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TWE Interview: Journalist Zahra Hankir Spotlights Arab Women Reporters In Their Own Words

London-based journalist, Zahra Hankir has covered Mid East and Arab political turmoil and violence throughout her career but admittedly not to the detriment of her safety. She was well aware that many women journalists, who live in and report from those diverse regions, face unbelievable odds to get the truth out yet was shocked to notice they received little credit.

Zahrir Hankir/Photo: Daniel Gardine

Zahrir Hankir/Photo: Daniel Gardiner

London-based journalist, Zahra Hankir has covered Mid East and Arab political turmoil and violence throughout her career but admittedly not to the detriment of her safety. She was well aware that many women journalists, who live in and report from those diverse regions, face unbelievable odds to get the truth out yet was shocked to notice they received little credit. Zahra stepped up to change that.

I was fascinated by information gathering and dissemination and the idea that the pursuit of truth and its reflection could be a profession. My obsession with journalism and the Arab world persisted over the years, and it culminated in this book.

In Our Women on the Ground, Zahra asked 19 courageous reporters to share the powerful, unvarnished perspectives on their jobs and lives. Zahra took time with me to describe the importance of these journalists, known as sahafiya…

EYE: What is your goal in highlighting Arab and Mideastern women journalists?

ZAHRA: To give Arab women reporters a global platform to share their experiences of reporting from and living in the region from which they hail.

The Arab world and its people are so often seen as homogeneous, when the geographic area is intricately layered, and each woman and country and conflict carries unique truths.

This is also a long overdue act of celebration and appreciation for the incredible work that these women have been doing on the ground over the decades, amidst seismic societal shifts and widespread displacement triggered by violent warfare and its crippling aftermath.

EYE: How dangerous is the work?

ZAHRA: Local, Arab women often risk their lives at the frontlines as they cover their home or neighboring countries, and haven’t historically been celebrated in this way and in these spaces. These women are not war correspondents or foreign reporters.

These journalists, correspondents and photographers are natives who tell different, more personal stories about conflict and its devastating consequences on their own people.

The women also face steep and unique challenges that their Western counterparts do not. With all that in mind, their stories can’t but be fascinating, and their work can’t but be celebrated.

EYE: Why did you decide to compile their stories through personal essays and not interviews?

ZAHRA: I wanted the women in this book to tell their stories sans filters, and without any specific audience in mind, Western or otherwise. I acted as a guide, when I was needed, and I did indeed edit and curate the book and make editorial suggestions along the way.

I ultimately hoped that they would tell whatever story felt most poignant to them, and wanted them to be ready to tell that story. Looking at how the essays turned out — their range; the raw, intimate details they contain; and the honesty with which they were written — I do believe this was the right approach.

EYE: Were you surprised by any of the essays?

ZAHRA: It’s not that I didn’t expect the women to write openly and honestly, but I was, on occasion, knocked sideways by the extent to which they used their pens to open up and to excavate previously unearthed feelings.

I was in constant awe of their bravery, and their willingness to push boundaries without even intending to do so.

Zaina Erhaim, a Syrian journalist, for example, writes about how she had become so desensitized to violence in her hometown, that one day, as she wiped blood off her car following a bombing at a nearby school, she called her friend and casually asked her what they should have for lunch that day.

Nada Bakri, a former journalist from Lebanon, wrote for the first time about the grief she endured after she lost her husband, Anthony Shadid, during the Arab Spring — there is no resolution in that chapter, no happy ending, no hopeful thread. The end of the essay is something of a gutpunch.

EYE: Why did you choose this format?

ZAHRA: It doesn’t follow what a traditional essay might look like. Indeed, this book does not sugarcoat. In many ways it reflects the situation in the Arab world today — resilience against a very real backdrop of tragedy and hopelessness.

I was also surprised by the extent to which I was emotionally invested in the book and the women’s stories.

I constantly felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough, that I was living in privilege, editing these essays from the comfort of my home in North London while these women and millions of others in the region struggle with harrowing daily realities.

EYE: What did you find drives these women to continually face the sexism, violence, etc.?

ZAHRA:  I would note it’s the desire to share and disseminate the truth that drives several of the women in the book. They have a profound understanding of how and why women are treated in the way that they are in their respective societies, and they fight misogyny by breaking into spaces they may not be welcome or expected in.

EYE: Is there a pattern among these women journalists in what they want to achieve and how they do it?

ZAHRA: I will say that the women were all unflinchingly committed to the act of journalism and the art of news gathering. Their tenacity, resourcefulness and resilience jump off the pages.

