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Interview with Rachel Farren

About the Author

Rachel Farren has enjoyed a career as a university academic and music teacher. She gained a PHD in at Salford University and worked in a pediatrics physiotherapy specializing in Cerebral Palsy. Rachel grew up in the warmth of an urban village in Salford, where she developed her writing skills.

A passion for storytelling has resulted in her first published novel, which draws on her love of history and early life in Jewish Manchester. Rachel now lives in rural Cheshire

Q: Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know about? Like your hobbies?

A. I play the piano (which I also teach), flute and the guitar, I sing in a choir and I have been known to attend ballet classes. I love to cook, and to take my Dalmatian dog, Beau, for long walks on a beautiful nearby beach.

Q: When did you write your first story and how old were you?

A. As a child I was a dreamer and for as long as I can remember I have always written stories in my head about where I would live in the future, how I would escape the grime of the city I grew up in (even though I also loved it) and what I would be as a grown up.

Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A. Like all children I had fluctuating ambitions which included being a ballerina, a doctor and becoming an academic and writer – all of this has come about! (Well, the ballerina bit is mainly when I pirouette around my cottage! – the rest is for real!)

Q: What is your favourite book from your childhood?

A. Heidi - I loved the idea of living in the fresh air of the mountains and the resourcefulness of her grandfather (Heidi’s bed of straw) and the coziness of his cottage. It inspired me to live in a remote, modest, rural home, and I am very happy that this has come true.

Q: How were you as a student?

A. I have always enjoyed studying and am still a hardworking student. I am at my happiest researching – I was a University researcher at one point in my life.

Q: What do you like doing when you're not reading?

A. I love to write.

Q: Where do you get your writing ideas from?

A. From interesting events that I have been involved in personally, places I have lived in or visited, or from research around a particular historical event or fascinating person.

Q: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

A. Some characters are inspired by people I have known but none are specific sketches of particular individuals. Instead, I see my characters as unique creations which represent a theme in the narrative: they each become real to me, with aspects of temperament and reactions shaped by their life journeys that depend on where the story takes me.

Q: If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

A. Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol because he draws you into a brilliantly engaging story with a strong moral commentary on society and vivid characters that spring to life.

Q: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

A. Yes, I am working on the sequel to MiDei Pa’am , the second in a planned series of three books. It is called Mi Pi’el which is Hebrew for Hope. It follows the story of how Manny, one of the main characters in MiDei Pa ‘am, tries to find out what happened to his family during and after the holocaust.

I am also working on a children’s adventure story about evacuees in World War 2.

Manny Blumenthal, a Berlin Jew, survives “Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass” and then a concentration camp to escape the Holocaust. He finds refuge in Manchester’s Cottonopolis, where he rebuilds his family’s former successful fashion empire, torn apart by Nazism.

Courageously, he pulls together the threads of his life, sustained by his illicit liaison with Maeve, a beautiful young gentile so reminiscent of Sara, his pre-war sweetheart.

Maeve escapes poverty and the façade of her loveless marriage. Recovering from a stifled affair with her Jewish lover, Jake, she relentlessly pursues her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

Despite Manny’s resolve, his life unravels as the horror of Kristallnacht returns to torment him. His attempt to face his demons in post-war Vienna fails, when avenging the death of his family at the behest of the Nokmim – a Zionist revolutionary group – his life is once again left in shreds.

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