures.com and Ijustfinished.com. You can read my reviews on Ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina which is what my sister calls me. I love to walk and enjoy museums especially Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love doing research on the net. I am presently doing research for my next Altzheimer’s Book on Brain Active Activities. The book might be called:Sharp as A Tack or Scrambled Eggs! Which describes your Brain?


Updated 7 hours ago · Comment ·  · Report Note

Fran Lewis

Fran Lewis

Thank you Irene for the honor of being interviewed by you. Fran
about an hour ago ·

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