Perhaps this tenacity is best captured and expressed by Sudanese journalist and columnist Shamael el Noor, who never once doubts or reconsiders her career path, despite enduring grave challenges and constant threats to her safety.

She speaks poetically of journalism, not only as a profession, but as a way of life:

“I didn’t fully understand the value of my choices until after I faced all this danger and harassment—from the state, from tribesmen, and from Islamists. I have been a journalist for a decade now, and let me tell you what I have learned: this is what journalism should be, or else it shouldn’t be, at all.

Though these experiences have had high prices, they haven’t weakened or deterred me. I have no other option but to move forward, like the many brave journalists who face persecution. This is our destiny, and we remain ever devoted to it.’

EYE: Are there people/places these women can access that their male counterparts cannot?

Amira Al-Sharif | Zahra Hankir | The Women's Eye

Amira Al-Sharif

ZAHRA: Women-dominated spaces and women-focused stories. For example, Amira Al-Sharif, a Yemeni photojournalist, enters the private homes of Yemeni women whose husbands and sons were lost to or engaged in war, to tell us stories of their strength and resilience.

Heba Shibani, a Libyan broadcast journalist, turns her attention to women’s rights by hosting a show that tackled major issues including the inability of Libyan women to pass their nationality on to their children.

EYE: CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour said these women journalists “live and work in unrest and oppression.” How do they become journalists to begin with?

ZAHRA: These women were resourceful in overcoming many different challenges.These included having to contend with families that opposed their career choices, sexist and misogynist workplaces, and threats of detention and arrest by the state.

In some cases they persisted with their ambitions behind their parents’ backs. Amira Al-Sharif, snuck into local souks to take photos of Yemenis and documented university protests behind her father’s back.

She eventually won her family’s trust by persuading them, through her work, that this was a noble and necessary profession, and indeed the only one she wanted to pursue.

Egyptian journalist Eman Helal hid her bloodied clothing from her family after covering the fallout from the uprisings in Egypt. And she fought against the patriarchy by using her camera as a tool against sexual harassers. These are just two of a sea of examples.

Ramsis metro station where incidents of sexual harassment have been reported. Women usually prefer to use the ladies metro cars for fear of being harassed in the crowded cars. Photo: Eman Helal | Zahra Hankir | The Women's Eye

Ramsis metro station where incidents of sexual harassment have been reported. Women usually prefer to use the ladies metro cars for fear of being harassed in the crowded cars. Photo: Eman Helal

EYE: What was your biggest challenge in editing this anthology?

ZAHRA: Ensuring an accurate portrayal of the region by diversifying the contributors to the best of my ability. Given space constraints, and the fact that we were dealing with a region of more than 400 million containing 22 countries, this was a somewhat impossible task to begin with.

I also wanted to include a range of time periods covered to give readers a broader perspective on political and social history, rather than just the Arab Spring.

While I’m pleased with how the book has turned out, I understand there are stories and conflicts and countries that were excluded. This is something I definitely lost sleep over, even though in some ways it was out of my control.

EYE: Did you always want a journalism career from a young age?

ZAHRA: Yes! I grew up in the United Kingdom, where I was born, to Lebanese parents who had left the country during a drawn out and devastating civil war. My parents constantly watched the news to follow up on what was unraveling in their — our — home country.

Landlines were frequently down, so they weren’t able to regularly speak to their families to stay abreast of the dire situation. And so I grew up thinking of journalists as heroes, portals into another world who had the power to disseminate otherwise inaccessible information and who could shed light on faraway lands and complicated conflicts.

Zahra, her father and siblings /Photo provided by Zahra Hankir

Zahra, her father and siblings /Photo provided by Zahra Hankir

I was fascinated by information gathering and dissemination and the idea that the pursuit of truth and its reflection could be a profession. My obsession with journalism and the Arab world persisted over the years, and I would say it culminated in this book.

EYE: What do you look for in a story before you commit to it?

ZAHRA: Tension, growth and/or change.

Zahra Hankir

Zahra

EYE: Do you have advice for new journalists?

ZAHRA: If you have a passion or a specific interest, then by all means, chase it, so long as you’re committed to upholding the highest journalistic standards. As a student at Columbia University, I was mentored by the late and great David Klatell.

I was hesitant when I pitched to him the subject for my thesis — private Islamic schooling in NYC — as I worried that I may appear biased or partial to covering my own community.

He encouraged me to write and report the story, and to not shy away from covering my community, people, home country or region, so long as I remained committed to reporting and writing ethically. It was priceless advice that has formed the backbone of my career.

EYE: What do you want the reader to take away from these essays?

ZAHRA: I hope readers will come away from Our Women on the Ground with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the Middle East, and also that they will look more closely at who’s telling the stories of its countries and people, as well as seek out more diverse and specifically women’s voices.

Ultimately I hope readers will recognize the work that these women are doing as crucial to our full understanding of the Arab world, and celebrate them.

EYE: Finally, what is next for you?

ZAHRA: While more and more Arab women are being heard in this space, and more news rooms are employing and supporting locals, I believe there’s much more to be done.

I’m passionate about amplifying the voices of Arab women and Arabs in general, and in advocating for more diverse newsrooms and more inclusive narratives, and so I hope to embark on another project in this area. I’m just not yet sure what format it will take.

EYE: Thank you, Zahra, for your time and for your introductions to these journalists who are bringing real events of the Arab and Mideastern countries to the world. Continued success to you!

Social Media:

Instagram @zahrahankir

Twitter: @zahrahankir

Facebook: @zahrahankir

Twitter: @penguinrandomhouse

TWE RADIO: New Talk Show Host Mel Robbins On Curing Anxiety and Conquering TV

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins

Stacey Gualandi

Stacey Gualandi

By Stacey Gualandi/Sept. 12, 2019

Whatever you do, DON’T miss a BRAND NEW episode of The Women’s Eye podcast! Stacey Gualandi interviews Mel Robbins, the author, motivational speaker and – starting September 16th – host of her first daytime TV talk show, The Mel Robbins Show!

Mel Robbins’ international bestseller The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage is a certified self-publishing sensation.

Her Tedx talk How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over below has surpassed 20 million views.

And her personal appearances have not only motivated millions but also made her one of the most sought-after speakers in the country.

Mel Robbins and Stacey, MORE Convention. 2011

Mel Robbins and Stacey, MORE Convention. 2011

Side-note: I first met Mel Robbins in 2011 while covering the More Reinvention Convention for TWE. Since then, I’ve always wanted to interview her.

Three months ago, I picked up her 5 Second Rule after dealing with some health issues, and then out-of-the-blue, I got to interview her!

But Robbins says it’s not a crazy coincidence: “It’s meant to be. People show up in your life when you’re ready to hear it.”

Robbin’s knows-of-what-she-speaks.

The married mother of three and former criminal lawyer-turned-entrepreneur admits her life is a mess-to-success story. “I’m not an expert. I’m a life-tested survivor,” she says. “I’m good at getting out of jams.”

Robbins says she hit rock bottom almost 11 years ago. She was unemployed, facing bankruptcy and suffered from debilitating anxiety. “I wasn’t good at liking myself.” But one day she decided on a new approach to getting up in the morning.

“I counted out loud 5-4-3-2-1 and then sat up,” says Robbins. “That was the moment that changed my life. It is the power of a decision; you are literally one decision from a totally different life.”

Now life is taking her in a totally new direction: daytime television. Robbins conquered the airwaves with a popular radio show and worked as a CNN contributor, but admits TV is a whole new animal.

While she jokes she doesn’t know how to do a talk show, Robbins says success will come by “being myself and making an impact.”

Tune in to our chat to learn how Robbins cures anxiety; what is a “mindset/reset”; why she dedicates herself to helping others (“I know what it feels like to feel alone, isolated and start to lose hope. I don’t want anyone to feel that way”); and what she expects from her new talk show.

“I hope it is a daily destination for empowering, actionable advice and perspective change that you can put into your own life that helps you take control,” says Robbins.

“I want you to identify patterns that no longer work for you and replace them. That’s when life changes.”

The Mel Robbins Show debuts Monday, September 16th! For more information, go to www.melrobbins.com and check your local listings.

Social Media

@melrobbins – Facebook

@melrobbins – Twitter

@melrobbins – Instagram

www.melrobbins.com/tv/

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TWE INTERVIEW: Sociologist Marika Lindholm On Empowering Solo Moms

Marika Lindholm founder of ESME, Empowering Single Moms Everywhere

Marika Lindholm and her two younger children on their farm in the Hudson Valley, New York

By Patricia Caso/June, 2018
Photos: Circe

There is nothing average about Dr. Marika Lindholm, a sociologist, professor and writer.  Because she lived the life-changing experience of being a single mom, Marika is using that experience and academics to become an outspoken advocate for solo moms. In 2015, Marika started a social movement, Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere, with ESME.com.

“I’d made a vow that if I ever had the opportunity, I would help other moms as they navigated parenting alone.” Marika Lindholm 

Currently there are 15 million children (younger than 18) being raised by a solo mom. Any mom knows that there is nothing easy about and little more rewarding than raising kids.

Now Marika has co-edited an inspirational anthology We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart and Humor. I wanted to get to know more about Dr. Lindholm’s motivations and insights on this often overlooked and critically important group, solo moms… [Read more…]

TWE RADIO: Author Kimberly Friedmutter On Tapping Into Your Subconscious Power

Kimberly Friedmutter, author Subconscious Power, with TWE Host Stacey Gualandi/PHoto: Courtesy Kimberly Friedmutter

Kimberly Friedmutter and TWE Host Stacey Gualandi

By Stacey Gualandi/April 18, 2019

A BRAND NEW interview on The Women’s Eye Radio as Stacey Gualandi interviews Kimberly Friedmutter, the author of the just released Subconscious Power: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You’ve Always Wanted.

Kimberly Friedmutter book/Photo provided by Kimberly Friedmutter

Friedmutter has helped everyone from powerful CEOs to celebrities by simply tapping into their subconscious.

“That’s where all of your primal gusto comes from, your gut, your intuition, your instincts,” she says. Essentially, it’s like “zoning out to really zone in.”

But now she is paving the way for all of us to achieve positive, lasting change, through her new book.

You can apply a form of self-hypnosis to access the  inner mind, she says, and by doing that you can achieve your highest goals.

I first met Friedmutter in Las Vegas last year as she was working on Subconscious Power. She says her “6 Principles” to unlocking your mind and “hypnotic hacks” – or self -hypnosis exercises – helped her personally overcome obstacles and find clarity.

I thought (subconsciously) it would be great to share her guidance so we might all have the opportunity to start living our best life.

Friedmutter began a modeling career at 14. She later became an actress and TV personality; and after a long-running radio talk show in Los Angeles, she earned the nickname “Mystic in Cowboy Boots.”

Kimberly Friedmutter, author, Brad her husband, and Stacey Gualandi, TWE host/Photo: Courtesy Kimberly Friedmutter

Kimberly, her husband Brad, and Stacey at the Power of Love event in Las Vegas/2018

Now, as a board-certified master hypnotist, therapist and life management expert, her life’s work is devoted to bringing people back into balance. “Everything you need to create the life of your dreams is within you,” says the first-time author.

“My book will teach you how to make choices that are positive and affirming. With a little help, you can unlock the magic you already possess.”

In the words of Friedmutter: “Expect the exceptional.”

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Social Media:

TWITTER/INSTA: @kimfriedmutter

WEBSITE: www.kimberlyfriedmutter.com

FACEBOOK: @kimberlyfriedmutterauthor

 

TWE RADIO: Carole Brody Fleet On Loss, Widowhood and Taking Your Life Back

Stacey Gualandi chats with Carole Brody Fleet, widely credited as America’s go-to expert on grief recovery. She joins me in studio to talk about her latest book, Loss is a Four-Letter Word, a Bereavement Boot Camp For the Widowed, available now.

TWE RADIO: Carole Brody Fleet On Loss, Widowhood and Taking Your Life Back

Carole Brody Fleet, author, and Stacey Gualandi/Photo Courtesy of Stacey Gualandi | The Women's Eye Magazine and Radio Show

Carole Brody Fleet and TWE Host Stacey Gualandi

By Stacey Gualandi/February 6, 2019

Be sure to tune in to my BRAND NEW interview on The Women’s Eye Radio with Carole Brody Fleet, widely credited as America’s go-to expert on grief recovery. Carole joins me in the studio to talk about her latest book, Loss is a Four-Letter Word, a Bereavement Boot Camp For the Widowed, available now.

Carole Brody Fleet's book "Loss is a Four Letter Word"/Photo: Courtesy Carole Brody Fleet | The Women's Eye Magazine and Radio ShowWhen Carole Brody Fleet lost her husband Mike to ALS, she was a young mother of a 9-year-old girl. Resources on how to navigate this unimaginable and frightening “widowhood journey” were hard to come by so she began writing.

She understood what it meant to feel alone and marginalized, and “wanted to be someone that people felt they could turn to.”

This award-winning author is not only a wonderful writer and tireless advocate for widows, she is also a long-time friend of mine and TWE. I first interviewed her nearly a decade ago after my dad passed away.

Her first book Widows Wear Stilettos was well-received within the widow community and beyond, and was a tremendous help to both me and my mom. Since then, she has been a frequent and welcome guest on the show, and she is my “hero!” (How’s that for a four-letter word?!)

Loss is a Four-Letter Word is the fourth in a series dealing with grief (including Happily EVEN After and When Bad Things Happen to Good Women).

In this book, readers have to ask themselves, “What what am I doing to facilitate my own healing?”

Fleet then guides them through actionable, reasonable baby steps which can help them start moving in a forward-focus (not “get over”), positive direction…to a place of peace. Says the motivational speaker: “I’m needed to be compassionate, but beyond that, what are we going to do to fix this? That’s my job.”

Through her boot-camp style lessons and end-of-chapter affirmations she calls EKITA (an acronym for “Extra Kick In The Ass”!), Fleet says she hopes those suffering through a challenging life-journey will gain a sense of empowerment.

Widows Wear Stilettos Book Cover | The Women's Eye Magazine and Radio ShowWhether you are dealing with the loss of a spouse, beloved pet, or even the end of a job, Fleet says it is an honor to be there for people at their most challenging moment and to offer hope and promise.

“There are … things that I never knew that widowhood had taught me, and I am grateful for that experience.”

If you are struggling with loss, and want to learn more about Carole Brody Fleet, please go to www.widowswearstilettos.com.

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Facebook: @carolebfleet
Instagram: @carolebrodyfleet

 

 

Writer Chaithanya Sohan Puts a Face on the Immigrant’s Journey

Chaithanya Sohan, co-author of America Deconstructed/Photo Courtesy Chaithanya Sohan

Chaithanya Sohan, coauthor America Deconstructed/Photo: American Photobank

By Patricia Caso/January, 2019

For this installment of TWE’s First Time Authors, we found America Deconstructed, a compelling anthology of sixteen immigrants who have come to America and their experiences adapting as new citizens. From a boy who escaped the Taliban to a love story of an African couple negotiating the American culture, these narratives illustrate immigrants’ struggles and resilience.

“We hope our book can create tolerance among people. As people I think we need to celebrate differences, and accept individuals for who they are.”  Chaithanya Sohan

Chaithanya Sohan and her coauthor Shaima Adin know the heartbreak and sometimes humorous situations immigrants find themselves in because they are immigrants themselves. Chai gave us some insight into why they wrote on this timely subject and the drawn-out journey they went through to publish it…   [Read more…]

TWE RADIO: Adventurer Susan Purvis On Finding the Lost with Trusty Teammate Tasha

The Women’s Eye Radio host Stacey Gualandi talks with Susan Purvis, the author of Go Find: My Journey To Find the Lost – and Myself, about the bond we ALL share with (wo)man’s best friend. As the founder of Crested Butte Outdoors International, Susan Purvis is an expert wilderness medic and all-around adventure queen who became one of the top high-altitude search-and-rescue teams in Colorado – together with her trusty teammate Tasha, a beautiful black Labrador.

TWE RADIO: Adventurer Susan Purvis On Finding the Lost with Trusty Teammate Tasha

Susan Purvis, author GO FIND, with Tasha/Photo Courtesy Susan Purvis

Susan Purvis with beloved dog Tasha

By Stacey Gualandi/December 2018
Photos: Susan Purvis Collection

Don’t miss our BRAND NEW interview on The Women’s Eye Radio as Stacey Gualandi talks with Susan Purvis, the author of Go Find: My Journey To Find the Lost – and Myself, about the bond we ALL share with (wo)man’s best friend.

As the founder of Crested Butte Outdoors International, Susan Purvis is an expert wilderness medic and all-around adventure queen who became one of the top high-altitude search-and-rescue teams in Colorado – together with her trusty teammate Tasha, a beautiful black Labrador.

Go Find: My Journey to FInd the Lost--and Myself by Susan Purvis/Photo Courtesy Susan Purvis

Cover: Chris Ladoulis

I knew I’d love this book, and I could almost guarantee I would shed a few tears. I am a big dog lover (my license plate is “Muttmom” for goodness sake!) and my boss Pam Burke also is a dog devotee.

So it was quite touching to chat with Purvis from her home in Whitefish, Mont., the “creative haven” where she wrote about their personal journey to “go find” the lost.

An avalanche that took the life of a 6 year old inspired Purvis to adopt a 5-week-old puppy in 1995 and train her in avalanche, wilderness and water recovery. Purvis says it would become a relationship like none other.

