Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bits n' Pieces - Anna Levine

Anna Levine is the author of the newly released novel, Freefall. It follows a young girl getting ready to enlist in the Israeli army. Except she doesn't want a cushy job, she wants to be in an elite combat unit. I'm hoping to review Freefall very soon as it looks like a really cool book! You can check out Anna's website here. She's a very sweet author and her answers are some of my favorites. :) Enjoy!

This or that: 
Rain or shine? 
Rain. I love having a reason to stay inside under the covers reading and good rain storms are so rare here.
iPod or mp3 player? 
Records! Have not been able to part from them.
Movies or TV? 
Movies…love the space in movie theaters, the huge screen that brings you inside the action…sharing the laughs and the tears with the total strangers in the theater with me.
City or country? 
Love the pace of the city but only because I live in the country and can run away from it.
Mountains or beaches? 
Beach. Sun. Sound of the waves. Sand between my toes…! Sleeping on the beach is one of my favorite things.
Dots or stripes? 
Neither. I can’t think straight when I’m confronted with someone wearing either.
Dogs or cats? 
Have lived with both but since I don’t speak either language often had communication problems.
Cooking or eating out? 
Having someone cook for me!
Coffee or tea? 
Coffee….lots of it.
Books or magazines? 
Curling up with a good book, definitely, but prefer lunching with a magazine if no friends are around.

You mean the “I’m going to be stuck on the plane for 12 hours test”? Takes me about as long to choose which books fly with me when I travel trans-Atlantic. Last time I took an anthology of Billy Collins poems. I love his poetry and the poets he chooses to include in his anthologies. I’ve also flown with T.S Eliot and Emily Dickenson. Neither of them snore or step on your feet on the way to the bathroom. So as far as traveling companions go, they’re highly recommended.
Book store- 
Wish we had a good one here! Imagine a book store with one shelf of English books and the rest in a foreign language. Talk about living in the desert! Our one big English book chain has all the best sellers – from the early 1900s (with apologies to Alcott but how many times can you reread Little Women?). Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. But when I get to the States and walk into Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Chapters or Indigo (in Canada)…I start to hyperventilate.
Jane Austen’s Book Club (based on a book by Karen Fowler) it was even better than the book – which almost never happens.
Music artist- 
I think I got stuck in the 70s and haven’t been able to unstuck myself…I still love all those soppy songs…and then there are the Israeli artists …but also from the 70s and 80s.
Am stumped…
I live in Jerusalem. The answer to that would be “clothes.” We’re much more easy going about that stuff and go by the motto: if it fits, wear it, and if it doesn’t fit put a sweater over it.
Coffee chain- 
There is no Starbucks in Jerusalem!!! So I’d have to say “Yossi’s”. He serves a great “cafĂ© hafuch” which translates to “upside down coffee.” Of course, there’s nothing better than mud coffee to get the adrenaline pumping for marathon writing sessions. That’s the dark sweet middle-eastern coffee with the grains that form a thick carpet of, well mud, at the bottom of the cup.
Guilty pleasure- 
watching reruns in the afternoon of shows that were shown in the US years ago and only made it to Israel recently.
Any place that serves hummus, pita, olives, chips, lamb skewers…
blue-green though my wardrobe is a variety of black and white and jeans.

Have you ever:
Lived abroad? 
Came to Israel (from Canada) for a year when I was 18 … and am still here! Have lived in Italy and I guess for me California is now “abroad.”
Gotten a tattoo? 
No, but I’ve always wanted a butterfly.
Stayed up for the midnight release of a movie or book? 
No such thing here though the bars and cafes are open round the clock…so there’s a lot of hanging around in the streets and pubs.
Disliked your job? 
No. I love my job. I write books!
Cried during a movie? 
All the time. I’m pathetic.
Sang karaoke? 
Okay, I’ll admit it, yes – and sometimes loudly.

If you were on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you?
A poetry anthology, something to write on and with, insect repellent, chocolate and coffee.
What’s on the list of things you have to do during your life? 
Backpack through India, write a mystery series, live by myself on a remote fishing village on the coast of Newfoundland.
If you could have one super power what would it be? 
Super sonic hearing!
What’s your perfect music playlist? 
You mean the most scratched records in my collection: Bob Dylan, Don Mclean, Jim Croce, Fleetwood Mac, Carol King-James Taylor (that’s one word) Joan Baez, Bach, some Beethoven, Vivaldi.
What’s the one food you could eat day after day and not get sick of? 
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
Besides here? Italy. I lived in Italy for a year and go back as often as I can.
What moment in history do you wish you could’ve experienced?
In A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, he describes Paris in the 1920s and hanging out in cafes with people like F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce…I would have loved to be seated at the table next to them listening to them talk about art, writing…. life.
What does your dream library look like?
Barnes and Nobles on 5th Avenue in Manhattan -- with the candy section at the check out counter. Why don’t they have rooms to rent there?
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
New releases. Since we don’t have much of a selection here, I like to browse through the latest releases to see what’s being published. I love mysteries and then always end up in the poetry section. Of course I spend hours in the YA section. And since you can drink coffee and read in American bookstores (pretty much unheard over here) you can find me in the book store cafe with a stack of writer’s magazines in front of me until 11:00 at night when they throw me out.
If everyone had to read one book, what would you have it be?
A poetry anthology including everyone from A.A. Milne to Shel Silverstein from John Milton to John Donne and Emily Dickenson, of course Elizabeth Bishop and Richard Brautigan (It’s Raining in Love), Billy Collins…I’ll stop here but I could go on and on Jan Heller Levi (No Bad, Dad, Not Bad) and anything by Leonard Cohen (For Anne) oh and of course Dylan Thomas and…Gwendolyn Brooks…
Thank you so much Anna! And I am totally with you on the licorice thing...
Want to win a copy of Freefall? Leave a comment to be entered! 
Authors; want to be featured in a Bits 'n Pieces interview? Email me at and we'll make it happen!


  1. I already have a copy, so if you draw my name, just throw it back in:) I loved your book, Anna! Abigail was such a nice character, but, personally, I liked Noah better.

    It is great to see you around the book blogs!

  2. This book is on my wishlist, so definitely enter me for this one!

  3. I've never heard of Anna Levine, but in reading this entire author interview, I'd love to read Freefall.

    In response to her answer about her Dream Library, my barnes and nobles near me has rooms to rent ABOVE the bookstore. :) I don't think they're occupied at the moment. No candy, though. D: But there's a movie theater, pizza place, and many more shops around the store.

    hylianvampire @ hotmail . com

  4. Wow, sounds like a great book. I hadn't heard of Freefall before your "Bits n' Pieces". Love the interview! Please enter me in the giveaway!

  5. Liv, I LOVE these interviews and always look forward to them. I also haven't heard of Anna Levine, but the book sounds awesome!

  6. Wow. She is so detailed! I love it.


  7. Sounds like a different kind of book, enter me please! :D

  8. I'd love to be entered for this one! Youtr interviews are always great fun to read.

  9. Yo. I'm one of Anna's students (yes, she is also a great teacher, not just an author). She is teaching 8th grade and I think also 7th, but I'm not sure.

    Signing out,
    Neta T.

  10. "Having someone cook for me!" Loved that line...




Pour your heart out. :)