Interview: Liliana Badd

Liliana Badd is one busy lady. She’s come across some very interesting people in her life, did some amazing things, and has big goals for the future. Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

My name is Liliana Badd. I was born in Romania in 1953. I graduated from the University of Germanic Languages, in Bucharest, with a MA in 1976. I am, what I call myself, a SWS (a Solitary Woman Survivor.”) After having lived for 26 years under the dementia of a communism regime, I fled to France where I lived for 20 years, surviving the Cold War. At times, I had the weird feeling that the historical events were cruelly intermingling with my personal life. In 2000, after a cruel confrontation with Death, I started a new life in Las Vegas, Nevada. I arrived in LV with $25 in my pocket – on a vacation. And the desert “entrapped” me. Alone with myself, I was changing not a city or a country, but a continent. Determinism and free will… My life has been a succession of “earthquakes.” And I have rebuilt it from scratch, each time. I am living now, what can be called my 5th life. At 57, I have started a new life; I’m again a student – I have enrolled in a medical school to become a certified medical assistant – a new career… Writer and a student in the medical field… I feel blessed.

In 1985, in Paris, I had the extreme honor to meet Emil Cioran, a famous born-Romanian author and philosopher having lived the life of an exiled in France, where he died in 1994, having never been allowed to visit his birthplace. He said about me: “You are a rambling soul, a restless mind.”

Paradoxically, I have never been able to write anything in my native languages. It is in the stillness of the Las Vegas desert that my life experience and emotions, cumulated in my soul, have exploded, intertwining and weaving in thousands of words, having become my novels. I have become a writer in Las Vegas.

Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Exit, my latest novel is a landmark in my life. It took me three years to achieve it. For three years, I lived as secluded as in a convent. Thinking and living with the characters, in a parallel world…My mind was asking them questions, they seemed to talk in their own voices, and my mind was listening to their stories, imagining we were on a huge theatrical set. They were the narrators, I was the director, and the audience was the world.

Exitis the story of a woman’s metamorphosis; finding her true self through her incurable illness; after having been the perfect mother and wife, Ondine breaks the chains of her absolute solitude and becomes the real woman; the woman she was meant to be. Ondine, has dreamt of becoming a writer and has never had a chance to fulfill her dream… “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” (H. D. Thoreau). It is the illness that will spectacularly open for her the door to her dream…being Ondine; the painful process of becoming a writer… becoming aware of the cruel realities of life. Awakening.

Ondine, comes from the Latin “onda” – a wave. Her life flows smoothly as a wave does, and then brutally it becomes a drop in a tormented ocean. Everything turns upside down in Ondine’s life when she is diagnosed with leukemia.

Exit is also a powerful social novel – about passion, compassion, and mostly social generosity and sharing… so rare nowadays… in a society obsessed with the idea of an instant success… fearing to admit that failure is an intrinsic part of our tribulations in the space called Life. Women and men, alike, will relate to Ondine’s story.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

My third novel, The Hourglass is in germination. The “germination” stage is as painful as writing itself…It will be a very daring love story… the impossible passion between two women. Parts of my first novel “Living Shadows” will be completely remodeled, re-written and used in The Hourglass.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

The list is so long… However, I will mention ” Belle du Seigneur” by Albert Cohen.

Favorite authors?

There, the list is long… One of my favorite authors is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I completely relate to this author, to his life experience, illusions, disappointments, his life having been a perpetual exile… exile from the world, exile from himself.

Book you’re currently reading?

John Irving – A Widow for One Year.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I always write very early in the morning – with a cup of coffee and in front of my computer – starting at 4 or 5 AM, before the awakening of the surrounding world, listening to the birds chirping. I am writing usually in the weekends while during the week I live with the characters in a parallel world… I try to identify myself with my characters… at that moments, I am no longer myself… The story of my novels encloses me with the characters and with them only. Writing for me, is a split-personality process. After I write some pages, I become myself again, and then I am re-reading and re-reading…. changing, adjusting… changing again… Playing with words is a painful process…

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Working out – to keep my body young – “a young body in a healthy mind,” as the Romans used to say. I work out 4 times a week for 2 hours. Then studying for the medical school – it’s very hard… it’s like learning a new language. And this new, technical, cold language comes sometimes in opposition with the language of my soul… that I use for my writing… And answering the emails I get from readers, daily. I read them all and answer them all, faithfully, honestly…, which is time consuming. And talking to my friends… those who have been with me, encouraged me, believed in me and read Exitas I was writing…

Here is what readers usually email me:

“I honestly believe EXIT will be a success, at least it deserves it; I’m half though reading it and have slowed down, to lengthen the pleasure… Thank you again!

“Hi Liliana…I really enjoyed your book. …Very insightful in regards to the reflections of mature women. The character was very relatable to me; not because I share her illness but because I feel that like her, I’m at a point in my life that I see everything with more clarity than I did in my youth. Very inspiring book…..makes me want to cut away the clutter……streamline my life.”

“I read you book and I loved it. It made me cry a lot yet it was a good cry, those that purify you from inside out. I hope you are lucky enough to have your book read by thousands, you deserve it.”

“Liliana,

You are truly an author. I have some questions for you. I aspire to write, feeling I have 2 books in my heart that are just waiting for the right motivation and confidence to come forth from my heart to the written word. How did you begin and where would I find a mentor to guide me through the process? Any assist would be appreciated.”

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

I certainly do. I had a two-month writer’s block with Exit. The story was there, in my mind, and not a word would come out. It almost threw me in a depression… It seemed to me that I would never be able to finish it. My writer’s block began after I finished a very difficult part dealing with Death. It seemed to me as if I was teasing Death and Death was by my shoulder, grinning at me, laughing at me. At those moments I felt Death as if it were a physical presence, watching me. I stopped writing for 2 months, and did all kind of crazy things that I would have never done otherwise… and then, one day, the urge of writing came back… naturally, without any effort.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

There is no measure… there is no limit. The only limit is that you impose yourself.

What is a writer? A writer is a foreign country. Why does one write? For whom does one write? You write, that’s all. And people read you. You write for the people who read you.

And I have also understood that as a writer, I am not allowed to hold back anything from my readers; should this be painful, embarrassing… I have to deliver to my readers the whole truth about my soul and mind. I am not ashamed to state that my life has been like a roller coaster: a succession of failures followed by success… and then back to failure…and back to success.

Advice for other writers?

Do not fear to say: I have failed. Failure is as normal as success; the power lying in the balance: we are our injuries as we are our successes.

Where can we learn more about you?

In my web site.

Anything else you’d like to add?

When Exit was finished – I understood the secret of The Secret. Exit is a symbol… we enter and cry, and that is life; we cry and leave and that is death. We are not born equal… yet, there comes a moment in our lives when each one of us will have to face the Exit. At that moment we become equal… and there will be one question for all of us, without exception: “What have you done with your life?” I do not want to have to answer, “What a fearful thing is to reach the end of life and think I have noting to account for except a thin veil of confused images signifying nothing but wasted opportunities.” (Exit, page 263).

Still doubting… I was born under the sign of doubt and inner contradictions. “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” (E.A. Poe)

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