“I know I’ll never bond with another being like I have with Tasha,” she writes in her first memoir.

Purvis shares dramatic stories of dozens of missions they led. Miraculously, some lives were saved, and sadly, many were lost forever.

As the founder of Crested Butte Outdoors International, Susan Purvis is an expert wilderness medic and all-around adventure queen who became one of the top high-altitude search-and-rescue teams in Colorado – together with her trusty teammate Tasha, a beautiful black Labrador.

While they were determined to help those who needed saving, Purvis says she made a discovery of her own along the way: she had lost herself. It was Tasha, she writes, who was “saving me from being buried in my own avalanche.”

Susan Purvis, author Go Find, at Javits Center NYC/Photo Courtesy Susan Purvis

Susan with friend at NY Book Expo America.  Javits Center, NYC

With unflinching honesty about fulfilling promises, accepting divorce, competing in a male-dominated profession (“I had to prove myself three times more than men”), and saying goodbye, Go Find shows how making a canine connection can help one “find passion, purpose and philanthropy.”

Purvis says this journey is one of her greatest achievements.

Looking for adventure, or want an inspiring book to gift travelers this holiday season? National Geographic has just selected Go Find as one of the best travel books to read now. Congratulations, Susan!

TWITTER: @susan_purvis

FB/INSTAGRAM: @susanpurvisauthor

WEBSITE: Susanpurvis.com

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TWE RADIO: Writer Beth Howard On Life, Language and a “Hausfrau Honeymoon”

The Women’s Eye Radio host Stacey Gualandi talks to Author Beth Howard, about life, language, her book “Hausfrau Honeymoon”.

TWE RADIO: Writer Beth Howard On Life, Language and a “Hausfrau Honeymoon”

Stacey Gualandi, TWE Radio host with guest Beth Howard, Author of Hausfrau Honeymoon - Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany

Stacey Gualandi, TWE Radio Host

Beth Howard, Author of Hausfrau Honeymoon - Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany/Photo: Beth's selfie

Beth Howard, Author of Hausfrau Honeymoon

By Stacey Gualandi/October, 2018

Don’t miss our NEWEST episode of The Women’s Eye Radio with Stacey Gualandi and Beth Howard, the author of her third book, Hausfrau Honeymoon – Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany.

AKA the “Pie Lady, Howard is no stranger to The Women’s Eye. She joined us on the air once before to talk about her last book, Ms. American Pie, which is full of recipes, stories and creative ideas on all-things-pie.

Beth Howard book/Photo: P. BurkeThe prolific writer, who once lived in the historic American Gothic house in Eldon, Iowa, now resides on an Iowa farm, and that’s just where I caught up with her to talk about her latest memoir.

The self-described adventurous free-spirit (“I’m not good at following rules.”) has worn many hats: Kenyan coffee company entrepreneur, pie stand owner, dotcom web producer, PR specialist, blogger and even a former “baker to the stars.”

And for four years in the 2000s, she was an out-of-her-element newlywed, living with her husband Marcus in Stuttgart, Germany.

In her signature “lively”style, Hausfrau Honeymoon could be considered an anti-love letter to Germany as Howard tackles the language barrier, chauvinism, and (lack of) car cupholders in her newly adopted home.

“Nothing against Germany, but it doesn’t fit my personality. It may be my rebellious nature,” says Howard.

Beth Howard i nfront of her Gothic House rental, Iowa/Photo Courtesy Beth Howard

Beth and her pups at the American Gothic House

Beth Howard, author of a “Hausfrau Honeymoon” discusses her book, love, life and language.

She shares the good, the bad and the ugly about Germany but admits living there “totally expanded my life experience. You don’t know how much time you have left so I always write with a sense of urgency, especially after a sudden loss.”

Howard wrote the book 12 years ago while struggling to adjust to her foreign surroundings and new marriage. Now, it is a prequel of sorts to her first book, Making Piece, about the sudden death of her husband, and how baking pies helped her cope with the horrible grief.

Howard says Hausfrau Honeymoon is about girl power and learning to take charge of your life, no matter the circumstances. Despite her first uneasy go-around in Germany, she says she’d definitely do it again. After all, it gave her a bookful of material and, as she says, “My life is so much richer for it.”

You can see evidence of Beth’s piemaking skills below. For more info, check out Beth’s website.

Beth Howard pies from a piemaking session

Delicious strawberry pies right out of Beth’s oven/2014

FACEBOOK: Find Beth on Facebook

TWITTER: @worldneedspie

WEBSITE: Beth’s Website
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