Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, is the
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures, which he created in 2002.' Practicing law for over 35 years enabled Norm to transfer and apply to
book reviewing his many skills that he had perfected during his career in
the legal profession and as a result he became a prolific free lance
book reviewer & author interviewer. To read more about Norm Follow Here
Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited
to have as our guest Svetlana (Lana) Kim author of White
Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee.
day Lana and thanks for participating in our interview.
did you overcome your fear when you arrived in America from Russia
with one dollar in your pocket, no job prospects and without any
knowledge of the English language?
had faith. In addition, when I landed at the JFK Airport clueless as
to what to do next, I had the good fortune to encounter a ‘Good
Samaritan. I had one dollar in my pocket with no friends, family, or
place to stay. Nonetheless, I knew that I would be fine. No doubt, I
realized that it would be a daunting task. I think that fear is the
most controlling of the emotions. Perhaps fears come in different
forms. I had to overcome the fear.
you ever want to return to Russia to Live?
never met anyone who lived in America and wanted to go back to
Russia. I do sometimes experience nostalgia because of my family
living in Russia. I am the only one who lives abroad.
reason I came to America is to pursue my dreams in the same manner my
great-grandmother Elena Hvan left Korea had emigrated to Russia in
the fall of 1900 to pursue her dreams. Happiness is such an expensive
commodity today. I became a US citizen in August 2001 after ten years
as a political refugee. I had joined the Junior League of San
Francisco in July 2002 to volunteer and serve local non-profit
organizations. I nopw have a privilege to give back. I also volunteer
at the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Washington and I am actively
involved with the League. Also, I mentor young Asian Women and they
mentor me on technology. I am fortunate. I am happy.
inspired you to write White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political
Refugee and did you learn anything from writing your book, if so,
what was it?
wrote this book because to put it simply, I simply had to. Life is
full of many turns and twists and we have many opportunities given to
us. In my case, the odds were against me. But as my loving
babushkaWhite Pearl used to say to me, “doing nothing is a risk.”
A dramatic statement and tidbit of her wisdom which I’ve come to
rely. Her spirit guided me through all my journeys, near and far, and
continues to do so.
I wanted to share with American and world readers the new topic of
Koryo-saram (Korean in Russia). I wanted to have a voice on behalf of
480,000 former Soviet Koreans. It should be mentioned that I
submitted my manuscript to the MWC (Maui Writers Conference) two
hours before the deadline. Subsequently, I received an e-mail from
the founder John Tullius who wrote to me indicating that it’s a
block buster movie. He offered me help in editing my manuscript. I
was also fortunate to participate in a writing workshop with Ron
Powers, Pulitzer-Prise winning journalist, Bestselling Author of Mark
Twain: A Life and who co-wrote the 2000 #1 New York
Times Bestseller The Flags of Our Fathers. I
learned the power of dialogue. I still write long sentences. The
dialogue must be short (it can be one word.) How to write with a
minimum sound bites and maximum power? That takes practice,
observation, and focus.
has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
was lucky because my grandmother was a great storyteller. Even about
our neighbour’s cat Vasiliy who visited her only when she would
bring catfish from the farmers market.
learned how to read when I was six years old. I truly never ever
experienced the same feelings in my entire life as I did with
writing. A whole new world opened to me. In addition, I asked Ron
Powers to give me one advice on how to be an effective writer. He
simply replied, “By reading good books.”
is your secret in keeping the intensity of your memoirs throughout
way I was inspired was to use my senses and to to keep writing and to
keep drawing upon all my experiences growing up with my Grandmother.
constantly refrred to sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, and even
what I call “connectedness.” Sometimes I would cook Korean food
to remind me of the delicious aromas of my childhood. This sent me
all over various places looking for unique ingredients found only in
Asian supermarkets. Of course, I loved my Grandmother’s cooking and
it wasn’t only a reminder.. it was delicious food!
sometimes, I would need even more reality to feel truly connected,
after having been separated by so much time and distance. I would
stargaze. I often wrote at night, when things were peaceful, calm,
quiet. I would open up my shades, open up the window just above the
desk where I wrote, and I would gaze up at the stars.
very early age, my Grandfather and Babushka taught me how to
recognize the stars, their patterns, and constellations. I would gaze
up at the beautiful black sky, dotted with a million points of bright
lights, and I would dream of her. I would dream of us, talking,
laughing, learning, and just being together. Gazing up at those
stars, those same stars that we would gaze at together, it brought me
closer and closer to the time that she was right beside me, pointing
up and teaching.
challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book?
How did you overcome these challenges?
biggest one was that my Grandmother and my family didn’t want me to
write the book. Incidentally, I still continue to write my journal.
My grandmother would correct my story as she still has a vivid memory
and imagination. She remembers many things in details. Another
challenge was to find the time to write every single day. I took two
years off to finish the manuscript. I was writing twelve hours a day
and seventy hours a week. I had originally seventy chapters because I
had seventy stories. I narrowed down to fifteen chapters.
do you believe will benefit from your book and why? What are your
hopes for this book?
was originally marketing to women however I also received incredible
e-mails from men. My story is a story of hope, love, dreams, and
happiness. My passion is to encourage my readers to confront their
own greatness. It’s White Pearl’s wisdom that I tap into during
life’s most difficult times. I believe that her wisdom will help us
navigate choppy waters.
there be any unique ways you'll be marketing your book that is
different from how others authors market their books?
sold 1,300 books by word of mouth. I don’t know if I am doing
something anything different. I think the question is “How.” I
will be speaking across the country at major National Women
Conferences. Also, I approached one organization to be a spokesperson
to promote equality among women refugees and immigrants. Social
networking is critical. There is a clip posted on YouTube. Marketing
a book takes no less time than to write a book because I want to
share the story of White Pearl with the world.
can our readers find out more about your and your book?
visit my WEBSITE.
visit often as I write weekly blogs. The theme is “The Journey
Behind My Book” -why I wrote White Pearl and I. But also how I
became inspired to relive all the memories of my beloved Grandmother.
As anyone who was ever attempted to write with continuity will know
(and those of you who haven’t), at times it is difficult to remain
inspired and focused.
is next for Svetlana Kim and is there anything else you wish to add
that we have not covered?
am working on my second book “Secrets of White Pearl.” It’s a
working title. I will share how I applied my grandmother’s pearls
of wisdom in my own life. Stay tuned!
once again and good luck with all of your future endeavours.
Click Here To Read Norm's Review of White
Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee